Invasive Plants 2019

Invasive Plants 2019

The lake was treated by FWC for Hydrilla during the week of December 13th. They applied herbicide to treat some areas but did not treat the entire lake. Some hydrilla helps water clarity. They plan to use a mix of herbicides and grass carp to keep in in check. This past summer the high-water levels kept FWC from treatments. FWC is on a pause right now pending upcoming public hearings on herbicide application.

In April of 2019 FWC plans to stock approximately 1,000 sterile grass carp. Grass carp stocked into Johns Lake that would still be alive in 2019; 1,000 stocked April/May 2015, 750 stocked Feb 2016. There is no way to accurately say exactly how many of those carp stocked are alive because we don’t have perfect numbers for stocking mortality (predation by largemouth bass when they are young, etc.). We are working to get better numbers on the natural grass carp mortality curve. From what some have observed, you start to lose 10-20% per year after age 6 or so. Most do not live past age 10-12. 

FWC agreed to stock an additional 1,000 carp this winter because of the way the hydrilla expanded so quickly in September. When you get the right numbers in a system you shouldn’t have to treat 1,000 acres at a time like we did in December 2018. This is no one’s fault. All systems are different, weather patterns are different, and the stocking of carp should always be in conjunction with small, sometimes frequent, herbicide treatments.

From an FWC perspective the lake looks great. We have good coverage of submersed vegetation. Water clarity is good. We are seeing an upward trend in our largemouth bass quality and noticing more ducks as well. 

Some hydrilla comments:

  • In general, the target is 5 carp per acre of hydrilla we want to control.
  • FWC doesn’t want/recommend we control all of it.
  • There is a huge down side to too many carp because it only requires low numbers of carp to control hydrilla, if you add too many carp, they will eat all of the hydrilla and other plant species that are important to maintain optimal water quality.
  • There are mechanical options for removal, but they are either too expensive, ineffective, or detrimental to the native plants.

In addition, FWC was treating the oxycaryum cubense or Cuban bulrush along the shoreline around the lake where they found it during the same timeframe. Other known problem plants are Torpedo Grass.



You may have noticed that in some parts of the lake we have an unusual algae bloom that has many of us concerned. We’ve reached out to Orange County EPD and FWC for input/feedback. Jim Sweatman from FWC, toured the lake and on February 11 and 12 to evaluate the issue.

He was on Johns Lake Monday doing creel and Tuesday electrofishing for bass. He did notice the algae bloom in the area we reported. They did not see that type of algae bloom anywhere else on the lake and in fact, the west side of Deer Isle that hooks up to the boat ramp cove did not have a noticeable bloom, nor did the north shoreline east of Johns Cove. They reported that they had a similar winter bloom on the west side of Clear Lake last year. It took a few weeks, but it eventually went away.

When we first mentioned algae they thought we meant filamentous algae. Filamentous algae are colonies of microscopic plants that link together to form threads or mesh-like filaments. While they did notice some  filamentous algae in Johns Cove and in a few places around the lake, it was not at nuisance levels.

Julie Bortles, OC Regulatory Compliance Program Coordinator has confirmed that OC does sample Johns Lake on a quarterly basis throughout the year. The last visit to the lake was February 14 and we typically sample the east and west main lobes. They will be looking at sources of nutrient pollution this year into the lake. You may want to visit the Orange County Water Atlas to look at historic trends in the lake. Overall, the nutrient pollutants look like they are trending down in a good way.

As mentioned, the areas north of Deer Island and south of Johns Cove appeared to the worst area. The rest of the lake is not impacted as much. Several comments at this point:

  1. The areas that are the most stagnant are more vulnerable.
  2. Many other lakes in Orange and Lake County are seeing the same thing right now.
  3. The recent treatment of Hydrilla and the resulting vegetation decay may have added to the issue by increasing nutrient levels.
  4. The water levels are unusually high for “dry season”.
  5. Water Quality test results show the lake overall to be in good health.
  6. Warmer winter water temperatures could also contribute to the additional algae.

Lake Levels

Lake Levels

The official recorded lake level as of January 2nd was 96.42

This is less than one foot below Normal High-Water Elevation. As you are aware this is pretty high for “dry season.”

As we’ve mentioned in prior newsletters, the outfall from the lake goes to Lake Apopka and the pathway is critical to control lake level. On one hand changes in elevation are very good for the health of the lake and fish habitat.

However, since this 39 square mile drainage basin must be capable of getting water out in periods of extreme weather, there might be some conditions that have changed that we are working to re-evaluate. On 2/19 we had a meeting with OC Commissioner Betsey VanderLey, Michael Drozeck Public Works Manager, Jeff Charles Drainage Project Manager, Mike Parker Town of Oakland Public Works Director, Steve Koontz Town of Oakland Manager and John Schmidt JLIA President to prioritize some of the issues we face on about the lake. We agreed that there is a need to update the Storm Water Drainage Basin data and particularly the flow rates. Some of the other issues we face are dependent on the results of this work and we cannot wait several years to get it done. Mike Drozeck will move this work up on the schedule and provide a timeline.

There is a Joint Planning Agreement that was signed in 2016 between Orange County and the Town of Oakland that also needs to be further developed around the “outfall ditch” to lake Apopka. The details around the specifics of who will handle the work, how easements will be obtained, who pays for the costs and so on were supposed to be worked out in three years. We are working with the various agencies to make sure our interests are taken in to account. This work is complex, will take some time, has budgetary concerns, and requires the updated study information already mentioned to be completed.

Public Hearing on Herbicides

Public Hearing on Herbicides

Date: February 26th, 2019
Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm
Location: Eustis Community Center: 601 Northshore Dr. Eustis, FL 32726
Several of the JLIA board members will attend and provide a summary.

You should be aware that as of January 28th, 2019, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has temporary paused its aquatic herbicide treatment program throughout the state. During this pause, FWC staff will work to collect public comment regarding the FWC’s aquatic plant management program. FWC will hold a public meeting at the Eustis Community Center to gather input about the program. 

Everyone is invited to attend to provide valuable input about the program. This has not affected private property owners permits and their contractors. The issues and possible chemicals in question however could be the same. 

Stay tuned.

Your New Board Members!

Your New Board Members!

We elected new officers for the Johns Lake Improvement Association in
January. The new board is made up as follows:

President – John Schmidt (Johns Cove)
Vice President – Rick Stuebing (Johns Lake Homesites OC)
Secretary/Treasurer (combined) – Ann Megler (Magnolia Island LC)
Communications – Jason Nadrowski (Johns Cove)
Martin Davis (Deer Island)
Don Hickman (Johns Lake Homesites OC)
Frank Dreano (Johns Landing)

     We are working on several issues and have plans to do a better job communicating, setting up a proactive website, and add value to our stakeholders. We’d like to be a proactive one stop shop rather than having you to reach out to all the various agencies, counties, towns, and so on.

     There are several examples of Lake Associations in the County/State that do a great job of this for their lakes. We believe that as the lake continues to be more populated with residences that we can also educate and provide valuable information to new or prospective owners.

     One of the immediate actions is to make sure we have a good contact list for lake and near lake owners who utilize the lake, so we may need help from HOA’s. We’ll certainly make sure the HOA presidents and agencies are kept informed. Please feel free to forward or provide added contacts for us. Let us know if you have any questions/comments.