News Releases

Public meeting to provide updates on snail kites, Kissimmee Chain invasive-plant management

News Release

Monday, April 25, 2011

Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426

Updates on snail kites and invasive-plant management on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is the focus of a public meeting in Kissimmee on Thursday, April 28, from 10 a.m. until noon. The meeting will be on the fourth floor of the Osceola County Commission Chambers in the Administrative Building at 1 Courthouse Square.

The meeting will be Webcast simultaneously at www.osceola.org/meetingsportal/265-10013-0/county_meetings.cfm for those unable to attend.

This is a dual-purpose meeting. It will provide updates on recent invasive-plant control measures by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District on lakes in the Kissimmee Chain.

The FWC, the South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Florida will present information on hydrilla management activities, herbicide monitoring reports and an update on snail kite nesting activity. There will also be a presentation by ReMetrix on Lake Tohopekaliga vegetation mapping.

This meeting is also a follow-up to previous public meetings where the FWC and partner agencies updated and answered questions from the public on the hydrilla treatment program implemented last November. This adaptive treatment approach is designed to help protect the endangered Everglade snail kite by increasing the bird's access to its food source, namely apple snails, while recognizing the needs of recreational and business interests at the lake.

The kite has lost most of its historic nesting and feeding habitat in South Florida because of drought and floods, and in the past few years many have moved north to Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho, for short).

In October, at the first meeting held by the FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the new treatment plans, biologists detailed how hydrilla provides a food source and a structure on which apple snails climb to the surface of the water, where Everglade snail kites can eat them. Abundant hydrilla and apple snails make Lake Toho one of the best areas in the state for snail kites to find plenty of food and to nest.

As a result, the FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been taking extra precautions when controlling hydrilla in Lake Toho this winter and spring to help the dwindling population of snail kites. These agencies are working with stakeholders to balance the needs of this endangered species with the needs of the people and businesses that use the lake or depend on it for their income.

For more information on the meeting, please contact Ed Harris at 407-858-6170.



FWC Facts:
Sea turtles range in size from the 75- to 100-pound Kemp’s ridley to the 1,300-pound, 8-foot-long leatherback.

Learn More at AskFWC