LAKE OKEECHOBEE -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) plans to conduct aquatic plant management on Lake Okeechobee from Monday, Aug. 30 through Friday, Sept. 3, depending on the weather.
Management areas include dense cattail marsh east of Dyess Ditch, east of Harney Pond and south of Lakeport, and an area with dense cattail in Moonshine Bay, northeast of Moore Haven. A total of 1,210 acres of aquatic plants will be managed. Due to the large scale of the projects, management will be conducted using helicopters.
Lake Okeechobee provides high quality foraging and nesting habitat for the endangered Everglade snail kite, wading birds, waterfowl and other marsh species. When water conditions are appropriate, the Moonshine Bay area supports the highest densities of snail kite nesting on Lake Okeechobee.
In addition to improving habitat for fish and wildlife, this project will also increase access for anglers and hunters.
Cattail will be treated with a selective herbicide (imazamox), which does not negatively impact beneficial native species, such as bulrush, spatterdock, spikerush, duck-potato, Kissimmee-grass and maidencane. The treatment should allow these native plants to expand and quickly colonize the areas after management.
This herbicide is approved for use in water bodies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are no restrictions related to fishing, swimming or drinking in affected areas of the lake.
Habitat enhancement using multiple selective management techniques, such as herbicides and prescribed burning, coupled with occasional drying events during low water periods, is part of an integrated management approach used by the FWC on many lakes and wetlands throughout Florida. Prescribed burns in these areas are planned for Winter/Spring 2022 to further enhance habitat.
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.
Management 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 Alyssa Jordan at 863-824-4167.