FWC adjusts spray hours for hunters

LAKE OKEECHOBEE — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to use chemical herbicides to control invasive aquatic plants on Lake Okeechobee. Due to hunting season, the schedule has been adjusted so the spray boats will not start work until 9 a.m. to avoid the highest use time by hunters.

In the area known as the Monkey Box, aquatic spraying of 75 acres of floating plants (Eichhornia and Pistia) is underway this week (Dec. 2-6). According to FWC, this treatment has been expanded from the original plan due to the movement of plants by winds while the treatment plan was being developed. Plants have moved down the Moore Haven Canal as well as to other parts of the lake, expanding the areas needing treatment and causing blockages in boat trails and at control structures. According to FWC, this treatment will incorporate both mechanical and chemical control methods.

In addition, aquatic spraying of 75 acres of floating plants (Eichhornia and Pistia) is planned in Pelican Bay, Halifax Banks and Chancy Bay. According to FWC, this treatment is intended to lower the amount of floating plants being moved by wind on the east side of the lake. Boat locks on the north and east side of Lake Okeechobee have been inundated with floating plants, resulting in the locks halting operation until the vegetation is treated and the blockage cleared.

Herbicides to be used include Penoxsulam and Flumioxazin.

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