Lake Okeechobee Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management Plan
Spanning roughly 730 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is Florida's largest lake and the second largest body of fresh water in the contiguous United States. The lake is known for its shallow depth and extensive marsh system, supporting world-renowned largemouth bass and black crappie fisheries, commercial fisheries, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. Lake Okeechobee and its wetlands are at the center of a much larger Greater Everglades watershed and play a key role in the region's ecology, flood protection and water supply.
The fish and wildlife on Lake Okeechobee depend on the lake’s unique habitat. Over time, major storms and high-water events have caused considerable impacts to the lake’s vegetation. Nutrient-rich water also contributes to an abundance of invasive floating plants. These harmful nonnative plants threaten the native vegetation, which fish and wildlife species rely on for food and shelter. Despite these challenges, active management helps maintain and restore the lake’s valuable ecological functions.
To improve the effectiveness of management on Lake Okeechobee, the FWC is committed to creating a Lake Management Plan to help guide the FWC’s future management. Using stakeholder input from diverse user groups will be paramount in the success of the management plan.