FWC conducts plant control on Lake Seminole
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is conducting aerial aquatic plant management on Lake Seminole throughout the week of Sept. 5, weather permitting. The management areas were chosen in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, balancing the project’s fish and wildlife habitat benefit, density and location of the vegetation management areas, and public access points.
A total of 715 acres will be managed and will not result in any limitations for recreation or irrigation. Management areas include dense stands of giant cutgrass, phragmites, Cuban bulrush and cattail in the sloughs and shallow water littoral zones surrounding islands just north of Arnold Boat Landing extending south to Howells Boat Landing.
As this treatment is ineffective below the water’s surface, submerged vegetation should expand and quickly colonize treated areas. The treatment is not designed to eradicate the emergent vegetation entirely but instead greatly reduce the amount of plants in the shallow water areas to healthier density.
Lake Seminole provides high-quality foraging habitat for waterfowl and wading birds in addition to being a renowned fishery for bass and panfish. This project will also increase lake access for anglers, hunters and recreational boaters.
Approximately 4-6 weeks after the herbicide application, the treatment areas will be managed with prescription fire as conditions allow. Prescribed fire will open the area up quickly for wildlife to use and will also consume the dead organic material, greatly reducing the amount of decaying material dropping to the bottom of the lake. Prescribed fire following herbicide extends the efficacy of the herbicide management and reduces the amount of herbicide used over time.
Habitat enhancement using multiple selective management techniques, such as herbicides and prescribed burning, coupled with occasional drying events during low water periods, is part of an integrated management approach used by the FWC on many lakes and wetlands throughout Florida. This project will utilize a different management approach in the absence of water level management, by timing the burn to coincide with the shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures of the upcoming winter months. This added stress should also improve the efficacy of the treatment.
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.
Management areas will be posted at boat ramps and FWC staff will be present to ensure all agency protocols are being followed. For questions about this project, contact FWC biological administrator Dan Roberts at 850-528-3915 or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aquatic plant manager Brent Mortimer at 334-430-9290.