Plants on lake controlled with spraying

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is conducting aquatic plant control on Lake Okeechobee this week through July 5.

According to FWC, “these sites have been identified as critical infestation sites for floating plants as they negatively impact native habitat and navigation and require management on Lake Okeechobee. The low water levels seen around the lake are encouraging the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation as well as emergent vegetation. Floating plants in the outlined areas within the treatment plan are shading out and reducing the expansion of native vegetation. Floating plants are as well forming large mats which can easily displace native plant communities. These plants can also be moved by wind and spread to other areas of the lake, expanding the areas needing management. This treatment is necessary to limit ecological damage to the diverse native plant communities.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
This photo from May 21 illustrates the location of hyacinth and water lettuce within the Eagle Bay area

Lake Okeechobee area anglers have protested the widespread use of chemical herbicides on the big lake and asked for increased use of mechanical harvesting and biological controls to deal with invasive aquatic weeds.

The targeted sites for the June 24-July 5 treatments include:
• Gourd Island: Phragmites will be treated on the FWC created site, Gourd Island, to protect recently planted shrubs and wildflowers. Phragmites will quickly grow, expand and take over if not treated. Treatment will be extremely selective by chopping phragmites and directly spraying stem with a bottle. All treatment will be over dry ground.

• Monkey Box, Eagle Bay, Observation Shoal, Bird Island, Chancy Bay and lower Taylor Creek: Chemical treatment for floating plants. Herbicide use: Diquat for hyacinth in open water, spatterdock and pennywort; 2,4-D for hyacinth in cattail and other grasses; Penoxsulam for hyacinth in giant bulrush; Diquat for lettuce in open water, spatterdock, grasses and pennywort; Flumioxazin for lettuce in cattail or giant bulrush; Diquat for lettuce and hyacinth together in open water, grasses, spatterdock and pennywort; Flumioxazin/Penoxsulam mix for lettuce and hyacinth together in giant bulrush; Flumioxazin/2,4-D mix for lettuce and hyacinth together in cattail.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Invasive aquatic plants in the area of Bird Island and Observation Shoal is shown on this Google Earth image from May 20. Floating plant acreage is estimated around 100 acres. Winds have blown water lettuce and water hyacinth into bulrush and cattail stands.

• Pelican Bay Halifax Banks: Treat all floating plants. Herbicide use: Diquat for hyacinth in open water, spatterdock pennywort; 2,4-D for hyacinth in cattail other grasses; Penoxsulam for hyacinth in giant bulrush; Diquat for lettuce in open water, spatterdock, grasses pennywort; Flumioxazin for lettuce in cattail or giant bulrush; Diquat for lettuce and hyacinth together in open water, grasses, spatterdock and pennywort; Flumioxazin/Penoxsulam mix for lettuce and hyacinth together in Giant bulrush; Flumioxazin/2,4-D mix for lettuce and hyacinth together in cattail.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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