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The Hydrilla Debate of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

The FWC, the state's lead agency for hydrilla control since July 1, 2008, faces a daunting challenge. It not only manages the spread of non-native hydrilla by spraying herbicides to maintain waterways for boating navigation and flood control. It also must consider the wants of Florida residents while keeping the best interests of wildlife foremost in its plans.

There is no disagreement that hydrilla has to be managed. But how it is managed creates passionate differences of opinion.   Hydrilla can be excellent habitat for fish, waterfowl and marsh birds like the endangered Everglade snail kite.  But unchecked, the non-native weed can rapidly overtake the entire surface of a lake, shade out native aquatic plants like eel grass and pickerelweed (also called flags), and lower dissolved oxygen content to hinder sport-fish growth.




 
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Greehouse Gas Feedback Loop Discovered in Freshwater Lakes - Up to 77% of the methane emissions from an individual lake are the result of the organic matter shed primarily by plants that grow in or near the water. This matter gets buried in the sediment found toward the edge of lakes, where it is consumed by communities of microbes. Methane gets generated as a byproduct, which then bubbles up to the surface.


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