Johns Lake Tussock Issues

A.K.A. – The Floating Islands

     In April 2017, FWC toured Johns Lake with Habitat and Species personnel to see if associated marshes near the turnpike could be enhanced to increase their fishery value. On May 2, sites in the northeast side of the lake were picked for a vegetation shredding project with funding available in the FWC budget. At the end of May 2018, an FWC habitat biologist out of Eustis (Steve Crawford) contracted a company to open areas that had previously been too dense for fish habitat. The contractor used “barge-like” boats driven by paddle wheels. Attached to the boats were large metal circular “cookie cutter” blades that chopped the vegetation into fine particles that could be quickly broken down by bacteria. That project is now complete.

This project activity coupled with the high-water levels and storm winds, created a situation where some of these areas of vegetation (tussocks or floating islands) had broken free and had been floating around the lake. During the week of 10/8, FWC came back out into the lake with the “cookie cutter machine,” air boats and personnel to round up and get rid of many of these nuisance tussocks. 

     Next year, they hope to open areas on the south shore of the lake that have been “choked out” with the exotic torpedo grass. However, the FWC state budget next year is challenged by several projects in the southern part of the state that will take a large portion of their funding to complete. We will update the plans as more detail is available.