Here you will find the FOLA news and events of interest that have happened within a year or so. Check HISTORY for older happenings.
TJ Oakes Wins Brinkley Photo at Spring Fever in the Garden
April 19, 2013
The Friends of Lake Apopka display was combined with the Oakland Nature Preserve at the April 14th Spring Fever festival this year.
Despite predictions, the rain held off, and a good crowd came by our booth to learn more about FOLA and what is happening on Lake Apopka and the North Shore birding area.
We again held a raffle for one of nature photographer Mike Brinkley's framed photos and the final winner was TJ Oakes of Winter Garden. When he stopped by the preserve to pick up his framed photo, ONP Managing Director Mona Phipps snapped this photo of him showing the picture he won.
FWC Thanks FOLA For Help With Fish Attractors
From: Renfro, Dennis [mailto:dennis.renfro@MyFWC.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 5:06 PM
Cc: Jones, Dale
Subject: Lake Apopka Fish Attractor Project
Please pass on the following thank you to FOLA.
Friends of Lake Apopka
Thank you for your support and hard work constructing a fish attractor in Lake Apopka for anglers to enjoy for many years. Your community support and teamwork is a great example of the organization’s passion for the environment and for fishing in Florida, the “Fishing Capitol of the World”. Recent electrofishing samples adjacent to the attractor found numerous bass, bluegill and crappie onshore in the vegetation. As the temperatures warm up in the spring and summer these fish will seek out those beautiful attractors that your organization so graciously provided. You can go on Google earth or other mapping programs to enter the attractor location.
Friends of Lake Apopka Site 28° 33.866N 81° 37.257W
Thank you for your continued support and “See You on the Lake”
Dennis J. Renfro
Fisheries Resource Coordinator
Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Eustis Research Lab
601 West Woodward Ave.
Eustis Fl. 32726
Office (352) 800-5027
Cell (352) 406-7879
Fax: (352) 357-2941
Visit us at www.MyFWC.com
Feb 26 West Orange Airport Authority Meeting Report
Feb 26, 2013 by Jim Thomas
I sat through another WOAA meeting today. It was very interesting to hear them use the buzzword “ecotourism” frequently. This is a result of the last “summit” meeting where the economy of ecotourism was emphasized. They emphasized that the airport will be compatible with ecotourism!!!!
I summarized the official stand of FOLA: even if they move to the Orlando-Apopka Airport (the one located on 441) there may still be a problem. We agreed not to take a stand until we had all the facts but the bottom line is, if jet flights occur within the boundaries established by FAA or if they sell jet fuel, this could trigger the “wildlife suppression” requirements of FAA. This would kill our plans for a major ecotourism economy based on the birds utilizing the marshes. Please stay involved.
On Tuesday, March 12 the Orange County Commission will consider whether to ask for donation of the 594-acre “surplus land” to be used for ecotourism. It is important that we support this effort.
The Apopka Coalition has completed the final draft of the proposal to designate the North Shore as National Wildlife Refuge. We have sent it to SJRWMD for their opinions and decisions. We have some opposition to “adding more government” but we feel it would give us a valuable partnership to develop this refuge. We must also agree that we can develop the marsh as a refuge if we don’t get accepted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Please get involved in this project.
The next meeting of the ONP Board is this Saturday, March 2 at 9:00 AM and for the FOLA Board is Thursday, March 14.
Don’t forget the Orange County Wildlife and Birdapalooza is Saturday, March 9. We need lots of help from volunteers so please let me know if you are available. The purpose of this festival is to promote ecotourism.
Latest on National Wildlife Refuge Proposal from SJRWMD
From: Hans G Tanzler III [mailto:HTanzler@sjrwmd.com]
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 1:22 PM
Subject: fr Hans - Lake Apopka
Thank you for all of the great work that you and the Friends of Lake Apopka have done for the lake. We also appreciate the effort you have put into developing the plan for the Lake Apopka National Wildlife Refuge proposal.
District staff are now actively reviewing the plan and proposal. At various public meetings over the past few months, we have enjoyed the opportunity to view presentations from you and others about the benefits of such a designation, and we look forward to taking a closer look at the proposal and discussing the plan in more detail.
We will be putting together a group of staff in the coming weeks to review the potential incremental benefits and burdens of seeking to designate the North Shore Restoration Area as a national wildlife refuge. That is, what are the benefits and burdens that are in addition to the District, state and local government ability and burdens of doing the same. We should be able to take the proposal to our Governing Board for discussion in the spring. Robert Christianson will be the primary contact on this endeavor and you can feel free to contact him with questions or to request updates.
Thank you again for all that you do for Lake Apopka.
Hans G. Tanzler, III
St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street
Palatka, FL 32177-2529
Phone: (386) 329-4214
Fax: (386) 329-4125
newsletter sign up http://floridaswater.com/socialmedia
Florida Public Records Law Notice: Emails to and from the District are archived and, unless exempt or confidential by law, will be made available to the public upon request. Users should have no expectation of confidentiality or privacy.
Final Draft of Lake Apopka NWR Proposal
This document proposes National Wildlife Refuge designation for the area now known as the Lake Apopka North Shore
(North Shore), situated adjacent to and north of Lake Apopka (Figure 1). The proposed Lake Apopka National Wildlife
Refuge would encompass property now owned and managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District (the
District). The approximately 20,000 acres of District holdings have not only rich wildlife resources but also
extensive potential for passive recreation and educational opportunities that have not yet been fully utilized. No
additional land acquisitions would be necessary, but there would be wildlifefocused management and public access
expenditures. The District and a coalition of local governments and non-profits initiating this proposal have already
authorized some infrastructure expenditures.
Read entire 60 page document at NWR Proposal.
FOLA Board of Directors meeting of Jan 2013
January 4, 2013
I hope all of you had a good, restful holiday and that you are now ready to get back to work for Lake Apopka.
Our last FOLA Board of Directors meeting was this Thursday, January 3 at 5:00 PM in the ONP classroom. I invited everyone who is interested to come to this meeting where we made final plans for presenting the proposal for designation of the north shore as a National Wildlife Refuge. A lot of people have worked hard to draft this proposal and we hope to reach a final draft by next week.
Our next meeting of the Coalition Working Group is next Monday, January 7 at 7:00 PM at ONP. Please try to attend.
The SJRWMD Governing Board meets in Palatka next Tuesday January 8 where they will consider recommendations from the staff and the public about a final dispensation of the “surplus” lands. We have asked them to hold on our 500 acre parcel in the NSRA until we have a chance to get a meeting with Orange County and Lake County to help decide what role they may play in receiving ownership of this parcel. This is VERY IMPORTANT. I may not be able to attend because of a conflict with a class I have to teach. I may be reaching out to you for presenting our concerns if public comments are allowed.
Also attached are the official FOLA comments on the new Lake Management Plan for SJRWMD. They will be considering it soon. Thanks to those of you who sent me your comments.
At this point, I want to ask each of our elected Board of Directors to decide if they have the time and energy to really work hard during the next few months on these issues. If you feel you cannot give it the time, consider a change to our Advisory Board leaving us the chance to add new members to the Board of Directors. If any of you would be willing to serve on the BOD please let me know so we can consider this if an opening is available. We meet monthly, the first Thursday at 5:00 PM and this is a very important time!
Public input being sought on Lake Apopka North Shore Land Management Plan
December 5, 2012
St. Johns River Water Management District staff have completed a draft plan that addresses management of Lake Apopka’s north shore area over the next 10 years.
Public input is being sought on the draft plan through Dec. 20, 2012. Input can be submitted by emailing JoAnna Emanuel at email@example.com.
The Lake Apopka North Shore Land Management Plan is designed to provide a road map for the District and its partners as they proceed with restoration of the 20,000 acres of the north shore area. The plan focuses on land management activities and is not part of the lake restoration plan.
The plan addresses:
The District Governing Board will consider the plan at its Jan. 8, 2013, meeting in Palatka.
FOLA December 2012 Board Meeting
Dec 6, 2012
At our FOLA BOD meeting last night (12/5/2012) we had an interesting presentation by Dennis Renfro of FWC on their plan to install fish attractors in Lake Apopka. These will be organic, tree limbs attached to concrete blocks and they have been proven to attract game fish, making fishing easier. They want to involve FOLA to help and I will put out a call for volunteers when we set a date. Please plan to attend, bring children and friends and let’s make an educational experience out of it.
FOLA has taken a stand on proposed fish attractors: we approve the organic ones but oppose any use of concrete rubble, etc. The concrete blocks are OK as we see it.
THE Board voted to endorse the proposed Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment, a plan to establish a dedicated funding source for land conservation, management, and restoration through a constitutional amendment for the November 2014 ballot. This would designate one-third of the existing documentary stamp tax revenues, paid to the state any time real estate is sold. Current projections show this would provide over $5 billion over the next 10 years and the funds would use the existing Florida Forever structure. We will need 500,000 signatures of registered voters so we will agree to help get petitions signed.
You can get further information at www.floridawaterlandlegacy.org.
The Board also agreed to donate to the ONP Challenge Grant Fund but will wait until next month to see how much income we can get from our current membership drive.
There are two important meetings coming up:
1. December 11- SJRWMD Governing Board will hear staff reports on recommendations for surplus lands. This includes several parcels on the Lake Apopka North Shore. I attach our letter explaining our position. The meeting is in Palatka, starting about 10:00 am and I’d like to get as many people there as possible.
2. December 18- Orange County Commissioners will consider their stand on the Surplus Lands proposal. This is at 1:00 pm so plan to attend.
We are working very hard on the Lake Apopka Coalition Group. This is a big job but I think we have a chance to get the NSRA designated as a National Wildlife Refuge. Stay tuned to see how you can help.
Many other issues are coming up about Lake Apopka. We need more help. If you would consider serving on our Board, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are at a crucial time in this restoration process. Many of us have been at it for 20 years! What happens in this year may determine the future of Lake Apopka and the surrounding areas.
We agreed to begin again with monthly meetings. Our next meeting is Thursday, January 3 at 5:00 pm at the Oakland Nature Preserve. Please attend and invite anyone you know who may be interested.
Oakland Heritage Festival Bike Winner
had a good turnout at the 2012 Oakland Heritage Festival on Oct 27th.
There was a steady stream of visitors purchasing our $1.00 raffle tickets
for the pair of Torker Alpental bikes worth about $800. All proceeds from
the sale went to the Oakland Nature Preserve.
Todd Gray, General Service Manager at Westbrook Service Corp. bought 24 tickets and distributed the tickets to the girls in the office Friday before the drawing and Katrina Skibo (left) had the winning ticket! (Click picture to enlarge)
SJRWMD District Board Adopts Final 2012–2013 Budget
September 26, 2012
Good News! The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board on Sept. 25 approved a balanced budget that holds the line on property taxes while funding priority water quality protection activities and projects to enhance water supplies. Major projects funded in the budget include the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area project. Read more details on SJRWMD Water News.
FOLA Presentation At Wings & Wildflowers Festival
Our full FOLA booth with our latest charts, photos and information on the progress in the restoration of Lake Apopka again presented our story at “Wings and Wildflowers”, Lake County, Florida’s inaugural birding festival, held September 28-30, 2012 at beautiful Hickory Point Park in Tavares.
Festival-goers learned about the restoration between specialty field trips to area preserves and pristine public lands, includung the North Shore birding area. Unique birding programs were available by kayak, pontoon boats and seaplanes.
Here, Nancy Deam explains to some visitors how events occured to cause the problems, using our updated Lake Apopka Timeline.
ONP Update – August, 2012
This update is the August, 2012 monthly review of what’s going on at the
Oakland Nature Preserve, our window on Lake Apopka.
Things are really growing at ONP. The summer rains have stimulated rapid growth of everything, desirable plants as well as weeds! The bioscope garden and transitional Deam Garden are really doing well and we expect a spectacular Fall bloom. Watch the gardens, both near the entry to the boardwalk.
We are continuing the major task of restoring the upland areas back to the original plant communities that existed on site many years ago, before the land was cleared for citrus groves. Watch for some tree removal near the education center which will open up the canopy so we can install more wire grass, wildflowers, longleaf pine, and other species.
Our gopher tortoise committee has begun a survey of burrows that already shows we have more tortoises than we thought. This makes us very happy since there were none on the site when we started and this is a keystone species in the type of plant community we are restoring. There is also some evidence they are now breeding on site. The burrows are being mapped using GPS and this study will give us a reference point as we continue to monitor the population.
We finally got our outhouse! In our effort to interpret cultural history of the area, we are going to create a review of “A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Family”. We want to show people how these ancestors really lived. We are now planning to do a history of water use, have planted a pioneer garden that shows how it was done in the past and a history on how laundry was done. These people really had to be tough!
We invite you to attend some of these upcoming events at ONP:
September 22 – Florida’s Wonderful Turtles and Tortoises
October 27 – 15th Annual Oakland Heritage Festival (in Speer Park, Oakland)
November 17 – Indigo Snakes: Are We Winning the Battle to Protect Them?
December 15 – A Christmas Tree for Critters
January 26 – Biology at its Best: Everything You Wish You Had Learned in School
February 23 - Spring Celebration at ONP 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
March - Birds of Prey with Eagle Lady Doris Mager, date to be announced
April 27 – What’s in the Water: Little Critters, Big Indicator’s
May 25 - Nature in the City: Create a Habitat in Your Yard for Florida Critters
For additional information on all programs and events offered by ONP visit the website at www.OaklandNaturePreserve.org.
July 6, 2012
This is to update you on recent reports on Lake Apopka data. The total phosphorous readings for May were 160 ppm which is considerably higher than our target of 55 ppm. This is due to the very low water levels before the rains. Average flow into the marsh flow way was also low so nutrient levels removed were also down.
On the bright side, the SJRWMD governing board approved a zero discharge plan until the regulatory schedule of 65.6 feet is met. FWC is stocking Lake Apopka with 304,000 sunshine bass. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the plans to re-flood the remaining dry acres in the NSRA and the District is finalizing the infrastructure needed to manage water in the NSRA, Duda and Sand Farm systems. This will enable them to move water from one cell to another for marsh restoration.
The Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council will meet on July 25 at 9:00 A.M. in the Lake County Chambers. They will have a presentation on the biology and ecology of lake management. Hope some of you can go.
I am calling a FOLA board meeting for Thursday, August 2nd at 5:00 P.M. at ONP. Please make every effort to be there.
We are all very saddened by the news this week of the death of Bert Roper. Bert has offered a great deal of support to Lake Apopka restoration and to ONP. I just attended funeral services last Saturday for Jake Voss, another great supporter. We will really miss both of these great men!
Jim Thomas, President
Friends of Lake Apopka
FWC plan calls for managing hydrilla at lowest levels in Lake Apopka
July 6, 2012
In January, staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) met with the public at a meeting in Winter Garden to learn how people would like hydrilla and other invasive aquatic plants managed on Lake Apopka. The FWC incorporated the comments from that meeting into the 2012-13 management strategy, which calls for controlling hydrilla at the lowest possible level in Lake Apopka.
The amount of hydrilla in the lake is currently very small, and managing it according to the plan will prevent it from becoming a large scale, expensive problem. Hydrilla easily spreads among water bodies and quickly becomes invasive if not properly managed.
The aquatic plant management plan is in place for the period of July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 and calls for treating up to 200 acres of hydrilla if it becomes necessary during this time period. The FWC has budgeted $132,000 for hydrilla control in Lake Apopka, if necessary, but hopes that much less will be needed. The FWCs funding for aquatic plant control is provided through the state’s Invasive Plant Control Trust Fund.
Aquatic plant managers warn that accurately predicting the cost of managing invasive aquatic plants or even how many acres will need to be treated in any given fiscal year is difficult. For that reason when managers develop treatment plans they estimate budget and acreage at the high end of the spectrum. Frequent monitoring throughout the year will determine the extent and timing of any treatments.
“Where and how quickly these types of plants grow depends upon a number of factors, many of which are not predictable, said Nathalie Visscher, FWC invasive plant management biologist. “These include lake conditions such as a change in nutrient levels, which affect plant growth rates; drought; excessive rain; temperature; as well as management tools and other activities that may be occurring within the lake’s watershed. People are often looking for exact dollar and acreage amounts, but we can offer only educated estimates. We never know what to expect; predicting Mother Nature is a difficult task.”
Before developing the 2012-13 aquatic plant management plan for Lake Apopka, the FWC considered input from a wide variety of user groups to create a balanced approach.
“At the meeting last January, we heard from business and property owners, anglers, hunters, bird watchers, boaters and others who have a vested interest in the lake,” Visscher said. “That and future meetings are part of an ongoing process to maintain a regular dialogue with stakeholders about aquatic plant management on Lake Apopka.” (FOLA thanks all the concerned folks that turned out to support our position at the January meeting and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their efforts in reaching this decision.)
For more details about hydrilla management on Lake Apopka, contact Nathalie Visscher at 321-228-3364.
Local Meeting Regarding Method for Determining Surplus SJRWMD Lands
July 5, 2012
As you know, the West Orange Airport Authority has applied to SJRWMD for a land swap that would give WOAA approximately 94 acres of upland for some wetlands. This would enable WOAA to build the extended runway for jets.
Coincidentally (?) Governor Scott has instructed all WMD’s to assess all their publicly owned lands to see if any can be sold as surplus. While the assessment is supposed to be science based, we note that the initial evaluation labeled the floodplains around Lake Apopka as having little conservation value!
With politics repeatedly trumping science and with a governor and legislature that have dismantled a great deal of our environmental protection, we can’t let this land swap occur.
SJRWMD has called for a series of meetings throughout the district to explain their appraisals. In this area we had scheduled a meeting for Thursday, July 5 at 6:00 P.M. in the Winter Garden Commission Chamber in City Hall. A good crowd showed up to strongly support not declaring ANY land "surplus". I am convinced that the large turnout for the hydrilla meeting was what turned the tide (also intimidated some of the supporters of hydrilla).
We objected to the sale of any properties purchased with public dollars. Even parcels that are not pristine can become valuable habitat—look what we have done at the Oakland Nature Preserve where frozen citrus groves and planted pines are now excellent habitat. With cuts in budgets and opposition from our elected officials, what we have now may be all we ever have.
We strongly objected to the land swap with the airport authority, not only because it makes the jet runway possible but because we need upland edges to the marsh systems now being restored. This was part of our initial vision of an ecosystem based restoration. See the Lake Apopka Basin Master Plan.
There are two attachments that will help you understand the issues; an article in the Orlando Sentinel on last Sunday (see here...) and a website on the SJRWMD site http://floridaswater.com/airport that will update us about when or if the proposed swap will go to the SJRWMD board.
State rejects proposal to let hydrilla spread in Lake Apopka
June 24, 2012
FWC, the Florida agency responsible for fish and wildlife, has decided not to support a controversial proposal that would have allowed an invasive aquatic plant known as hydrilla to infest more of Lake Apopka... Read the full article on the Orlando Sentinel website...
FOLA thanks all the concerned folks that turned out to support our position at the January meeting and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for their efforts in reaching this decision.
Good News on Lake Water Levels
June 14, 2012
I’m happy to tell you we received a unanimous vote by the SJRWMD Governing Board yesterday to follow the staff recommendation to allow zero discharges from control structures until normal water levels are reached. This is particularly important to Lake Apopka, not only to have enough water to allow eelgrass to grow but also to provide water levels in the NSRA (North Shore Restoration Area) that can be manipulated to enhance marsh restoration. I gave a brief presentation that ended with my usual “Keep politics out of ecosystem restoration!”
Jim Thomas, President
Friends of Lake Apopka
June 2012 FOLA Board Meeting
June 8, 2012
To: Friends of Lake Apopka
From: Jim Thomas, President
Re: June 2012 Board Meeting
At our board meeting last night (June 7) the board came to a consensus agreement for the following issues:
1. We will continue to oppose the present site chosen for the WOAA Airport at the Lust and Long site. Members are encouraged to attend the next WOAA meeting on June 27 at 10:00 A.M. in the Apopka City Hall.
2. We will continue to review the potential alternate site, the Apopka-Orlando Airport on 441 but will not take an official stand at this time.
3. We will not oppose the current proposals for dredging the boat ramps at Magnolia Park and at Winter Garden, with one caveat: That FDEP continue to monitor the process and retain all permit requirements. While some members expressed concern about the added costs of the “Clean to Green” process over traditional dredging processes and about taxpayer-funded research for private companies, the majority agreed we really want to see these ramps dredged and we do not have enough research to take a stand at this time.
4. We will continue to support the staff of SJRWMD regarding water levels in the Ocklawaha Chain, especially the zero-discharge from Lake Apopka proposal that will enable hydration of marshes being restored.
5. We will continue to oppose any plan to store water in the NSRA cells that might decrease the restoration processes. Short-term storage should not be a problem and SJRWMD staff should be given total control of these processes.
At this time our main goal is to continue to monitor proposals that affect restoration of the lake and of the NSRA and to keep the public involved. We need new volunteers and a few new board members so I ask each of you to provide any help or suggestions you can give.
You can Email FOLA at email@example.com .
Ribbon Cutting for the New Trailhead
June 1 - Friends of Lake Apopka board members rallied around the Lake Apopka Loop sign at the Ribbon Cutting for the
new trailhead at Magnolia Park. The trailhead is part of the 2002 FOLA Master Plan which documents opportunities for
greenways, trails, recreation, and eco-tourism in the Lake Apopka Basin.
The heavy rain did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance who were excited to see the result of hard work and perseverance become a reality. Orange County Commissioners Scott Boyd and Fred Brummer both spoke about the partnerships and team work between Orange and Lake Counties, St. Johns River Water Management District, and the leadership in Orange County Parks and Recreation that had made the first phase of the Lake Apopka Loop connection across the North Shore of Lake Apopka possible. The first phase, which opened on Friday, allows bikers and hikers access to the first 4.5 miles of the trail. When complete the trail across the north shore will be 19- miles long and connect to a new trailhead being developed on the west side of the lake. The Lake Apopka Loop trail will be approximately 52- miles when completed.
Pictured here are Friends of Lake Apopka board members, Glenn Burns, President Jim Thomas, vice-president Mona Phipps, John Deam and his wife Nancy. The rain kept most bikers off the trail on Friday but a courageous few made the trip out and back while others hiked the trail under the protection of their umbrellas.
Winter Garden Rejects Airport Land Swap
May 25, 2012
Last evening, after considerable discussion, the Winter Garden City Commission voted to join Oakland, Montverde and Mount Dora with a petition against the land swap proposed by the West Orange Airport Authority to the Saint Johns River Water Management District for the airport extension. FOLA is pleased and thanks Winter Garden for their support.
Orange Audubon Resolves Against Airport Expansion
May 17, 2012
Read the full Resolution submitted by Orange Audubon concerning the airport on the north shore of Lake Apopka here...
Groups Rally for Lake Apopka
April 24, 2011 by Mona Phipps ( Read
from The West Orange Times
Economic opportunities in the Lake Apopka basin, and the benefits to local communities for supporting the restoration of Lake Apopka and the North Shore Restoration Area (NSRA) as a sustainable economic engine, brought four groups together last Thursday for a Lake Apopka Rally at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden. In the midst of continual threats to the restoration process, the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation (WGHF), Friends of Lake Apopka (FOLA), Oakland Nature Preserve, (ONP) and the Green Mountain Scenic Byway (GMSB) combined their resources to present the rally.
( Read more... )
2nd Rally for Lake Apopka
April 19, 2012
"Lake Apopka: An Economic Growth Center" was presented by The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, Oakland Nature Preserve, Green Mountain Scenic Byway and FOLA at 6:30 PM at Tanner Hall by the lake in Winter Garden. This year’s event included presentations about the historic economic impact of Lake Apopka, the current status of the north shore trail (called the Lake Apopka Loop), events threatening the north shore wildlife preserve, and the future of the lake as an outdoor recreation and eco-tourist destination.
They reviewed all the advantages of continuing the restoration of the Lake and the north shore marsh reconstruction, with wildlife trails joining the West Orange Trail to create a complete loop around the lake. Unfortunately, they also reviewed what could happen if the ill conceived plan to develop a jetport within the north shore uplands is allowed to proceed. See "FOLA Action" below and "FOLA Position Paper April 2012" in Concerns
Oakland Resolves Against Airport Expansion
April 10, 2012 - Read the full Resolution submitted by the Town of Oakland concerning the airport on the north shore of Lake Apopka here...
The Animal Control Damage Act
This week marks the 80th anniversary of passage of the Animal Control Damage Control Act (7 USC 426-426c). December 22, 2011
It is said that those who ignore history will eventually repeat it. With the proposed North Shore airport extension in mind, consider this small piece of history from E Magazine:
A barrage of 12-gauge shotguns shatters the quiet of the May dawn. Another three-month killing season at New York City's JKF airport has begun. The marksmen work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's controversial Animal Damage Control (ADC) program, which kills 2.5 million birds and animals each year, with public money and often on public land—but, as at JFK, without public input.
In 1991, ADC marksmen shot 15,000 laughing gulls. In 1992, they killed 10,000 more. The gulls are blamed for collisions with planes—or "birdstrikes"— and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants something done.
Between 1979 and 1990, 73 aircraft reported damage to plane engines, which suck the birds in, though only eight incidents were attributed to laughing gulls. Birdstrike damage can cost over $150,000 per engine. Although many airports have this problem, JFK has gone to unusual lengths to solve it. "We intend to continue to shoot the birds that come into JFK airspace," says Jack Gartner, JFK's manager of aeronautical services.
Built on wetlands, JFK airport lies next to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, home to the only viable laughing gull nesting colony in the state. Overhunted in the 19th century for their plumes, New York's laughing gulls had disappeared by 1890. Only after passage of the Migratory Bird Act in 1918 did the laughing gulls—named for their distinctive call—slowly return. By 1979, Jamaica Bay had 15 nesting pairs; 12 years later, a fully-recovered 7,600. But now the gulls are again threatened.
"You couldn't have planned JFK in a worse place along the Atlantic flyway," says John Tanacredi, natural resource chief for the National Park Service (NPS). "Moving the birds would be about as tough as moving the airport itself." Since 1985, different panels have recommended everything from allowing the grass around JFK to grow (discouraging gulls from resting there), to asking taxi drivers and concessionaires not to put out food, to filling in the puddles that attract birds along the runways. Says wildlife biologist Eugene LeBoeuf, "It's simple: If you get rid of what animals need—food and water—they won't hang around." But "bullets are cheaper than implementing sound, humane, preventive actions," adds D.J. Schubert, of the Fund For Animals. "It's brawn over brains."
In an attempt to stop the killing last May, FFA filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), arguing that no bird census had ever been taken and no Environmental Impact Statement filed. But a special "need based" permit allowed the shooting to proceed. "If the ADC had its way, the only birds in the sky would be mechanical ones," says Schubert.
Laughing gulls still rise from the marsh each morning in search of food for their young, unaware of the rifles aimed at them. Many people wonder how many more birds will join the thousands buried beneath JFK's tarmacs before a more peaceful solution is found. Write or call: DEC, 50 Wolf Rd., Albany, NY 12233 / (518)457-3446; for more information, contact: Fund for Animals, 850 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910 / (301)585-2591
February 20, 2012
If this proposed airport extension goes through and FAA (under its regulations) draws a 10,000 foot regulatory zone oval around the runway it will begin pressuring SJRWMD to suppress wading bird use of Apopka North Shore lands. The bird hazard exclusion zone will cover much of the North Shore restoration area. FOLA is preparing a position statement to be discussed and ratified at our March 1st board meeting at the Oakland Nature Preserve. Concerned citizens are welcome to attend. (See map in Events)
FOLA Registers Concern Over North Shore Land Swap For Airport
February 16, 2012
Hans G. Tanzler, III
St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street
Palatka, FL 32177-2529
Dear Mr. Tanzler,
On behalf of the Friends of Lake Apopka I register this concern about the proposed airport on the North Shore of Lake Apopka. Our concern is based on the on-going restoration of the lake and marshes utilizing taxpayer dollars, the tremendous increase in wildlife habitat created, the potential for eco-tourism opportunities, and the proven dangers of aircraft in close proximity to large bird populations.
St. Johns River Water Management District has always attempted to comply with the state mandate to consider economic impacts and create ways to provide economic opportunity to the region since the land purchase eliminated farming in NW Orange County. The one constant in Florida’s economy is tourism, not construction, growth or rapid development. This has been proven repeatedly over time.
The North Shore Restoration Area can have a huge economic impact to this region of Central Florida as the restoration continues without negative impacts on the environment. Lake Apopka, as the headwaters of the Harris Chain of Lakes and the Oklawaha Valley, can have a huge negative impact on this region if not restored.
We ask that you reject any land swap that would allow for an airport on the North Shore of Lake Apopka and that you continue to support all restoration efforts.
Vice President, Friends of Lake Apopka
DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard Jr.
SJRWMD Governing Board
Robert Christianson, SJRWMD
David Walker, SJRWMD
To all the Friends of Lake Apopka, THANK YOU!
January 25, 2012
There was no doubt at last night's FWC meeting that the overwhelming majority of the estimated 250 concerned citizens packing Tanner Hall were solidly behind FOLA's efforts to continue destroying hydrilla in Lake Apopka. Speaker after speaker commended FOLA and the St Johns River Water Management District for the steady progress being made in the restoration using science based methods. We commend the FWC staff for providing this well managed assembly and look forward to the same care in managing our lake.
They (FWC) want to encourage people to complete the Lake Apopka questionnaire online. They will receive these until Feb. 24 at which time they will do the counting. If you have not already submitted your concerns to FWC, you can fill out the form online at SurveyMonkey.
2011 Lake Apopka Fish Survey from FWC
Here is a nice summary of fish in Lake Apopka from John Benton of FWC's Eustis Fisheries Laboratory. It is interesting to observe that bass of harvestable size have plenty of food available to them. See Fish Survey.
Lake Apopka Aquatic Plant Management Meeting
January 24, 2012
Managing Aquatic Plants in Lake Apopka was the focus of a well attended public meeting in Winter Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 24 hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The meeting was from 6-9 p.m. in Tanner Hall, 29 W. Garden Avenue in Newton Park, Winter Garden.
The goal of this meeting was to solicit public input on managing aquatic plants in Lake Apopka in order to develop the 2012-13 aquatic plant management plan for the lake.
Input from a wide variety of user groups is important to create a balanced approach to managing aquatic plants in Lake Apopka and the FWC will consider all comments.
See Questionnaire to help identify areas of interest and concern. NOTE: Since the questionnerre is somewhat confusing, please see this sample for ideas that support FOLA's position.
"We want to know what business and property owners, anglers, hunters, bird watchers, boaters and others who have a vested interest in the lake think about current and future aquatic plant levels and management options; now is the time to get involved," said Nathalie Visscher, an FWC invasive plant management biologist.
Ms Visscher provided a brief update and overview on past and present aquatic plant management efforts. Dr. Bill Haller, Director of the Center for Aquatics and Invasive Plants made a presentation on the role of aquatic vegetation in Florida waters and the complexities associated with managing invasive plants in a multiple use system like Lake Apopka.
After the presentations, the FWC encouraged the public to comment and discuss the level, types and management of aquatic vegetation desired and key areas of interest and concern.
"This is part of an ongoing process to maintain a regular dialogue with stakeholders about aquatic plant management on Lake Apopka and we strongly encourage everyone interested in aquatic plant management efforts on Lake Apopka to attend this meeting and give us your thoughts," said Visscher.
For more details about the meeting, contact Nathalie Visscher at 321-228-3364.
North Central Regional Biologist
FWC – Invasive Plant Management Section
601 W Woodward Ave.
Eustis, FL 32726
Very Important Meeting Tuesday January 24th 2012
"If you are a native Floridian or long time resident, you are probably familiar with hydrilla
and the great damage it has caused over the years -- and you’ll probably be just as astonished as we were to learn
that some people who carry a fair amount of weight in such matters, have actually proposed that hydrilla be permitted
to take over as much as 30% of Lake Apopka."
See the full story of what can happen when hydrilla is not controlled in this clearly illustrated presentation by Florida Native Plant Society Beautyberry Chapter Representative Jon S. Popasil in Hydrilla Monster. Read also Beautyberry's letter to their government representatives in Hydrilla Concern.
Lake Apopka Crossroad Meeting
January 11, 2012
About 80 concerned citizens gathered in Oakland to hear and discuss the past, present and future restoration plans for Lake Apopka. David Walker presented the views and concerns of the Saint Johns River Water Management District. Jon Pospisil gave a well illustrated talk on the effects of Hydrilla in Lake Apopka (See Hydrilla Monster!). Jim Thomas summed it up with FOLA's position on the past lake management based on scientific principals as opposed to political pressures. Much discussion ensued!
Nathalie Visscher of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) encouraged all to attend the upcoming meeting on January 24th in Winter Garden where FWC will solicit public input on managing aquatic plants in Lake Apopka.
The meeting closed with Ocoee Mayor Scott Vandergrift drawing the winning ticket for a framed photograph by nature photographer Mike Brinkley for Texann Ivy Buck Griffin, a 5th generation Central Florida resident.
Harris Chain Lake Levels
January 5, 2012
The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board Projects and Land Committee held a public meeting Jan. 5 in Howey-in-the-Hills to discuss discharges in the Harris Chain of Lakes. Around 700 people attended to see what alternatives might be pursued to best regulate the levels in these lakes including Lake Apopka
Read more about this presentation on the SJRWMD Web and click on "options" under Lake Harris Chain Discharges to see the 28 slides used at the meeting.
Lake Apopka Crossroad
December 29, 2011
by FOLA Board Member Jim Hawley
The Lake Apopka Restoration Summit was held on Dec. 14, 2011 to consider methods to speed restoration and lower its cost. Two ways forward were discussed. One defined restoration as a clear water lake, the other as a hydrilla dominated large mouth bass fishery.
Please read the rest of this Summit Meeting Report for an analysis of what could happen if we are not careful.
Friends of Lake Apopka Defend the Restoration Process
The Friends of Lake Apopka have once again been called to defend the on-going restoration of the lake. The group has advocated for this process since incorporating in 1991 after years of frustration at the continuing abuse of the lake.
After a lot of effort by this citizens advocacy group a legislative approval was obtained to begin a long-term restoration by buying the 20,000 acres of polluting farmlands adjacent to the lake and initiating a number of projects aimed at reduction of phosphorous, the main problem. After more than 15 years and a cost of approximately 189 million dollars, the lake is beginning to show signs of recovery as phosphorous levels drop, water clarity continues to improve, native aquatic vegetation expands and fishing improves.
The process has had critics, most unaware of the unprecedented magnitude of this project and of the degree of degradation. One of the most outspoken groups has been the Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council, created by the legislature in 2001 as an advisory board. For the past several years they have included in their annual report to the legislature a number of recommendations for changes in the restoration plan, experimental procedures in the lake and requests for reallocation of funds and requests for large legislative appropriations. FOLA has been forced to draft position papers each year to defend the existing program and oppose proposals that could compromise restoration gains.
This year was no different. Among the recommendation were proposals to allow hydrilla to proliferate in the lake in an attempt to clean the water, dump concrete rubble in the lake to provide habitat, reduce permitting for muck de-watering which tests for contaminants, lower water levels in Apopka and other lakes in the chain to increase water levels in Lake Griffith and to tear down the levee on the north shore to flood marshes to deeper levels. Please see our complete 2011 FOLA position paper that refutes these and other issues.
The FOLA position on the restoration plan has not changed: the scientific team at SJRWMD is very competent, the restoration plan that targets nutrient reduction in the lake and surrounding marshes is a sound one, it is working and should be allowed to continue without interruption!
AB Canal Flow Never Promised
Regarding the TV news video claiming that the NURF proponents were never told there would be times when there would not be enough flow through the AB Canal to function:
Please read NURFLetterToBoard , PositionPaper_Petition_NURF , and FolaFActs - LCWAResponse for the real story.
Latest SJRWMD Lake Apopka Bird Survey
Dear Avid Birders,
Results from the September 2011 Lake Apopka Bird Survey:
We had a terrific turnout for the September survey. Thank you all for being there!!! Thanks to your dedication and commitment, we were able to cover all of the transects we needed to!!! You’all are fabulous volunteers and we are so lucky to have your help!!!
The group surveyed five transects including areas 1, 2, 6, 7, and 9. The temperatures were comfortable (between 74 and 84 degrees). The skies were cloudy and overcast and there was very little wind. The total number of bird observations recorded was 5,132 compared to 4,658 recorded in September 2010. A total of 83 bird species was identified; 69 species were identified last year. The largest numbers of birds were recorded on Lust Rd (1,967), and Laughlin Rd (1,486). The highest species diversity was recorded on Lust Rd (60 species) and Laughlin Rd (47 species).
Red-winged Blackbird (2,298), Common Moorhen (652), Turkey Vulture (257), Western Sandpiper (250), and Least Sandpiper (210) were the most frequently observed species. Fourteen species of wading birds (egrets, herons, ibis, storks, etc.) were observed including 18 Roseate Spoonbills and 7 Wood Storks. The Osprey (91) was the most frequently observed raptor species. Six duck species were observed including Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (5), Fulvous Whistling-Duck (10), Wood Duck (14), Mottled Duck (38), Blue-winged Teal (61), and Green-winged Teal (1). Warbler species included Northern Parula (2), Yellow Warbler (4), Yellow-throated Warbler (1), Pine Warbler (2), Prairie Warbler (6), Black-and-white Warbler (1), Northern Waterthrush (11), and Common Yellowthroat (23). Unique observations included the Western Sandpiper (250), Least Sandpiper (210), Pectoral Sandpiper (18), and Long-billed Dowitcher (30).
Our next Lake Apopka bird survey will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2011. I’ll send out a notice before the survey. Meanwhile, happy birding!!!
Pamela J. Bowen
St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street/Hwy 100 West
P. O. Box 1429, Palatka, Florida 32178-1429
ph: (386) 329-4870, Fax: (386) 329-4585
New Threats to Lake Apopka Basin
Several proposed projects in West Orange County have great potential for reversing the on-going restoration of Lake Apopka. After spending millions of dollars to purchase the former farms on the north shore and more millions in a long-term restoration program that is working, it is hard to believe anyone would be supporting the poorly planned projects that are now being considered. With recent changes in the regulation process, however, we cannot relax until we know these projects have been rejected and abandoned.
The worst one is a plan to build a commercial airport adjacent to the North Shore Restoration Area (NSRA), the 20,000 acre restoration of the marsh system which once made Lake Apopka the most productive fishery in the southeast. This project, planned by the West Orange Aviation Authority, has been discussed for eight years and is proposed at the sites of the existing Orlando North Airport and the Orlando Apopka Airport (formerly Orlando Country Airport), both near the NSRA. The new runway would have to service corporate jets so runways would have to be lengthened and flight patterns would have to be over Lake Apopka. The NSRA has always been a historic resting and wintering place for migratory birds. As the restoration continues, this area becomes increasingly important to millions of water fowl, wading birds and numerous species. We often see large flocks of white pelicans that fly at high altitudes. This poses a huge danger to airplanes — current studies show thousands of bird and aircraft collisions occur each year with many deaths. We have always planned to develop this area as an ecotourism center and we already get many birders from around the world. This is probably the only way we can attract some income to help offset the costs of restoration.
The second project we must evaluate carefully is the proposal to build a sewage sludge composting facility adjacent to Jones Avenue, very close to the NSRA.
GOOD NEWS! - August 29, 2011 - Lake County Commission Denies Sludge Factory
Citizen involvement counts - Join FOLA and Get Involved!
The proposal includes hauling tons of sewage sludge to the site each day, allowing it to compost and then
spreading the compost over the sod farm fields. Part of the reason for this project is current limitations being
imposed on the septic tank industry to stop spreading the sludge over pastures and other open land, partly
because of the nutrient loads, heavy metals, and other toxins which eventually reach surface waters. This
proposed project would necessarily drain into the lake and this would undoubtedly negate the progress we have
made toward restoration of the lake (not to mention the smell!).
The third project is now being considered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Agency (FFWC) which involves allowing hydrilla, one of the most aggressive aquatic invasives in Florida, to become established in any lake where it will flourish. This would be a disaster in Lake Apopka where nutrients are still high. A look at lakes such as Toho and others in Osceola County will show what happens. The County and State spend millions of dollars each year just to clear boat channels through the growths. In Lake Apopka we are seeing fairly rapid natural recruitment of eel grass, the most valuable submerged species in Florida, which was very instrumental in making this a valuable fishery and which was lost when massive algal growths prevented sunlight to penetrate the green water causing decline of the eelgrass. If treatment of hydrilla is not allowed, the eel grass will once again decline and the lake will become impassible by boat traffic. It will also increase the thick sediments at the bottom of the lake and spread downstream to the entire chain of lakes.
This project was proposed by a scientist at U. of F. who has always opposed the Lake Apopka restoration. It is my understanding that FFWC will hold a series of public meetings before it decides whether to impose a rule that would prevent on-going treatment of hydrilla.
Everyone who understands the magnitudes of problems presented by these proposals should do everything possible to help defeat them. Educate others, join FOLA (FOLA.org) for continuing information and stay updated on the issues. Advocacy groups are ineffective unless members are well educated about the science involved in the issues and then take action in the right direction. We are dealing with biological problems with political solutions so numbers of educated activists are critical and the more we have, the more likely we will be successful. Please do your share!
President, Friends of Lake Apopka
Good Comments From Apopka Festival
May 2, 2011 - The FOLA booth had a lot of traffic
throughout the Apopka Art and Foliage Festival in Apopka April 30 - May 1. Volunteers were encouraged by several
local residents who commented on noticing real improvement on the quality of water in Lake Apopka. Reports were
also given on recent fishing trips where nice size bass were the catch of the day!
Apopka resident Jessica Schilling (left) receives the winning raffle picture taken by local wildlife artist Mike Brinkley from FOLA vice president Mona Phipps. The raffle was presented at the FOLA booth at the festival. Jessica is a collector of Brinkley's art and was happy to have another picture to add to her collection.
Lake Apopka Joint Meeting a Success
April 21, 2011 by John Deam
A very good crowd of folks interested in the history and future of Lake Apopka enjoyed a series of talks describing the area from pre-historic times up to the present at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden on April 21, 2011. Well attended displays from the presenter's organizations offered background information for an hour before the show began.
Starting off, Greg Harding of the Florida Public Archaeology Network told us of finding evidence around the lake of pre-historic activity going back thousands of years and continued up to the earliest recorded settlers.
Kay Cappleman of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation then took over with the story of the rise and fall and rebirth of settlements along the South shore and the interesting history of many of the founding families.
Jim Thomas of the Friends of Lake Apopka (that's us) and Oakland Nature Preserve then took us through the history of the lake itself, from it's pristine condition when it was fed only by waters cleaned and filtered through surrounding swamps and wetlands, to the digging of the Apopka-Beauclair canal that lowered it's level and started the process of exploitation that resulted in it downfall. He finished with the story of FOLA and the Oakland Nature Preserve and their role of presenting a window on the lake area environment and it's progress for all to observe.
Alita Huff of the Central Florida Anthropological Society took the show forward with a spirited presentation on several digs recently conducted in the Oakland area by their group working out of the Oakland Nature Preserve. She enjoyed that they captured the interest of local citizens who joined them in their efforts. Tiffany George reported on her study of who was visiting the area and why they came here. She has discovered that a good portion of those she interviewed were international tourists.
Dave Walker of St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) then caught us up on the current status of the lake. The main source of it's problem of algae growth has been phosphorus from fertilizer, primarily in the water pumped back in from the North Shore farms over the years. Even after the farm buyout, because of the bird deaths from pesticide in the topsoil, the district has had to continue pumping rainwater back into the lake until the topsoil was remediated. Almost all this has now been accomplished by turning the topsoil under and a good portion of the area is flooded again. Already, the bird count there has surpassed anywhere else including the Everglades! He projects that by the end of 2012 the whole area will be ready and this pumping can be stopped. At this point, the lake should begin a marked decrease of algae and begin clearing up even faster.
Finishing up, Greg Gensheimer of Green Mountain Scenic Byway showed the progress of the Byway, now reaching from downtown Winter Garden to well into West Lake County and hopefully soon to include a loop trail all the way around Lake Apopka. SJRWMD has promised access through the reclaimed North Shore and all that remains is to connect with a link at each end.
FOLA again held a raffle for one of the beautiful framed prints by nature photographer Mike Brinkley, won at the close of the evening by Rick Pollard of Oakland. Offered his choice of 4 prints, Rick chose the St. Augustine Lighthouse photo to take home.
2011 Spring Fever in the Garden Good for FOLA
April 9, 2011 by John Deam
We had a very nice turnout of visitors to our FOLA booth at last weekend’s Festival in downtown Winter Garden. Many of them told us they had noticed the improvement in Lake Apopka over the past few years as the average phosphorus levels have been going down. They were all looking forward to seeing this continue We did have to explain to some how the water quality varies with the size of the lake as it shrinks and concentrates the phosphorus during dry spells causing a heavier algae bloom. One visitor said he was sailing on the lake again and several remarked they were catching bigger fish.
FOLA welcomed three new families to our membership at the festival. Pat Curry from Tavares, John and Debby Tagliareni from Winter Garden and Joe and Cindy West from Oakland are now helping with our efforts to keep the restoration going.
Chris LaVigne from Orlando was the lucky raffle winner of the beautiful Osprey, a large framed photograph donated to FOLA by nature photographer Mike Brinkley.
Nancy and I thank Paul Ek and his dad Charles and Stephanie Berry for coming by to relieve us at the FOLA booth and as always, we thank the fine folks at Bloom ‘N Grow Garden Club for extending us the invitation.
Speaking of invitations, don’t forget our big annual meeting coming up on Wednesday the 20th at Tanner Hall in Winter Garden where you will learn some of the history of Lake Apopka from 5000 years ago up to what is being planned for the future.
2011 SJRWMD Lake Apopka Bird Survey
We had a fabulous turnout for the January 2011 survey.
The group surveyed six transects including areas 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 9. The weather was sunny and cool and the winds were light.
The total number of bird observations recorded was 8,960 compared to 6,854 recorded in November. A total of 92 bird species was identified; 73 species were identified in November.
The largest numbers of birds were recorded on Laughlin Rd (3,018), Lust Rd (1,719), and Lake Level (1,650). The highest species diversity was recorded on Laughlin Rd (65 species), Hooper Farm Rd (59 species), and Lust Rd (54 species).
Red-winged Blackbird (3,957), American Coot (761), Turkey Vulture (559), Common Moorhen (373), and American Robin (351) were the most frequently observed species. Large numbers of Northern Harriers (259), White Ibis (179), Tree Swallow (160), and Red-tailed Hawk (157) were also observed.
Nine duck species were observed including Gadwall (1), Mottled Duck (6), Blue-winged Teal (135), Northern Shoveler (27), Northern Pintail (33), Green-winged Teal (11), Ring-necked Duck (16), Lesser Scaup (10), and Hooded Merganser (13).
In addition to large numbers of White (179) and Glossy (134) Ibis, large numbers of Great Blue Herons (112) and Great Egrets (130) were also observed. Plover and sandpiper species observed included Killdeer (139), Greater Yellowlegs (21), Lesser Yellowlegs (33), Least Sandpiper (12), White-rumped Sandpiper (2), Dunlin (30), Long-billed Dowitcher (52), and Wilson’s Snipe (14).
Rare or unique sightings for the area or time of year included the Northern Pintail and Dunlin.
Our next Lake Apopka bird survey will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011. I’ll send out a notice before the survey. I hope you’ll be able to join us then!!!
Pamela J. Bowen
St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street/ Hwy 100 West
P. O. Box 1429, Palatka, Florida 32178-1429
ph: (386) 329-4870, FAX: (386) 329-4585
Heritage Festival Report
October 31, 2011
First, let me thank all of you who helped at the Oakland Heritage Festival. It went well in spite of the nasty early morning weather. The Lake Apopka boat tours were a real success thanks to the tremendous efforts by Tom Johnson and Ron Sikes as well as our guides.
Our next meeting will be on December 1, at 5:00 P.M. at ONP. Please plan to be there—we have a lot to discuss. The hydrilla proposal is still moving forward and we really need to take a stand on the new evaluation criteria for water quality in impaired lakes.
If you haven’t completed petitions against the hydrilla proposal, please get them done ASAP. We really have to put up a good fight on this one! Some of you have done a good job getting signatures but I haven’t heard from some of you.
Festival Bike Winners
Loretta Satterthwaite and Bob Stamps
photo by Mike Brinkley
October 29, 2011
The $850 pair of Torker Alpental bicycles that FOLA raffled off at the Oakland Heritage Festival today were won by Bob Stamps and his wife Loretta. They were both there representing Audubon and Bob came by at least 3 times to buy another round of 6 tickets. It worked!
Stopping Hydrilla Control A New Threat to Lake Apopka
Dear Lake Apopka Stakeholders,
Attached is a petition addressing a potential problem in the on-going restoration of Lake Apopka. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is reviewing the current management plan for hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) which could include halting all treatment, allowing it to grow. FWC will determine the level of hydrilla management on a waterbody by waterbody basis “using a risk-based approach with input from resource management partners and local stakeholders”.
You, a taxpayer and a person interested in the restoration of Lake Apopka, are a stakeholder. A specific proposal has been presented for consideration which will terminate treatment of hydrilla in Lake Apopka in an experiment to see if it will improve habitat and help clean the water. The damage done by dense hydrilla and the lack of control treatments are well documented so we should reject any possibility this project might proceed.
Taxpayers have more than $150 million invested in this restoration project which includes 20,000 acres of marsh on the north shore that were destroyed by years of farming as well as the 31,000 acre lake polluted by fertilizers from the farms and hundreds of acres of forested wetlands around the lake. We are now seeing great improvements with a steady decline in the phosphorous levels. Water clarity and color are improving. Native eel grass has expanded around most of the perimeter of the lake and will greatly add prime fish habitat in the lake. We are also experiencing an increase in eco-tourism for birding and fishing and construction of a trail across the north shore, now in progress, will greatly add to the recreation value of the lake.
I ask each of you to take this petition, make copies and get as many people involved as we can. Take it to your neighborhood, church, club meeting, organization or any place else you can get interested people to sign. This is our best hope to convince regulatory agencies that we do not want to take any chance on compromising this restoration in progress. You may receive a questionnaire on the subject of hydrilla management. If you do, please make sure you return it indicating you oppose any management plan that does not include eradication of hydrilla in Lake Apopka.
Thank you very much for your immediate attention to this potential problem. Please return signed petitions as soon as possible to FOLA, P.O. Box 770355, Winter Garden, FL, 34777.
Jim Thomas, President
Background Information for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Position on Hydrilla Management
April 27, 2011
"Through rapid growth and expansion, hydrilla has routinely demonstrated its ability to impair ecologic functions and human uses of some of Florida’s largest waterbodies, forming dense canopies across thousands of contiguous acres in just 1-2 growing seasons after introduction or since the last control effort." With this quote in mind, please read this FWC position background and FWC Position and consider your Lake Apopka in 2 growing seasons if the current hydrilla control effort is discontinued!
For even more technical information on the Hydrilla problem see this June 15, 2005 “Hydrilla Management in Florida: A Summary and Discussion of Issues Identified by Professionals with Future Management Recommendations”. "The purpose of this document is to summarize the current issues associated with hydrilla control, outline the pros and cons of current control technologies, and discuss issues that impact or are impacted by current management options. Recommendations will also be made for developing lake-specific management strategies and for future research needs."
Archaeology At Home
Searching for the Real Florida in the Land of Make Believe: Historical Archaeology as Public
Archaeology, Orange County, Florida
Jason Wenzel and Tiffany George
"One of our major accomplishments was developing a partnership with the Oakland Nature Preserve, a nonprofit organization that was founded by local environmental activists, many of whom were directly involved with cleanup efforts at nearby Lake Apopka over the last two decades."
Read about this interesting ongoing local project on Present Pasts
Open House Winner
February 26, 2011
Oakland resident Holly Poyner won the framed photo of this purple gallinule by nature photographer Mike Brinkley in the FOLA raffle at the Oakland Nature Preserve Open House event Feb 26.
She was at the Open House with Boy Scout Pack 978 from the Presbyterian Church in Oakland where she is in charge of fund-raising for the scout pack.
They had a great day at the Open House and we let her know those beautiful birds are here at the preserve now at the end of the boardwalk in the pickerelweed