FWC sprays lake from helicopter

LAKE OKEECHOBEE – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) plans to conduct aquatic plant treatments on Lake Okeechobee from Thursday, Oct. 24, through Friday, Nov. 1. No treatments will be conducted during the weekend.

The treatments will be conducted via helicopter.

Treatment areas will include a dense cattail marsh southeast of the Indian Prairie Canal (C40) boat ramp near State Road 78 in Glades County, and an area with dense common reed (Phragmites, a noxious marsh species in Lake Okeechobee) on North Lake Shoal (Kings Bar) in Okeechobee County. Approximately 400 acres will be treated at each location (800 acres in total). The project is anticipated to take three days to complete.

These areas of the lake provide high-quality foraging and nesting habitat for the endangered Everglade snail kite, wading birds, waterfowl and other marsh species, according to FWC. The objectives of this treatment on Lake Okeechobee are enhancing and maintaining native emergent plant communities at a low to moderate density, while promoting plant diversity and providing high value marsh habitat for wildlife. The cattail treatment near Indian Prairie Canal is also a component of a research project conducted by the University of Florida to better understand habitat management strategies that benefit the Everglade snail kite and the snails on which it forages.

The treatment will target stands of dense cattail and common reed that are displacing more beneficial plant species.

The FWC contractor will use herbicides approved for use in water bodies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There will be no restrictions related to fishing, swimming or drinking in affected areas of the lake.

For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information, and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lake.

Treatment areas will be posted at boat ramps and FWC staff will be present to ensure all agency protocols are being followed. For questions about this project, contact FWC biologist Dan Roberts at 863-824-4163.

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