FWC and volunteers work to restore aquatic habitat in Lake George
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) led a freshwater habitat restoration project on Lake George in Volusia County on June 18.
Over 45 volunteers joined FWC staff in planting more than 50,000 eelgrass plants along the shallow shoreline areas of the lake. Eelgrass is a native aquatic plant species that not only provides foraging and protective habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species but also enhances water quality by filtering nutrients, improving water clarity and stabilizing river sediments.
Lake George is the second-largest lake in the state at approximately 46,000 acres in size. Historically, the lake contained thousands of acres of submersed native plants in shallow areas, primarily eelgrass, which provided important habitat and food for native fish and wildlife. This vegetation disappeared from the lake following Hurricane Irma in September of 2017 and has yet to re-establish.
“Volunteers were an integral part of this restoration effort,” said Dan Kolterman, project manager for the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Section. “We thank all the volunteers involved for giving up their Saturday and doing such a great job on Lake George. Their investment in the lake is apparent and the FWC appreciates them working side-by-side with our staff.”
Fence enclosures are being used to protect most of the eelgrass from plant-eating fish and animals until the plants become established. Eelgrass was also planted outside of the fenced area to evaluate impacts from being fed upon by fish and wildlife. Fences are marked by tall PVC pipes with reflective markings.
The FWC and its partners continually work together to enhance and restore fish and wildlife habitat in Florida. For more information about the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration projects, visit MyFWC.com/AquaticHabitats.