Deer Point drawdown considered a success

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 7:10 PM CST
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SOUTHPORT, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Deer Point Reservoir, the main source of drinking water for thousands of area residents, is drawn down every year in winter. While some winter fishermen may find it more inconvenient to launch their boats during the colder months as a result, those same fishermen are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the process, as it is done to help the sportfish population.

“I make a request to the county based on the percent cover of aquatic vegetation in the reservoir in the shallow (littoral) areas,” said Chris Paxton, FWC Regional Fisheries Administrator for Northwest Florida. “That’s for the reason of improving sportfish spawning habitat.”

The other purpose of the drawdown is to allow submerged soil to release minerals, which are beneficial to the fish themselves.

“The drawdown, by exposing it (the soil) to cool, dry air and freezing temperatures, the freezing temperatures can knock back the aquatic vegetation,” Paxton said. “The cool winter air can of course speed up the drying process and expose the mineralized soil, which is needed by sportfish to mate and spawn in.”

This year, the drawdown occurred just a few days before a major cold front back in December and was drawn down a whole foot more than usual. FWC hopes that this could result in some of the most successful drawdown effects yet.

“We captured those freezing temperatures that increased the exposure for the shoreline areas,” said Paxton. “So that hasn’t been done before and I think will be very beneficial.”

The drawdown concluded on February 28.

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