Water-Related News

Lakeland’s lake managers stress vitality of clean waters

By Tom Palmer

LAKELAND | If you spend any time on or around Polk County's lakes, it's hard to miss the flotilla of cups, bottles, cans and other debris that bobs among the cattails and pickerelweed.

But as volunteers head to Polk's waterways this month to participate in a nationwide litter cleanup campaign called Lakes Appreciation Month, some may wonder whether the effort is justified or useful.

Local lake managers think so.

"Our downtown lakes need help,'' said Curtis Porterfield, Lakeland's lakes and stormwater manager, explaining anything tossed on the street in downtown Lakeland is likely to end up in Lake Wire, Lake Morton or Lake Mirror.

"In Lakeland, it's the most visible sign of pollution,'' he said.

Litter is certainly an aesthetic issue, but it can also affect the safety of wildlife and people, said Jeff Spence, Polk's director of parks and natural resources.