FWC restores aquatic habitat on Lake Istokpoga

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will begin aquatic habitat restoration efforts on Lake Istokpoga on June 4.

Thousands of aquatic plants will be transplanted into Lake Istokpoga to help restore this popular shallow-water bass fishing lake in Highlands County.

About 30,000 jointed spikerush plants will be planted along the lake’s western and northern shorelines. These native aquatic plants will serve as a valuable food source and habitat for many fish and wildlife species, including the Everglade snail kite, an endangered species.

The plants also will enhance the chances that anglers will be able to catch largemouth bass, crappie and panfish on Lake Istokpoga.

Later this month, the FWC will initiate another effort to help restore the lake’s habitat, involving re-vegetation of eel grass, a native submerged plant. The eel grass will be protected by well-marked metal cages that prevent it from being eaten during its first year of growth. Later once it is established, the eel grass will provide a food source for a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, wading birds, turtles, larger species of fish and apple snails. It has the additional benefits of providing structure for wildlife, including small fish.

The FWC’s aquatic habitat restoration project on Lake Istokpoga is designed to enhance the biodiversity of the native plant community in the lake’s shallow-water marshes as part of ongoing restoration and habitat enhancement activities aimed at restoring the lake.

For more information about this project, contact Carly Althoff with the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Section at 863-697-6323.

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