Low water levels have caused weeds to clog Orange Lake in Marion County, leaving residents and officials to figure out the best way to solve the problem.
Florida Wildlife Biologist, Ryan Hamm, said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission plans to use herbicides to kill the weeds, called tussocks, in order to improve access to the lake.
“The best option based on the time of year and the present situation is a large-scale application of herbicide applied by a helicopter,” Hamm said.
Physically removing the weeds would cost $2 million to $16 million, while spraying by helicopter could cost around $200,000.
In recent years, Orange Lake has had low water levels revealing weeds that would normally be hidden.
These weeds have caused boaters to become trapped and in need of rescue, Hamm said.
The potential herbicide is supposed to kill the weeds at the surface level and below, clearing the lake and improving boat access.
Casey Girardin, owner of Sportsman Cove Resort Park said three other fishing camp businesses on the lake closed due to the weeds.
Park manager Joe Lahaye said the overgrowth has greatly affected his business.
“We have people all the time come down and want to go out on the lake and all, but they can’t get out there,” Lahaye said.
Hamm said the FWC will be making a final decision about spraying the herbicides within the next few weeks.