Lake Tohopekaliga is one of the jewels of Osceola County and we like to see it stay that way. And we believe one way to do that is to keep the hydrilla in check.
Hydrilla is an invasive, exotic aquatic plant spread easily by boats throughout the state’s lakes and rivers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is trying to come up with a plan to take on the plant, but it’s facing demands from different groups that use the lake. So, FWC is trying to work a compromise between those concerned with the health of the lake, the health of fish and birds who live there and the happiness of the users. We urge people to support the agency to help come up with the best possible plan. There was a meeting set up last week in Kissimmee to get input from fishermen, duck hunters, snail kite enthusiasts and residents around the lake to get an idea how best to keep and treat the lakes.
Duck hunters want the grass cover, most fishermen don’t want it because it makes boating the lake tough in spots, but a few still do to provide a fish spawning habitat.
What we need is to come to a consensus and adopt a plan that everyone can agree on for the good of the lake. Sacrifices might have to be made as certainly not everybody is going to get what they want. And the problem is continuing to grow so FWC needs to establish an effective plan.
The consensus of many fishermen who attended last week’s meeting was that hydrilla has taken over and nothing else will grow.
At least one guide said Lake Toho is “so choked out” that tourists and snowbirds are doing their fishing in Polk County and the local fish camps aren’t as full as in years past. When they do try and fish Toho, they will start burning out engines trying to get through the hydrilla, they’ll go elsewhere, but not before posting on blogs or social media about it, he said.
That’s a problem.
So let’s hope an agreement on a hydrilla plan can be reached to benefit Toho to try to keep it a world-class lake for all to enjoy.