Letter from Harold L. Moody to Lawrence E. Jerome (March 13, 1972)


Dublin Core


Letter from Harold L. Moody to Lawrence E. Jerome (March 13, 1972)

Alternative Title

Letter from Moody to Jerome (March 13, 1972)


Lake Apopka (Fla.)
Zellwood (Fla.)
Winter Garden (Fla.)


A letter from Harold L. Moody, fisheries biologist for the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, to Lawrence E. Jerome. The letter gives a detailed analysis of the history of pollution in Lake Apopka, the development of the Zellwood Drainage District muck farms, and the management of Lake Apopka's water level.

Lake Apopka is one of Florida’s largest lakes and was once considered to be one of the world’s best lakes for bass fishing. The lake’s sport fish population began to decline in the 1960s, with major die-offs occurring almost yearly. The lake’s problems are generally considered to be the result of over-nutrification from various sources. Twenty thousand acres of wetlands bordering the lake’s north shore were drained in the 1940s and used for highly fertile “muck farms.” These farms were routinely flooded to protect the fragile soil, and the fertilizer and pesticide-laden water was then discharged back into the lake prior to each growing season. Other sources of pollution include discharge from citrus processing operations, as well as treated wastewater from sewage plants. The nutrient-rich discharge promoted algae growth in the lake, turning the water to a green color, and blocked sunlight from reaching aquatic vegetation, which provided food and habit to the lake’s fish population. The lake’s bottom soil became increasingly “mucky,” also disrupting aquatic vegetation from taking root.

Restoration work on the lake began in the 1960s with attempts by various agencies to remove “trash fish,” such as gizzard shad, from the lake via seining, which would hopefully allow the lake’s sport fish to thrive. The Lake Apopka Restoration Council, an initiative formed under Governor Claude Kirk (1926-2011) in 1967, launched several studies to find methods to improve the lake, though no serious action was taken. Various methods were debated to restore the lake through the 1970s and 1980s, including “drawdown,” which entailed completely draining the lake to allow the mucky bottom to consolidate. Restoration attempts were stalled for lack of funding and research.

The Lake Apopka Restoration Council was reformed in 1985 under Governor Bob Graham (b. 1936), and, in 1987, the Surface Water and Improvement Management Act was passed. Together, these actions allowed comprehensive restoration plans to take shape, such as the Marsh Flow-way, a project by the St John’s Water Management District that uses natural methods to remove nutrients from the lake. The Friends of Lake Apopka, a citizen environmental advocacy group, began to push for further restoration efforts in the 1990s. The lake’s north shore muck farms were eventually purchased by the State of Florida, helping to reduce the amount of nutrient entering the lake.


Moody, Harold L.


Photocopy of 5-page typewritten letter from Harold L. Moody to Lawrence E. Jerome, March 13, 1972: binder 1972, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of photocopied 5-page typewritten letter from Harold L. Moody to Lawrence E. Jerome, March 13, 1972, March 13, 1972.

Is Part Of

Binder 1972, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.
Friends of Lake Apopka Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




1.04 MB


5-page typewritten letter on Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission letterhead






Fisheries Research Laboratory, Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission, Eustis, Florida
Home of Lawrence E. Jerome, Santa Clara, California
Lake Apopka, Florida
Winter Garden, Florida
Zellwood, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher
Science Teacher


Originally created by Harold L. Moody.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by the Friends of Lake Apopka and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project


King, Joshua

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

"History of Lake Apopka." St John's River Water Management District. January 28, 2013. Accessed June 05, 2016. http://www.sjrwmd.com/lakeapopka/history.html.


Moody, Harold L., “Letter from Harold L. Moody to Lawrence E. Jerome (March 13, 1972),” RICHES, accessed May 29, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/7513.