Aquatic Weed Control Program


The purpose of the Aquatic Weed Control Program is to provide units of local government and citizens of North Carolina with resources that will promote the prevention and management of noxious aquatic weed infestations. The philosophy is that by offering assistance and developing partnerships aquatic weeds will be more efficiently managed across the state. 

The two primary objectives are:

  1. Respond to localized infestations to mitigate the long-term economic and environmental impacts that noxious aquatic weeds impose.
  2. Reduce the frequency of aquatic weed introductions through education and public awareness. 


The philosophy of the Program applies to aquatic weed infestations of all sizes. Large-scale projects can be complex and challenging. They may require partnerships that span jurisdiction lines at multiple levels. The Program often serves as a major contributor of funding and provides leadership on large-scale projects. Benefits are realized by offering assistance for small-scale projects as well. Allowing aquatic weeds to exist and spread throughout our waterways only exacerbates the problem. 

The NC Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan provides a detailed explanation of why aquatic weeds are problematic, pathways of introduction and associated laws.



This program is well equipped and able to provide management and eradication operations, infestation surveys, and site assessments. Staff are available to provide recommendations and offer a free consultation.

For Public Lands this program can provide:

  • Financial Assistance
  • Technical Assistance
  • Operational Support
  • Aquatic Plant Identification
  • Treatment Recommendations

Financial assistance and operational support are in the form of cost-share arrangements and are available to Counties, Municipalities, Soil & Water Districts, Drainage Districts, Public Utilities, and other government agencies.  

How to Apply for Financial Assistance 

  • A telephone call, letter or email may serve as the initial communication.  Be prepared to describe the problem in detail.
  • Program staff will need to conduct a site visit in most circumstances.
  • A resolution approved and signed by the local board or council will serve as the official application for assistance. Download Model Resolution
  • Requests received by October 15 of each year will be considered for inclusion in the work-plan for the following year.

For Private Lands this program can provide:

  • Technical Assistance
  • Aquatic Plant Identification
  • Recommend Treatments

Private landowners can also contact their county offices of the Agricultural Extension Service for further assistance.

Invasive Aquatic Weeds

Invasive Aquatic Weeds

Invasive aquatic vegetation has been known to cause detrimental effects on human and environmental health, such as clogging water intake systems to creating breeding grounds for mosquitos and other pests. Identification is the first step for any aquatic vegetation control/management plans.

Noxious Aquatic Weeds Recognized by NC DEQ

Common Name  Scientific Name  Found in NC
African Elodea Lagarosiphon major (Ridley) Moss  
African Elodea Lagarosiphon spp.  
Alligatorweed Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb Yes
Anchored Waterhycinth Eichhornia azurea (Sw.) Kunth  
Arrowhead Sagittaria sagittifolia L.  
Arrowleaved Monochoria Monochoria hastata (L.) Solms  
Branched Burreed Sparganium ereturm L.  
Brazillian Elodea Egeria densa Planch  
Brittleleaf Naiad Najas minor All.  
Common Reed Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. Ex. Steud Yes
Crab's Claw, Water Solider Stratiotes aloides L.  
Creeping Water Primrose Ludwigia hexapetala (Hooker & Arnott) Zardi. Yes
Eurasian Watermilfoil Myriophyllum spicatum L. Yes
Giant Salvinia  Salvinia auriculata Aubl.  
Giant Salvinia, Lobbed Salvinia Salvinia biloba Raddi  
Giant Salvinia  Salvinia herzogii de la Sota  
Giant Salvinia  Salvinia Molesta Mitch  
Hydrilla Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle Yes
Indian Hygrophila Hygrophila polysperma (roxb.) T. Anderson  
Limnophila Limnophilia sessiliflora (Vahl) Blume  
Melalucea Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) Blake  
Monochoria Monochoria vaginalis (Burm. F.) Kunth  
Parrotfeather Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc. Yes 
Pinnate Mosquitofern Azolla pinnata R. Brown  
Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria L.   
Swamp Morning Glory Ipomoea aquatica Forsk.  
Swamp Stonecrop Crassula helmsii (Kirk)  
Water Chestnut Trapa spp (All species)  
Water Fern Salvinia spp. (All except S. rotundifolia)  
Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms  
Water Lettuce  Pistia stratiotes L.  

All noxious aquatic weeds recognized by NC DEQ

Problems Associated with Aquatic Weeds

  • Divert water flows causing erosion and flooding.
  • Impede recreational activities like swimming, fishing, boating, and water sports.
  • Compete with native vegetation which can lead to ecological shifts.
  • Form dense growths that become navigation hazards.
  • Clog water intake systems of industries, municipalities and irrigators.
  • Create breeding habitat for mosquitoes and other pests.
  • Become more difficult and expensive to control if ignored -- rapid response to developing infestations can reduce the damage caused by noxious weeds and the cost of controlling them.

For more details read Economic & Environmental Impacts of NC Aquatic Weed Infestations

Methods Used to Control Aquatic Weeds

  • Physical:  Water level manipulation, deepening near-shore areas, use of dyes or bottom covers.
  • Mechanical:  Removal of weeds with hand tools or mechanical equipment.
  • Biological:  Use of herbivorous fish or insects and diseases that attack specific weeds.
  • Chemical:  Use of herbicides approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for aquatic use.

For more information visit Biology and Control of Aquatic Plants A Best Management Practices Handbook

For more information about how to stop Aquatic Hitchhikes, read our Brochure 


Ongoing Major Aquatic Weed Management Projects 

If you would like more information about our other projects visit: Aquatic Weed Projects





If you need help with controlling or managing aquatic plants, please contact:

Rob Emens

Andrew Gay

Aquatic Weed Program Manager

(919) 707-9012


Aquatic Weed Specialist

(919) 707-9020

Additional Resources

Additional Resources

The following links will provide more information about the program, aquatic vegetation identification, and aquatic weed management: 

Local Resources 

Aquatic Plant ID and Management Guides

Aquatic Plant Field Guide 

Aquatic Plant Management Societies