Drawdown on Deer Point Reservoir supports conservation and recreational access
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Media contact: Bekah Nelson, 850-265-3676
The final day for the drawdown on Deer Point Reservoir conducted by the Bay County Utility Services Department was Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The drawdown – or lowering of the water level in the reservoir – serves to decrease aquatic vegetation and improve fishing and boating opportunities.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management recommended the drawdown to the Bay County Utility Services Department based on the 2016 aquatic vegetation survey, showing vegetation coverage on the reservoir to be 76.5 percent.
The winter drawdown began on Nov. 14, 2016, and serves to decrease aquatic vegetation in the reservior by prolonged exposure to drying conditions and freezing temperatures. The goal of the drawdown is to potentially decrease nuisance aquatic vegetation, consolidate and release nutrients from the exposed shoreline sediments, improve fishing and boating access, and enhance fish spawning habitat.
The Bay County Utility Services Department maintained an average elevation of 2.5 feet at the Deer Point Dam during the majority of the drawdown. The lower water level and a 52 percent decrease in rainfall compared to the previous year allowed the aquatic vegetation to be exposed to drying conditions for a longer period of time, resulting in a potentially greater decrease in shoreline vegetation than in previous years.
FWC biologists will conduct a 2017 aquatic vegetation survey in September to determine the percent of coverage on the reservoir. Biologists will use this data to determine the success of the 2016-2017 drawdown.