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Old 09-01-2015, 02:41 PM
Esteban Esteban is offline
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ATTENTION!! - Lake Okahumpka Users

This is a notice to anyone that hunts or fishes on Lake Okahumpka. The FWC will be starting up a major habitat enhancement project out there and has asked me to get the word out to all the duck hunters in this area. This project will involve using a cookie cutter machine to come in and chop up significant amounts of floating vegetation and tussocks in an effort to increase the amount of useable open water on the lake.

This project will ultimately remove significant amounts of tussocks and floating vegetation that currently blanket portions of the lake rendering those areas virtually unusable. It will be very beneficial to the lake and anyone that uses it as it will open up more areas to hunt and fish as well as help to promote the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation, something that both duck hunters and fishermen agree is essential to their respective sports.

This project has been in the pipeline for several months, however it has taken until now to get the necessary permits to move forward with it. How will this affect the duck hunting season? The plan is to start work immediately then suspend all activities on the lake 1 week prior to early Teal season and resume immediately after early Teal season ends. Subsequently, work will continue throughout October but once again all activities will be suspended, this time 2 weeks prior to the Saturday opener before Thanksgiving,. During the split itís possible there will be some construction work done, however that is done only as conditions deem it necessary and will stop before the second split opens. Once the second split starts, construction will not start up again until after the youth hunt weekend in early February. Iíve attached a calendar of the construction schedule for reference.







Iíve also attached a photo of the lake with the project work areas highlighted. The initial work will be starting tomorrow (Saturday), it will be in one of the 2 larger areas, and it will affect only a portion of that particular area. The plan is for the work to be done between the shoreline and the line of cattails out in open water in an effort to contain whatever shredded material there will during this initial phase of the project. There will be no restrictions and all areas of the lake will be open for both the early Teal season as well as the regular duck hunting season.



To be clear, this does not involve spraying or chemical treatments of existing submerged vegetation, this effort is aimed at removing the floating vegetation and tussocks that currently plague the lake and create more open water and marsh while promoting the growth of beneficial submerged vegetation necessary for a healthy lake/marsh ecosystem.

The FWC has done a lot of good for the duck hunters in this state, much of which goes unnoticed, and they continue to do more when and where they can. For all their efforts on our behalf we owe them our thanks. Feel free to ask questions about this project, either here or directly to the FWC man in charge of this project (contact information listed below) and weíll do what we can to answer them as best we can. Thanks.

Steve

FWC Project Supervisor:
Bruce V. Jaggers
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement
601 W. Woodward Ave.
Eustis, FL 32726
352-800-5024; Cell: 352-516-0122
bruce.jaggers@MyFWC.com
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Originally Posted by duckbone:
QUOTA PERMITS...the root of all evil in florida hunting.
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Old 09-03-2015, 04:44 PM
Esteban Esteban is offline
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Re: ATTENTION!! - Lake Okahumpka Users

Here's an update on this project. This afternoon I talked to the FWC person in charge of this and he informed me that conditions on the lake have been very good and the contractor has been making much better progress than expected. The initial plan for this first phase, or first cut, was that the contractor would get through a large portion of only one of the larger areas before suspending operations on the 11th or 12th for the early Teal season.

However, due to a combination of things it has been going so well and so rapidly they now expect they can get their first phase or first cut through all the targeted sections by the end of next week. What that means is that it's likely that all the targeted sections that were formerly covered with floating mats of vegetation will now be areas of shredded organic material with some pockets of open water mixed in.

You should be able to access these areas with a boat and motor, however be aware that navigation through this shredded material will likely be very difficult for those using outboard motors. Those running mud motors should not have as much trouble but should still take caution running through this stuff.

Most, if not all of this shredded material should be contained between the shoreline and the rows of cattails growing offshore, but some could find it's way out to the open lake so keep an eye out while boating out there.
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Originally Posted by duckbone:
QUOTA PERMITS...the root of all evil in florida hunting.
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2015, 01:24 PM
Esteban Esteban is offline
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Re: ATTENTION!! - Lake Okahumpka Users

Here's another update from FWC on the Lake Okahumpka project. The project is well ahead of schedule and there is a lot more shredded material out there at this time than was originally thought. As a result of this there could be some minor navigational issues. This was sent to me on Tuesday, the 8th of September.

Quote:
Contractors have finished initial 2 cuts on all 6 work areas and will be stopping work by noon tomorrow (Sept. 9) until after early teal/wood duck hunt. Due to volume/weight of shredded material plus direction of wind some of the shredded material has escaped containment on the backside of Work Areas 3 and 4. See the JPEG map below showing the 2 primary locations where blockage of the boat trail exists.

Contractor will make a final pass down the boat trail behind Work Area 3 tomorrow to make it more passable. Mud motors should be able to navigate through this area but I would not recommend trying to run an outboard motor through the area. The area behind Work Area 4 is a more severe blockage and I would not recommend trying to pass through even with a mud motor. The wind and weight of material moved the whole containing wall of cattail/tussocks and pushed it into the boat trail. In talking with the contractor we decided NOT to try and open this up as doing so would just let more of the shredded material escape and cause a bigger mess.

So, scouting parties and hunters can get from the ramp around the western boat trail to the gazebo but cannot get down the boat trail further. People can go to the other end of the boat trail (over by Continental Country Club canal) and get behind the vegetation until they hit that same blockage area.

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Originally Posted by duckbone:
QUOTA PERMITS...the root of all evil in florida hunting.
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2015, 06:14 AM
Esteban Esteban is offline
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Re: ATTENTION!! - Lake Okahumpka Users

I'm bumping this back up to the top as I have another update on FWC regarding the status of this project. Here's the body of the message on this project:

"Contractors finished up phase 2 work on Oct 23. Contractors may go back one day during week of Nov 9 or week of Nov 30 to perform some touch up work. The blockage behind Work Area 3 has been cleared up and is navigable by an outboard motor now. However, winds blowing shredded material have created additional blockage behind Work Area 4 (see attached map). I do not suggest trying to get through this area even with a mud motor. Hunters can still get behind the heavy vegetation east of this blockage by accessing the trail over by Continental Country Club. This trail is navigable until the blockage area is reached.

Hunters can access the work sites but be aware there may still be areas of heavy mud/shredded vegetation in some spots in the work areas. Prevailing winds may relocate some of this material within a work area on any given day."


 photo Okahumpka Work Areas_Phase 2_zpsrf1lsq9p.jpg

There's also word that the Ringnecks have started to show up on the lake which is a good sign. Hopefully with the newly opened areas there will be more room and less crowding for hunters.

Steve
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Originally Posted by duckbone:
QUOTA PERMITS...the root of all evil in florida hunting.
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