Prescribed burn scheduled for Lake Isabel
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3852
On March 21, residents in the Avon Park area may see a column of smoke rising from an area 4 miles northeast of the intersection of U.S. Hwy 27 and State Road 64. Weather permitting, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) fire crews will burn approximately 60 acres of invasive plants on Lake Isabel, targeting dense stands of cattails and other vegetation.
Prescribed burns on local lakes are an import tool used to reduce thick stands of undesirable invasive plants. The open area created by fire will promote the expansion of preferred native submersed plants such as eelgrass and peppergrass and of emergent vegetation like spike rush and bulrush. Prescribed burns also remove nutrients like phosphates from the system, which helps prevent algal blooms and related fish kills.
FWC biologists expect an increase in wading bird and fish populations when the desired plant species return to dominate the plant community. Improvements to the lake should attract anglers and wildlife viewers as well.
In lakes where a single invasive plant species is left to dominate, the value of the area to fish and wildlife is significantly reduced, natural water flow is restricted and navigation is impeded.
For more information on managing invasive aquatic plants, visit MyFWC.com/WildlifeHabitats and select “Invasive Plants” or call the Lakeland regional office at 863-648-3200.