CLEWISTON — Lake Okeechobee management public meetings are planned for June 22 at 6 p.m. in the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston and June 28 at 6 p.m. at Scott Driver Park in Okeechobee, according to the Lake Okeechobee Interagency Task Force June Bulletin.
The task force includes representatives Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
The bulletin agency update states USACE is conducting interagency surveys via airboat, monitoring for floating aquatic plants throughout the lake. USACE will be conducting aquatic plant management treatment via contractor on Lake Okeechobee. Current aquatic plant management work is taking place from Ritta Island to Pelican Bay and east and west of Clewiston.
FWC’s Invasive Plant Management Section will be managing invasive floating plant treatment from the Harney Pond Canal up to the Indian Prairie Canal, as well as spot treatments from the Harney Pond Canal south to Uncle Joes Cut. Additionally, Luziola subintegra and Scleria lacustris are being treated throughout the lake as EDRR species (Early Detection Rapid Response) to prevent the spread to other areas and further infestation, and treatment of Scleria lacustris will be completed by August. The Nutrient Reduction project northeast of the Indian Prairie Canal will resume harvesting floating plants in the near future and will be monitored by University of Florida and FWC throughout the project term.
Surveys of snail kite nest sites will continue, and as nests pop up (or
fail) throughout the season, the buffer areas around active nests will be avoided by all contractors
FWC staff are planning projects for the upcoming fall and are surveying, mapping and prioritizing areas for cattail herbicide, shredding and plantings that will occur over the next several months.
SFWMD will begin surveying for the Federally endangered Okeechobee Gourd (Cucurbita okeechobeensis). Surveys will be conducted in the Southern marshes and swamps from Pelican Bay to the East Wall near Clewiston. Annual surveys to document Okeechobee Gourd populations and locations are generally conducted May-June as water levels and environmental conditions allow. SFWMD’s Land Stewardship Section intends to resume prescribed burns in the Sports-Haven Marsh and Curry Island areas of Lake Okeechobee if water levels fall below 13 feet and the environmental and atmospheric conditions are appropriate.