Turnabout Try: Outdoor Groups Want to Reverse Lakes' Deterioration Trend

Dublin Core

Title

Turnabout Try: Outdoor Groups Want to Reverse Lakes' Deterioration Trend

Alternative Title

Groups Want to Reverse Lake's Deterioration

Subject

Lake Apopka (Fla.)
Water quality management--Florida
Environmental protection--Florida
Fishing--Florida

Description

A newspaper article published in The Little Sentinel discussing the formation of the Florida Water Quality Coalition, an environmental protection group formed in 1981. The article also discusses a meeting attended by members of various sport fishing organizations, environmental groups, and chambers of commerce in Orlando, where the group discussed the problems facing Lake Apopka. Finally, the article discusses a proposal by C. W. Sheffield to increase fish stocking efforts in Lake Apopka, helping to attract tourism to the area.

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.

Creator

Bennett, Elaine

Source

Photocopy of original newspaper article: Bennett, Elaine. "Turnabout Try." The Little Sentinel, January 14, 1981, pages 1 and 3: binder 1981, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1981-01-14

Date Copyrighted

1981-01-14

Date Issued

1981-01-14

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of photocopied newspaper article: Bennett, Elaine. "Turnabout Try." The Little Sentinel, January 14, 1981, pages 1 and 3.

Is Part Of

Binder 1981, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.
Friends of Lake Apopka Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Format

image/jpg

Extent

251 KB

Medium

1 newspaper article

Language

eng

Type

Text

Coverage

Lake Apopka, Florida

Accrual Method

Donation

Mediator

History Teacher

Provenance

Originally created by Elaine Bennett and published by The Little 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

Curator

King, Joshua

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

"History of Lake Apopka." St John's River Water Management District. January 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2016. http://www.sjrwmd.com/lakeapopka/history.html.

Locations

Categories