Florida Lake To Be Treated For Invasive Plant

invasive species

During the week of Dec. 5, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will treat portions of Lake Tohopekaliga for hydrilla and will monitor the lake for 90 days after treatment. Lake Toho, as it is called, is in Osceola County.

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

The FWC's Invasive Plant Management Section will treat the hydrilla with Aquathol K? applied by both helicopter and boat. The use of Aquathol K? means FWC has placed no restrictions for fishing, swimming or irrigation. Aquathol is approved for use in lakes by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

825 acres of trails and other access/flood-protection areas will be treated on Lake Toho.

Unfortunately, treating hydrilla is not a blac-and-white issure. The invasive plant actually benefits recreational anglers and waterfowl hunters and even help support the endangered snail kite. On the other hand, scientific research and the economics of attempting to manage it provide a compelling reason to try to keep it out of new areas and control it before it harms beneficial native habitat, navigation, flood control, potable and irrigation water supplies, recreation and the aesthetic qualities of lakes.

The FWC attempts to balance these needs while managing hydrilla. For questions about this treatment, contact Ed Harris, FWC invasive plant management regional biologist, at 407-858-6170. 

For more news on the environment, click here.

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