Water-Related News

Residents raise concerns over herbicide spraying in local lakes, rivers

Earlier this year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made a decision to temporarily halt all aquatic herbicide spraying of Florida’s lakes and rivers over public concern that the practice was contributing to algae blooms downstream and negatively impacting fish population.

When aquatic plants are sprayed with herbicide, they may die, sink and create muck at the bottom which promotes algae growth. FWC staff hosted public meetings in February in Kissimmee, Okeechobee, Sebring and Eustis.

“We should be able to come up with a solution to this that isn’t going to endanger our future population and children,” FWC Commissioner Gary Nicklaus said.

In March, FWC staff issued a press release stating that the commission would begin using fewer herbicides and rely more heavily on manual labor to remove aquatic vegetation. Additionally, it announced it would be implementing habitat management plans for individual lakes, forming overwatch groups, developing pilot programs and communicating more with the public.

Months later, many local fisherman and environmentalists say that, now that the hearings are over, nothing has changed.