Jeffrey D. Schardt grew up in the natural gas fields area of southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He gained an appreciation for the outdoors from his father’s work in natural gas pipeline and distribution. Jeff graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Penn State University in 1976. He moved to Orlando, Florida where he became part of the Florida Department of Natural Resources’ team under contract with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to study grass carp feeding preferences and stocking rates in Lake Conway. Upon conclusion of that project in 1981, Jeff moved to Tallahassee and worked for the next 34 years in the Invasive Plant Management Sections of the Florida Departments of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection (DEP) and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Jeff Schardt supervised the newly formed DNR Field Operations Section from 1982-1988. He implemented Florida’s aquatic plant control permitting program and annual invasive plant inventories in public waters, covering 1.25 million acres. In 1988, Schardt became administrator of the DNR Aquatic Plant Management Section, coordinating the funding and control of aquatic plants in Florida’s 460 public lakes and rivers. During his 27-year tenure as the invasive aquatic plant management program coordinator, he developed funding and control priority systems as well as monitoring, compliance, and reporting programs for the activities of more than 45 government agencies and private companies.
Mr. Schardt worked in collaboration with the University of Florida and Florida science teachers to produce outreach materials and classroom curricula related to invasive aquatic plants and their management. He has worked with agencies and legislators from several states and provinces to establish frameworks for comprehensive aquatic plant management programs. He has also provided testimony to state legislative and congressional panels on the necessity for sufficient, recurring aquatic plant management funding. Mr. Schardt served six years on the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (2004-2009) providing input on the importance of aquatic plant management to federal agencies at the US Cabinet level. He worked with federal and state agencies to implement common sense regulatory and management approaches in Florida related to NPDES permitting and endangered species. Jeff Schardt served as a Director (1995-1997) and as President (2000) of the Florida Chapter of the Aquatic Plant Management Society and is an Honorary Lifetime Member of FAPMS. Jeff served as President of APMS in 2006, and has been on the APMS Board for 15 years; the last eight years as the APMS Secretary.