Save the date for the 2021 Johns Lake Holiday Boat Parade

Save the date for the 2021 Johns Lake Holiday Boat Parade

December 12, 2021

Don’t miss the fun this year as we celebrate our 21st annual holiday boat parade!

Last year we had a record forty-four (44) boats participate in the parade and many, many enthusiastic parade watchers along the shores of Johns Lake. It was a great night for all and with your help, we’re ready to make it even bigger and better this year! A big thank you to Tommy’s Florida who was our sponsor for prizes last year! This year we are looking for additional sponsors.  Please contact Karen Quill at if you wish to become a sponsor.

We will publish more details on our website (see below) and Facebook Page (see below). We will include both the parade route as well as how you can register your boat to win prizes. Please keep an eye out for more information coming soon!

Facebook: @johnslakeimprovementassociation

See you on the water!!!

JLIA and Newsletter Name Change

JLIA and Newsletter Name Change

During the last Board meeting, we discussed the name of our organization and have decided to simplify and shorten the name.  We filed an application with the State of Florida to do business as the “Johns Lake Association” and it was granted on May 4th.  From now on we will use the new name. We also decided to change the name of the newsletter. The Association was originally formed when the lake was so low that it was taken over by cattails.  A board was elected to deal with the cattail problem. This is no longer an issue, so the newsletter is now called the “Johns Lake Association Newsletter.”

Hydrilla and Carp Control Update 7/21

Hydrilla and Carp Control Update 7/21

     Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) was planning to add five hundred (500) carp to Johns Lake in May 2021, but this has been postponed until Fall since the state fish hatcheries do not have enough large carp at this time.  They typically put carp in the lake every few years. One of the primary purposes of the carp is to assist with controlling hydrilla. 

     There is a delicate balance to maintain with the number of carp in the lake. If the population grows too large, they will eat not only the hydrilla but the important native plants as well, which could negatively impact the ecosystem of the lake. FWC monitors the growth of the hydrilla to determine how many carp to add and what frequency to put them in Johns Lake.  There used to be a barrier between Johns Lake and Black Lake to keep the carp out of those other lakes, but it is no longer in place, which allows the carp to leave Johns Lake. 

      After working with Orange County and FWC we suggested that the best approach would be to add carp to Black and Tilden Lake in addition to Johns Lake to help control their hydrilla and therefore there would not be a need for the barrier.  They agreed to start stocking carp in the other lakes as well and not install a barrier.  Great news!  The next herbicide treatment will be in the Fall since the treatments in the Summer are not as effective as in the cooler months.



At our January Board Meeting, we decided to form a few committees to break up the work and provide engagement by all.  The committees are Invasive Species, Boat Parade, Outfall, Mission Statement, and Marketing/Membership.  Here is a quick summary of each.

Invasive Species – Completed a conference call meeting with our FWC biologist on April 19th.  A lot of good information was shared.  The primary topic was hydrilla and carp. 

Boat Parade – The date was chosen to be December 12.  Additional planning will take place in the third quarter.  Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page.

Outfall – The study consultants have completed their work and a final copy has been issued.  We are waiting to have a meeting with the County Commissioner and the Town of Oakland to discuss the next steps. 

Mission Statement – The committee came up with four emerging themes to focus on, Communication, Education, Advocacy, and Recreation.  It’s important that we refine the objective and create a clear vision/purpose for the board.

Removal of Lakefront Vegetation

Removal of Lakefront Vegetation


As many lakefront homeowners already know, adding, removing or modifying the vegetation along the shoreline of Johns Lake is regulated by the state of Florida. These activities are monitored through a permitting process as part of the ”Florida Aquatic Plant Management Act” and the “Florida Aquatic Weed Control Act”, both are administered by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC).

A few definitions are in order:

  1. “Aquatic plant” means any plant, including a floating, immersed, submersed, or shorefront species, growing in, or closely associated with, an aquatic environment, and includes any part or seed of such plant.
  2. “Aquatic plant management” means an activity designed to control the growth of aquatic plants so as to protect human health, safety and recreation and, to the greatest degree practicable, to prevent injury to non-target plants, animal life, and property.

Removal of harmful/invasive plant life is encouraged but it must be done properly and in most cases replanting of eco-friendly vegetation in place of the plants removed is required.   This is necessary to strike a balance between allowing lakefront residents to enjoy the benefits of a nice, aquatic environment along their shoreline while maintaining healthy standards for appropriate foliage around Johns Lake in general.  Part of the conditions of issuing a permit may be the requirement to replant specific vegetation to support a healthy lakefront.

Florida law requires all persons to obtain a permit from FWC prior to controlling, removing or altering aquatic plants in waters of the state unless the waters or activities are expressly exempt from the permitting requirements.


Permits are not required for waterfront owners seeking to remove non-woody vegetation and shrub species from fresh water bodies by physical or mechanical means along 50 feet or 50% of the shoreline (whichever is less) in order to allow open water access for boats or swimmers. 

This exemption does not apply to “Aquatic Preserves” or “Outstanding Florida Waters” locations.


With a permit you can remove exotics which will allow room for native plants to grow and expand. This ensures that you have a plan for managing your waterfront that will not harm the water body and help protect the investment you have made in it.  The work can be done through physical or mechanical means.  Removal by herbicides also requires a permit.

Physical Clearing of Aquatic Vegetation
Mechanized Clearing of Aquatic Vegetation

Proper management of the shoreline will also:

  • Enhance aesthetics
  • Improve food and habitat for fish and wildlife
  • Provide erosion control and soil stabilization
  • Ensure plants are present for nutrient uptake which will result in cleaner water

How to Obtain a Permit

Obtaining the right permit(s) can be challenging, depending on where a homeowner resides on Johns Lake.  A State FWC permit is required, a county permit may also be required as well as a city permit in some cases. Here are some guidelines but a homeowner should confirm and adhere to the latest requirements of his/her locale – (checking government web sites is one way to do this):

Orange County:

  1. You are required to obtain a state FWC “Aquatic Plant Management Permit (its free and easy to fill out the online forms)
  2. If you live in Orange County, but outside the city of Winter Garden (Oakland for instance), in addition to the FWC permit, the homeowner should obtain an Orange County “Clearance of Shoreline Vegetation Permit”
  3. If you live in Orange County, in the city of Winter Garden, in addition to the FWC permit, the homeowner should obtain the Winter Garden “Shoreline Alteration Permit”.   Note that this permit negates the requirement for the Orange County permit but not the FWC permit.

Lake County:

  1. Lake County has no local permitting requirement.  The FWC permit process for management of aquatic plants is all that is required.
  2. If you live in Clermont (within Lake County), there are no special permits required. The FWC permit suffices for homeowner aquatic plant management activities.

In the case of multiple levels of permits,  the homeowner must comply with the permit with the strictest requirements.

For the sake of brevity the general requirements of the individual permits will not be covered here and the homeowner must read and carefully adhere to the mandates.

For instance, Orange County requires that a permit applicant contact adjacent property owners to make sure there are no objections to the lakefront activities covered by the permit – this can be done by a “No Objection” form filled out by the neighbors.  Winter Garden permits require a Homeowner’s Association letter of approval if the property lies within an HOA managed subdivision.   The point being that the homeowner should not assume that the general requirements of one permit automatically satisfy another.

In addition, any of the permit issuing agencies may reach out to the homeowner for further information on the project.  The agency may make suggestions or alterations to the project, inspect the results of the project when completed and even take enforcement action if a project has failed to adhere to the permit guidelines.

Permit Assistance and Resources

Florida Wildlife Commission:

Obtaining an FWC permit is a relatively simple process and is free.

  1. Those homeowners wanting to fill out a permit online need to first register as a user on their website.
  2. Click on the text “Register New User” to the right of the User ID box.

If additional help is needed with the application it can be obtained by contacting Sharon Stinson at or by calling 863-534-7074.   An existing permit can be easily renewed through the same method.

Orange County:

If the property lies in Orange County the permitting falls under the auspices of the EPD (Environmental Protection Division) and the permit application can be downloaded and filled out for submission. It is called a “Lakeshore Vegetation Removal Permit”.  There is a $126 fee for this permit and it can be mailed in or delivered in person to the EPD.   Details concerning application, submission and requirements are on their website.

For additional information the homeowner can contact:

Environment Protection Department
3165 McCrory Place, Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32803

Phone: (407) 836-1400

City of Winter Garden:

For the City of Winter Garden permits a homeowner can visit the government office in downtown Winter Garden (300 W. Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787) or call the city (407-656-4111) or download the permit application online.


With a permit you can remove exotics which will allow room for native plants to grow and expand. This ensures that you have a plan for managing your waterfront that will not harm the water body and help protect the investment you have made in it.  The work can be done through physical or mechanical means.  Removal by herbicides also requires a permit.

Additional Considerations

  • If a lakefront construction project (seawall, dock, etc.) in any County or City includes, modifications to Johns Lake aquatic vegetation then a Saint Johns Water Management District ERP (Environmental Resource Permit) may also be required.

    More information is available at:

  • If a lakefront aquatic management plan will involve the removal of large growth vegetation, such as trees, the homeowner must contact the state Department of Environmental Protection in addition to the other permit requirements above. This may be done through the following contact:


Through the permitting process, lakefront owners can insure they are in compliance with the various government guidelines and that the aquatic plant management they are requesting is appropriate and beneficial for the lake and the resident.  Proceeding without proper permitting is a code violation and could result in serious fines, delaying of the project or having to correct work that was done improperly which will result in significant costs to the homeowner.  A government agency could require a remediation plan for the homeowner to correct discrepancies.

Let’s all work together to ensure that Johns Lake continues to be clean and enjoyable for many decades!

Lakefront Fertilizer Guide

Lakefront Fertilizer Guide

Many fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus.  Excess nitrogen and phosphorus are known to cause excessive hydrilla growth, algae blooms, fish kills, and other water quality problems. Anyone applying fertilizer in Orange County should understand how to prevent pollution from the nutrients they spread on their landscape.

Orange County Lakefront Fertilizer Ordinance Requirements

Orange County has regulated fertilizer application since 2009 to help protect our lakes, rivers, springs and groundwater. This ordinance was updated in 2017. Lake County has a similar ordinance.

  • Stores that sell fertilizer must display information about our ordinance
  • Never use fertilizer containing phosphorus (unless a soil test proves it is needed)
  • Never use fertilizer containing nitrogen in summer months (trained people are exempt)
  • If you choose to apply fertilizer with nitrogen, make sure 50% is slow-release nitrogen type
  • Keep fertilizer more than 15 feet away from wetlands and water bodies
  • Use a broadcast fertilizer spreader that has a deflector shield up fertilizer that spills or could end up on sidewalks, driveways, or streets
  • Keep your grass clippings and yard debris out of roads, gutters, and storm drains
  • Ensure your landscape contractor complies with the fertilizer ordinance, too!

You can buy fertilizer that contains zero nitrogen or phosphorus. Look for products that contain minerals such as iron and magnesium, or are labeled as containing, “micronutrients”. When shopping for fertilizer, please use the following helpful information that is found on the fertilizer bag:

  • Where to use the fertilizer (turf, trees, plants?)
  • Percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium
  • How much of the nitrogen is “slow-release” type
  • How much to apply
  • How much area your bag of fertilizer will cover
  • Which number to choose on your spreader dial

Required signage wherever fertilizer is sold

Soil Tests in Orange County

In Orange County, you must always get a soil test before applying fertilizer that contains phosphorus – all year long, not just during the rainy season. Contact the Orange County Agricultural Extension Service (also known as IFAS) for information about having your soil tested: 407-254-9200.

More Information


Together we can all help to keep Johns Lake clean and beautiful. Improper fertilizer application, over fertilizing, and fertilizing within fifteen feet of the lake shore or berm will cause long term problems.

Improper use of fertilizer is what caused Lake Apopka to become so polluted. So let’s not let this happen to Johns Lake!