Water-Related News

FWC conducts aquatic plant control on Little Lake Harris

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control on 2,700 acres of Little Lake Harris this week, weather permitting.

Little Lake Harris is in Lake County. It is part of the Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida.

While there will be no restrictions on fishing and swimming during this treatment for invasive hydrilla, there will be a 14-day restriction on irrigation to turf and landscape ornamentals.

Hydrilla is an exotic aquatic plant spread easily by boats throughout the state’s lakes and rivers. It clogs waterways, making recreational activities difficult or impossible, and it chokes out beneficial native plants. Managing and treating it are necessary for the health of Florida’s waters and to enable continued recreational boating and other aquatic activities.

FWC conducts aquatic plant control on Little Lake Harris

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control on 2,700 acres of Little Lake Harris this week, weather permitting.

Little Lake Harris is in Lake County. It is part of the Harris Chain of Lakes in central Florida.

While there will be no restrictions on fishing and swimming during this treatment for invasive hydrilla, there will be a 14-day restriction on irrigation to turf and landscape ornamentals.

Hydrilla is an exotic aquatic plant spread easily by boats throughout the state's lakes and rivers. It clogs waterways, making recreational activities difficult or impossible, and it chokes out beneficial native plants. Managing and treating it are necessary for the health of Florida's waters and to enable continued recreational boating and other aquatic activities.

Go to MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats and click on “Invasive Plants” to find out more about invasive plant management, including “Frequently Asked Questions.”

For more information, contact Nathalie Visscher, FWC invasive plant management regional biologist, at 321-228-3364.

Deadline extended to submit Central Florida Water Initiative supply project options

The Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) is working collaboratively with the region’s utilities, water users and local stakeholders to identify water supply project options to help meet our water supply needs, now and in the future. One piece of this effort is the creation a new list of potential projects to meet water users’ needs, which will be included in the upcoming 2020 CFWI Regional Water Supply Plan.

In March, the water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) formed a new CFWI work group dedicated to developing regional water supply project options. This group is made up of engineers, planners, and scientists from the water management districts, DEP, local governments and other area stakeholders. As part of this effort, the districts are currently reaching out to stakeholders in the Central Florida region to help develop ideas and concepts for new potential water supply, water resource development and water conservation project options.

Creating a list of potential water supply projects is a collaborative process and is based on voluntary input from area stakeholders. The districts are particularly focusing on identifying potential projects that achieve water conservation, provide reclaimed water to new water users, develop alternative water supplies, or benefit natural systems. Organizations or individuals which would like to submit a project option or concept for consideration in the Central Florida Regional Water Supply Plan are encouraged to contact their respective water management district representative listed below.

Potential project options can be submitted via mail or email. The Districts request that any responses be submitted by April 1, 2019, so that they can be considered for the 2020 Regional Water Supply Plan. A link to a project option form is provided below.

R. Thomas Kiger, P.E., Southwest Florida Water Management District Thomas.kiger@swfwmd.state.fl.us (352) 796-7211, ext. 4536

Lori Burklew, St. Johns River Water Management District lburklew@sjrwmd.com (407) 659-4813

Richard Nevulis, South Florida Water Management District rnevul@sfwmd.gov (561) 682-6242

County looks for help to protect Harris Chain of Lakes

TAVARES — Lake County Commissioners approved two letters Tuesday asking for assistance maintaining the Harris Chain of Lakes against growing invasive plant and pollution problems.

The pollution issue is currently under control, but hydrilla, an invasive plant species that can spread between lakes as easily as getting caught in a propeller, is putting up a major threat, commissioners said.

According to the letter to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the plants have spread more aggressively in the wake of recent hurricanes, meaning the problem will only become more expensive unless more aggressive care is taken in the next year.

Compounding the issue is a reduction in funds statewide to deal with invasive aquatic plants.

County Commissioner Tim Sullivan said the issue is a big one for the area, which depends on the Harris Chain for economic activity as well as more leisurely pursuits such as boating and fishing.

The spread of hydrilla over the chain in the past year has already begun to interfere with those things, according to Sullivan.

Lake County looking to Tallahassee for more help in combating hydrilla

Lake County Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan cringes at the mention of hydrilla, an invasive plant that is a bane to boaters.

“I’m a member of a local boat club, and believe me: I almost avoid going to the meetings because I get beat up so much about hydrilla,” he said at a commission meeting this week.

The hydrilla, with long stalks and clusters of leaves that form thick mats on the surface and hinder boat navigation, has gotten so bad on the Harris Chain of Lakes that Lake County officials worry it could threaten the county’s appeal as a fishing hot spot.

After commissioners heard that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is financially strapped to combat the submersed plants on a large scale, they decided Tuesday to ask lawmakers for more resources to eliminate the nuisance plant. Commissioners added the request to their list of legislative priorities for the session that begins in March and also appeal to FWC for more help.

Watershed groups have a positive impact on local water quality, study finds

Economists have found that in the United States, watershed groups have had a positive impact on their local water quality.

A new published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides the first empirical evidence that nonprofit organizations can provide public goods, said Christian Langpap, an Oregon State University economist and study co-author with Laura Grant, an assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College.

In economics, a public good is a commodity or service that individuals cannot be effectively excluded from using, and where use by one individual does not reduce availability to others. For these reasons, public goods can't be provided for profit and nonprofits can play an important role.

"Environmental nonprofit groups are assumed to provide public goods," said Langpap, an associate professor in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. "But until now that assumption has never been tested empirically. We determined that the presence of water groups in a watershed resulted in improved water quality and higher proportions of swimmable and fishable water bodies."

The presence and activity of watershed groups can impact water quality in various ways, including oversight and monitoring, direct actions such as organizing volunteers for cleanups or restoration, and indirect actions like advocacy and education.

The researchers' analysis combined data on water quality and watershed groups for 2,150 watersheds in the continental United States from 1996 to 2008. The number of watershed groups across the lower 48 tripled during this period, from 500 to 1,500.

Online voting now open for Adopt-A-Lake Program calendar contest

TAVARES — The public is invited to vote for their favorite photos of Lake County’s waterbodies, which will be included in the 2019 Adopt-a-Lake Program calendar. Online voting is now open at www.lakecountyfl.gov/adoptlake and will close at midnight on Sunday, Nov. 4.

A panel including Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan, county staff and volunteers independently rated over 260 entries; paring them down to a semi-finalist list of 34 photographs. The top 14 pictures will be featured in the calendar and one that receives the most votes will grace the calendar’s cover. Voting is limited to once per day.

The calendar will be available beginning Nov. 14 for a suggested donation of $5, with proceeds benefiting the Adopt-a-Lake Program. It can be purchased at the Water Resource Management Laboratory, 12923 County Landfill Road, Tavares, and additional locations to be announced. Orders may also be mailed to: Adopt-a-Lake Program, P.O. Box 7800, Tavares, FL 32778. Checks should be made payable to Lake County BCC. If placing a mail order, include $1 additional for postage.

Lake County looks to Tallahassee for help in combating hydrilla

Lake County Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan cringes at the mention of hydrilla, an invasive plant that is a bane to boaters.

“I’m a member of a local boat club, and believe me: I almost avoid going to the meetings because I get beat up so much about hydrilla,” he said at a commission meeting this week.

The hydrilla, with long stalks and clusters of leaves that form thick mats on the surface and hinder boat navigation, has gotten so bad on the Harris Chain of Lakes that Lake County officials worry it could threaten the county’s appeal as a fishing hot spot.

After commissioners heard that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is financially strapped to combat the submersed plants on a large scale, they decided Tuesday to ask lawmakers for more resources to eliminate the nuisance plant. Commissioners added the request to their list of legislative priorities for the session that begins in March and also appeal to FWC for more help.

A lack of funding to battle hydrilla is an issue across Florida.