Reprieve in Offing for Dying Lake Apopka

Dublin Core


Reprieve in Offing for Dying Lake Apopka

Alternative Title

Reprieve in Offing for Dying Lake Apopka


Lake Apopka (Fla.)


A newspaper article discussing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants dealing with restoration plans for Lake Apopka. The EPA had previously pledged $1.5 million towards restoring the lake, with the funds to be used in a drawdown of the lake's water level. The EPA withdrew the pledge in 1971, citing the experimental nature of the lake drawdown method. In April of 1972, after a meeting between the EPA and the Florida Department of Pollution Control (FDPC), the EPA promised a $1 million grant towards the lake's restoration, provided that an ongoing study by the University of Florida (UF) shows drawdown to be an effective method of lake restoration. The article also mentions concerns by fish camp operators around the lake, who are concerned about the impact drawdown will have on their business.

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 sportfish 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.


Gardner, Jack


Photocopy of original newspaper article: "Reprieve in Offing For Lake Apopka." Gardner, Jack. The Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 1972: binder 1972, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1972-04-30

Date Copyrighted


Date Issued


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of photocopied newspaper article: "Reprieve in Offing For Dying Lake Apopka." Gardner, Jack. The Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 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.




335 KB


1 newspaper article






Lake Apopka, Florida
Winter Garden, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher
Geography Teacher


Originally created by Jack Gardner and published by The Orlando Sentinel.

Rights Holder

Copyright to this resource is held by The Orlando Sentinel 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.