President Teddy Roosevelt on Dec. 3,1907 said, “To waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it, so as to increase it's usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand to them amplified and developed."
I have seen the best of conditions in the Highlands County lakes and the ongoing public concern about the general deteriorating health of the water quality, wildlife safety, flora beauty, fisheries and the impact on real estate values impacted by the questionable chemical treating of the lakes.
Since the discussions have been going on for over a decade, unfortunately instead of being diffused they have escalated into hostility, distrust and people giving up trying to reach common ground on the future managing of the aquatic plants in Highlands County’s lakes.
As time has passed more and more questions arise that the public deserves answers to. Not by opinions, but facts that should be available to the public. Questions such as what chemicals in the past have been used to treat the aquatic plants in the lakes, as well as what chemicals are presently being used to control the supposedly invasive aquatic plants in Highlands County’s Florida lakes?
Has any of the chemicals used for spraying contained the chemical glyphosate?
If so, is the FWC aware of the fact that glyphosate has been banned in 14 countries throughout the world? Canada, France, England, Germany, Greece, Australia to name a few of the countries.
Is the FWC concerned about environmental impact that the use of any chemical that the labels recommends the users wear special protective clothing, eye protection, boots and breathing masks while applying the spray, which also recommends the clothing worn be washed separately and if you get any of the chemical in your eyes or on your skin causing excessive irritation you should call 911 poison center?
Is there anyone concerned about the injury the liquid spray and fumes of these chemicals is causing on baby birds in their nests, frog’s skin, alligator’s eyes, fish gills and freshwater shrimp that have to live in the fumes and liquids of these chemicals?
Is there anyone concerned about the destruction of the wildlife’s living communities, their protective habitat?
Does anyone care about the over spray destroying the nesting areas for ducks, birds, especially the nesting areas of the endangered Snail Kite Hawk?
Many people don't think anything about what being exposed to chemicals in the water, air and food we eat can do to them and is doing to them. unfortunately, they don't realize what impact this chemical exposure is having on them in many cases that will not show up for decades.
There has to be a better way, a less damaging solution, mechanical harvesters have been discussed and used on Istokpoga in the past, but some say they are too expensive, really? One must question the cost comparison of chemical treating where millions and millions of dollars must be spent year after year trying to control invasive aquatic plants in the lakes, an estimated $2.3 million of chemicals used just on the once called "Crown Jewel of Florida" Lake Istokpoga alone.
Harvesters won't take jobs away, harvesters don't present the problems to the wildlife that chemicals do, as well as providing a safer working environment to the operators presently operating the chemical spraying airboats where they have to use protective clothing and breathing filters.
All this controversy takes one back to the time of DDT and the devastating impact that chemical had back in the 1960s, one must reread Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” again if we really care????
Along with the controversy over the chemical treatment of lakes June, Huntley, Frances and Clay, the truth about putting grass carp in June as well as killing all the natural Kissimmee grass and natural wildlife cover in June, needs an explanation.
The whole story on grass carp needs to be told in regards to the serious damage to native fish populations in lakes they cause by out competing other fish for food and space as well as eating the natural aquatic plants in the lake which provide protective cover and habitat for all life in the lakes.
One must also be concerned about the negative impact the unnaturally large grass carp are having on the lake’s native plant filtering system for decades to come, causing algae problems.