Bad Plants

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

Florida's lakes and rivers are great places of recreation, but when they are mismanaged they can become a threat to and a health risk.

In a Jackson County lake an exotic plant has made itself at home and is harming the native population.

Part of Lake Seminole was once a place for water skiing and other recreation before it was taken over by aquatic plants like hydrilla and parrot feather. The plants take oxygen from the water, killing the fish.

The lake weeds are also a hazard to boat engines.

Henry Jones, who lives on Lake Seminole, says, "My boat has been in here for a good while with the motor up. The material is growing right to the door, except where there is less sunlight inside."

Henry Jones says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has neglected part of the lake. He and his neighbors want them to do something.

"Our petition is for them not only to get rid of this mess that's in here now, but regulate this area and to treat it in a way so that it's a form of recreation up in this slew like the rest of the lake is."

Officials say they've been dealing with the hydrilla issue since the 60s and only certain chemicals can be used in an aquatic environment.

Les Bruce, USACE Program Director, says, "It's an exotic species, very aggressive for which there are no natural controls in the United States, and it got out of hand."

Eileen Mercer knows firsthand how out of hand it's gotten. She's seen the Corps of Engineers at work but is still waiting to see some results.

Eileen says, "Of course, they did spray something a few weeks ago, but as you can see it hasn't done anything."

Hydrilla reached its peak in 1992 when the Army Corps of Engineers treated 28,000 acres of it. People here don't want to see things get that bad again.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have plans to treat more than 2,000 acres of aquatic plant life in Lake Seminole this year.


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