FWC to conduct restoration project at Lake Kissimmee
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will begin a major aquatic habitat restoration effort on Lake Kissimmee in March. The FWC will plant 325,000 native aquatic plants to help restore this world-renowned sportfishing lake.
The FWC will be planting 180,000 maidencane, 66,000 paspalidium (both species commonly known as Kissimmee grass) and 77,000 bulrush plants in the northern and eastern shorelines, as well as North Cove. Plants will be planted in 1-2 feet of water within the lake’s marsh. Phase I of this project is nearly complete, which involves the contractor growing 66,000 paspalidium plants in a nursery to ensure they are high quality and a desirable height for planting. These native aquatic plants will not only provide excellent habitat for both adult and juvenile fish, but will also provide habitat for many fish and wildlife species, including the endangered Everglade snail kite.
This work is being completed following recommendations from stakeholders found in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Habitat Management Plan, which aims to increase native submersed and emergent aquatic vegetation through revegetation efforts and reduction of invasive plant species.
Lake Kissimmee’s aquatic grass and bulrush beds have been in decline due to grazing by exotic apple snails, hurricanes and artificially stabilized water levels. This project will bolster the coverage of these historically important grasses for the benefit of fish, wildlife, anglers, hunters and wildlife viewers.
The 34,948-acre Lake Kissimmee is 40 miles south of Orlando in Osceola and Polk counties and is a popular location for anglers targeting largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and black crappie. It is the eponymous water body of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, a collection of four major lakes that form the headwaters of Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and Florida Bay.
For more information about this project, contact Adriene Landrum with the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Section at 407-846-5269. 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/Lakes.