Deer Point drawdown begins

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "The weeds are really bad," Deer Point Resident Donald Robertson said.

In order to alleviate a weed infestation at Deer Point Lake, Bay County Utility Services and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are kicking off a winter drawdown, where they open the gates of the Deer Point Dam and the lake water gets drawn down from 5 feet to about 2.5 feet above sea-level.

"The drawdown allows us to reduce nuisance vegetation, allows for better boater access, it allows for the cleaning up of the shoreline and it also creates fish spawning habitats," Bay County Utility Service Director Benjamin Blitch said.

The drawdown results and duration vary per year.

"Last year, the drawdown lasted 100 days and was at a depth elevation of 2.5 feet. This year FWC has recommended that we perform the same type of drawdown based on the good results of last years drawdown," Blitch said.

Although the water levels will be lower than usual, county officials say an adequate supply of drinking water will still be available.

Some locals say they're glad drinking water will stay in supply but are concerned about seeing results.

"I've lived on the lake for 18 years and every time they draw it down, I don't really see no good that it does, but if they just let it go a little bit longer, let it get colder, and maybe drop it a foot or two, that may do it good," Deer Point Resident Donald Robertson said.

Others say they've seen the success first-hand.

"Way back, it had a really bad weed problem and the drawdown is a way to alleviate that," Former Deer Point Resident Ken Jennings said.

The drawdown is scheduled to last until February 28th.

County officials also say this is the perfect time for waterfront property owners to make repairs to their docks as the water level will be significantly lower than usual for the next couple of months.