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FWC conducting Lake Okeechobee aquatic plant management this week

The broadcast area for torpedograss treatment by helicopter in Lake Okeechobee.
Media contact: Ryan Sheets, 727-282-7642 or Release Date: 05-20-2024   All Articles Tags:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will be conducting aquatic plant management on Lake Okeechobee throughout the week of May 20.

Management areas include the lake’s northwest marsh between Buckhead and Dyess canals. A total of 2,400 acres of torpedograss, a Category I invasive species, will be managed. Due to the large scale of the project, management will be conducted using helicopters. Drones, airboats and argos (amphibious all-terrain vehicles) will be used to conduct treatment in small areas mixed with native vegetation.

Lake Okeechobee provides high-quality foraging and nesting habitat for the endangered Everglade snail kite, wading birds, waterfowl and other marsh species. Torpedograss outcompetes native plant species, creating extensive dense mats that limit fish and wildlife use. In addition to improving habitat for fish and wildlife, this project will also increase access for anglers and hunters.

Torpedograss will be managed with herbicide (imazapyr). Past torpedograss management has shown that once torpedograss dies, native plants quickly germinate and colonize the area. Imazapyr is approved for use in water bodies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. There are no restrictions related to fishing, swimming or drinking in affected areas of the lake.

The torpedograss management areas proposed by the FWC have been vetted through and approved by the Lake Okeechobee Aquatic Plant Management Interagency Task Force, an advisory group of state and federal agencies with public input on aquatic plant management conducted by the FWC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District on Lake Okeechobee.

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.

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

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 biologist Alyssa Jordan at 863-697-2181.