Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007
The advantages of these strategies were two-fold. At least two basins were kept at full-pool through the project phases, thereby reducing the impact on recreational users. During the “harvester” project phase, work was conducted in all three basins under “high-water” conditions. During the drawdown project phase, work on the central basin, which receives the least fishing pressure and has no public boat ramp, was conducted in December and January when fishing pressure is highest. Work in the west basin was conducted in March and April as recreational use declines until summer. The east basin, which receives the greatest recreational use and has two public ramps, was kept high through the winter and spring. Secondly, basins adjacent to the dewatered basin were used to assist in basin refill after tussock removal is completed, thereby reducing refill time and dependence on rain for refill. However, drought conditions during and following the drawdown project contributed the partial dewatering of the east basin during refill of the west basin. Since 2002, the FFWCC, in coordination with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), Florida Department of Environment Protection Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, and Highlands County, have enhanced over 70 hectares, or about two-thirds, of the littoral habitat available in Lake Josephine through tussock and organic sediment removal.
Colonization and management of aquatic plants at enhanced sites has been monitored following each project phase. We have transplanted 500,000 aquatic plants (200,000 giant bulrush; 133,333 jointed spikerush; 100,000 Egyptian paspalidium; 66,667 maidencane) and 400
bald cypress trees. Invasive aquatic encourage recruitment of desirable
plants are plants.
also being controlled with aquatic herbicides to A long-term maintenance program has been
implemented to enhanced areas.
maintain desirable vegetation communities and prevent formation of tussocks in Although the program is being administered by the Highlands County Aquatic
Weed Control Project, Highlands County.
Expected benefits of aquatic habitat enhancement on Lake Josephine include:
Improvement of foraging, spawning, and protective habitat for invertebrate, fish, waterfowl, and wading bird populations;
Natural reestablishment of desirable native aquatic plant communities and increased diversity of plant species;
Improvement of water movement within littoral areas, allowing the flushing of accumulated detritus;
Improved access into littoral areas for recreational users (anglers, hunters, wildlife watchers, pleasure boaters, etc.);
Reduction of nutrient (phosphorus and nitrogen) loading into the lake through the removal and sequestering of organic material;
Increased aesthetic value for the lake.
Session 6B – Page 5