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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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