CLEWISTON — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) biologist Jessica M. “Skippy” Fair, who is chief of the Invasive Species Management Branch at the USACE sub-office here, announces upcoming treatments scheduled in Lake Okeechobee to begin within days.
“In order to meet mission requirements for Federal Navigation and Flood Risk Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will conduct treatments of floating aquatic plants (water hyacinth and water lettuce). The corps area of responsibility includes the south end of the lake from Pelican Bay to Uncle Joe’s Cut, including Route 2 (of the Lake Okeechobee Waterway) from Port Mayaca to Moore Haven and the Rim Canal from Moore Haven to Old Sportsman’s. Treatment of vegetation will be conducted by a contractor.”
Additionally: “As of Monday, Oct. 26, 20 USACE contractors will be treating invasive vegetation in Lake Okeechobee between Pelican Bay and Ritta Island, including the Rim Canal in these areas, to continue maintenance control efforts.”
Some of these aquatic vegetation efforts, by contractors, will be done from helicopters, with USACE ground observers in watercraft below to keep people out of the treatment areas during and after the spraying. This was explained during a meeting of the Lake Okeechobee Aquatic Plant Management Interagency Task Force, which took place virtually Thursday morning, Oct. 22. It was interrupted and shortened because of “technical difficulties” with the online platform used.