Lake Apopka Spring 2023 Treatment
Lake Apopka Spring 2023 Public Meeting
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hosted a public meeting regarding hydrilla management on Lake Apopka on March 8, at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden, FL.
After presentations from the FWC and the St. Johns Water Management District, stakeholders were invited to place color-coded stickers onto maps of Lake Apopka to indicate their treatment preferences.
Red- treat hydrilla
Yellow- treat hydrilla with exceptions
Green- do not treat hydrilla
Public Input Summary
|Treat with Exception||60|
The four maps presented at the public meeting have been combined.
Dots placed in the center of the map indicate an opinion about the management of the entire lake rather than an opinion on a localized area.
For a copy of stakeholder comments, please email Nathalie Visscher at Nathalie.Visscher@MyFWC.com
Spring 2023 Lake Apopka Hydrilla Treatment Plan
Following the March 8 Lake Apopka Hydrilla Management Public Meeting, FWC staff reviewed public input and assessed the available funding to create a plan for spring hydrilla control.
The goal of the 2023 Lake Apopka Hydrilla management plan is to work towards the long-term sustainability of the resource while incorporating as many of the immediate stakeholder desired recreational opportunities as possible. Major considerations for this plan were flood control, access, and navigation, protection of native Florida species, ongoing lake restoration efforts, lake user groups, and the ability to fund management into the future.
While the majority of stakeholders desired lake-wide control of hydrilla, Lake Apopka’s North Shore received the most stakeholder support for hydrilla to remain. As a result, 60 percent of the North Shore will remain untreated. By treating less on the North Shore, the FWC’s funding prioritization for this project can be allocated to additional resources for control of other areas of the lake. This provides for a total of 4,185 acres of hydrilla to be managed in the combined treatment plots lake wide.
The following is a summary of the treatment plots, with an explanation of the goals and objectives for each.
South End Plot
The south end plot is designed for navigation access and promotion of the expansion of native plants. This treatment area will also support continuing control in areas treated last spring, where re-growth may have occurred.
The Apopka-Beauclair Canal plot is designed for access, navigation and flood control. As an area of concern, the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) releases water through this canal to prevent flooding around Lake Apopka, and it is used for maintaining water levels throughout the entire Harris Chain of Lakes.
The treatment of the west buffer will limit the expansion of the hydrilla towards the Apopka-Beauclair Canal and will prevent further encroachment of hydrilla into the Florida native vegetation, southern naiad and eelgrass, that is growing out from the shoreline.
SJRWMD Restoration Area and Buffer
These two plots are designed to protect the ongoing high-priority SJRWMD and FWC restoration areas. Treatment will occur inside the restoration area as well as a buffer to prevent the hydrilla from encroaching into the restoration area over the summer growing season.
Northshore and East Shoreline
The purpose of this plot is to maintain clearance for the SJRWMD Innovative Total Phosphorus Removal Project equipment and will also serve to prevent the encroachment of hydrilla to the north to promote the expansion of Florida native plants growing in the area.
East Magnolia Buffer
The SJRWMD has restoration plots of Florida native pondweed in the Magnolia Park area. This plot is designed to buffer the restored and naturally occurring native plants in the area from encroachment by the fast-growing hydrilla. This will allow them room to expand without competition from invasive plants while leaving some hydrilla in areas further from the native plants. Research in 2022 on Lake Apopka documented the hydrilla expanding at a rate of one mile per month in the summer. There were various buffer options considered for treating this plot. The width of the treatment block shown is the most consistent with the research and available funding. We fully anticipate continued hydrilla expansion following treatment during the summer and early fall growing season in this area.