The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will begin a major aquatic habitat restoration effort on Lake Istokpoga in May.
The FWC is transplanting more than 150,000 aquatic plants on Lake Istokpoga, a 28,000-acre natural lake in Highlands County, to help restore this popular shallow sportfishing lake. FWC contractors will be planting 35,000 jointed spikerush, 35,000 “Kissimmee grass,” 35,000 duck-potato, and 10,000 bulrush plants along the lake’s eastern, western and northern shorelines.
The FWC is also planting over 8,800 biodegradable pots containing more than 35,000 Illinois pondweed (also known as pepper-grass) plants, a submersed native species, throughout the shallow edges of the lake’s marsh.
These native aquatic plants will serve as valuable foraging and nesting habitat for many fish and wildlife species, including the endangered Everglade snail kite and sportfish, such as largemouth bass, crappie and panfish.
This aquatic habitat restoration project is designed to enhance the diversity of the native plant community in the lake’s shallow-water marshes as part of ongoing restoration and habitat enhancement activities for Lake Istokpoga.
This work is consistent with recommendations from stakeholders included in the Lake Istokpoga Habitat Management Plan, which aims to increase native submersed and emergent aquatic vegetation through revegetation efforts and reduction of invasive plant species.
For more information about this project, contact Carly Althoff with the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Section at 863-697-6323.
For more information about the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration projects, visit MyFWC.com/wildlife habitats, click on “Habitat” and choose the “Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration” tab.
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.