The first draft of the 2013 hydrilla management plan for the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is the topic of upcoming public meetings in Kissimmee on Sept. 12 and Lake Wales on Sept. 20.

This first draft was developed by the interagency working group and based on stakeholder input from written surveys and public meetings held earlier this year. The meeting in Kissimmee is from 6-8 p.m. in the fourth-floor County Commission Chambers, Osceola County Administration Building, 1 Courthouse Square. The Lake Wales meeting is also from 6-8 p.m. at the Lake Wales city administration building, 201 Central Ave.

The goal of this meeting is to present the first draft of the plan, answer questions and listen to comments.

“We have worked diligently to get input from everyone who has an interest in how hydrilla is managed in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to develop this first draft,” said Ed Harris, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invasive plant management biologist. “The stakeholders include business and property owners, anglers, hunters, bird watchers, airboaters and others who have a vested interest in the chain of lakes. We want people to get and stay involved.”

Public input from the wide variety of user groups on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, which includes lakes Kissimmee, Hatchineha, Cypress, Jackson, Tohopekaliga and East Lake Tohopekaliga, is critical to create a well-balanced approach to managing hydrilla and other invasive aquatic plants.

“This is part of our ongoing process that will maintain a regular dialogue with stakeholders about aquatic plant management on the Kissimmee Chain. We hope everyone interested in aquatic plant management efforts will attend this meeting and provide input,” Harris said.

The interagency working group consists of the FWC, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Osceola County government, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Florida.

For more details about the meeting, contact Ed Harris at 407-858-6170.

Logo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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