The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control on Lake Okeechobee from June 25 through June 27, weather permitting. Lake Okeechobee is the state’s largest lake, covering parts of Palm Beach, Martin, Glades, Okeechobee, and Hendry counties in south Florida.
There will be two separate herbicide treatments conducted on the lake during this time:
Aerial treatment of 390 acres of cattail, Phragmites (also known as common reed), willow and other small woody vegetation to create “flow ways” and openings through dense vegetation on the southwestern area of Lake Okeechobee. This area of marsh being addressed is between Uncle Joe’s (Mayaca) Cut and the Clewiston Channel. The treatment is expected to improve habitat for sportfish, wading birds, waterfowl and snail kites.
Aerial treatment of 350 acres of water lettuce in the southeastern region of Lake Okeechobee, including Coot Bay, East Wall and the west side of Ritta Island.
Both treatments will be conducted using herbicides approved by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We would like to thank local stakeholders who provided the request that helped develop and initiate the flow ways project,” said Mariah McInnis, regional biologist with the FWC’s Invasive Plant Management Section.
There will be no restrictions on recreational activities on Lake Okeechobee immediately following the application, but the FWC is asking the public to avoid both areas during the times they are undergoing treatment.