The Lake County Aquatic Plant Management Section manages invasive aquatic plants for all users of public water bodies in order to minimize flooding situations, restore navigation, and help maintain the natural integrity of these water bodies with respect to aquatic vegetation.
Cooperative Aquatic Plant Management (Chapter 62C-54, FAC)
Hydrilla on Crescent Lake
Lake County submits an annual work plan for aquatic plant management activities to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for review. Afterward, the County and DEP approve a contractual agreement for determination of funds to be allocated for these activities.
All work performed under this contractual agreement is reimbursed at 100 percent for inter-county bodies of water, such as Lake Harris and Lake Griffin, and 50 percent for intra-county bodies of water bodies, including Lake Dorr and Lake David.
Major invasive exotic aquatic plants, including water hyacinths, water lettuce and hydrilla, found on sovereign bodies of water meeting eligibility criteria are given the highest priority for funding purposes. Some minor invasive exotic and native aquatic plants are included in the work plan on a special local need basis. An example would be the treatment of cattails on Dead River around navigational signs.
Ineligible Sovereign Water Bodies
Lake County obtains a permit from DEP to manage certain aquatic plants on sovereign water bodies that otherwise do not meet one or more of the eligibility requirements to be included under the Cooperative Aquatic Plant Management Program.
Water hyacinths and water lettuce are the primary aquatic plants considered for management purposes. In addition, certain minor invasive aquatic plants are managed on residential canals greater than 10 acres. Any water body or canal less than 10 acres are exempt from the state permitting process.
Duckweed on a residential canal off Dead River
Minor invasive exotic and native aquatic plants found on residential canals less than 10 acres and are connected to those water bodies that meet the state eligibility requirements are considered for management purposes.
However, only those activities that provide navigable access or enhance the aquatic resource for sport fisheries and recreation are conducted. Requests for service for aesthetic reasons are not considered.
Arthropod Breeding Sites
Salvinia on the Palatlakaha River
Certain retention ponds and other manmade aquatic sites are considered for management purposes if the site is located on a County easement and produces aquatic plants suitable for arthropod breeding.
Some aquatic plants found in certain water bodies and drainage ditches may provide suitable breeding habitats for some disease vectoring arthropods. When the need arises, the Aquatic Plant Management Section will treat these aquatic plants to help manage arthropod breeding and, when deemed necessary, restore the flow of drainage ditches to original capacity. This work is performed by the use of herbicides or, when practical, by reclamation.
Special Projects with Other Agencies
Lake County has partnered with other government agencies to provide aquatic plant management activities for special local-need projects. The County is 100 percent reimbursed from the different agencies for all work performed.
Examples include the Ferran Park shoreline enhancement project in Eustis, the lake enhancement project in Umatilla and water hyacinths management in west Volusia County.
Aquatic Plant Management Procedures