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Restoration of Lake Apopka’s North Shore Marsh: High Hopes, Tough Times, and Persistent Progress

  • Roxanne Conrow
  • Edgar F. Lowe
  • Michael F. Coveney
  • R. Heath Rauschenberger
  • Greg Masson
Chapter
Part of the Emerging Topics in Ecotoxicology book series (ETEP, volume 3)

Abstract

The story of Lake Apopka is a familiar one to many Floridians and has gained international notoriety. The 12,500-ha lake was once a world-class bass fishery. Then, a century-long decline occurred, traced to the loss of over 8,000 ha of wetlands to farming operations, agricultural discharges laden with phosphorus to the lake, treated wastewater discharges, and input from citrus processing plants. The state of Florida and the Federal Government purchased the property with the goal of restoring the aquatic habitat. Shortly after flooding in the winter of 1998–1999, a bird mortality event occurred, resulting in the deaths of 676 birds, primarily American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and also including 43 endangered wood storks (Mycteria americana), 58 great blue herons (Ardea herodias), and 34 great egrets (Casmerodius albus). The deaths of the birds, attributed to pesticide toxicosis, resulted in years of research and remediation to ensure the future safety of wildlife on the property. Presently, about 3,000 ha of wetlands have been rehydrated since resuming restoration activities, with no adverse effects to wildlife. The following chapter presents the history of Lake Apopka, the efforts to restore it, and what we have learned along the way.

Keywords

Trigger Level Restoration Plan Natural Resource Conservation Service Gizzard Shad Wood Stork 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

BGEPA

Bald and golden eagle protection act

BO

Biological opinion

BSAF

Biota sediment accumulation factor

CBC

Christmas bird count

CERCLA

Comprehensive environmental response, compensation and liability act

cm

Centimeter

DDD, DDE, DDT

Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

DOJ

Department of Justice

ERA

Environmental risk assessment

ESA

Endangered species act

FFWCC

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

ha

Hectare

HI

Hazard index

HQ

Hazard quotient

km

Kilometer

lbs

Pounds

m

Meter

m3/s

Cubic meters per second

MBTA

Migratory bird treaty act

mg/kg

Milligrams per kilogram

MOU

Memorandum of understanding

t

Metric ton

NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NRCS

Natural Resources Conservation Service

NSRA

North shore restoration area

OCP

Organochlorine pesticide

ppm

Parts per million

SJRWMD

St. Johns River Water Management District

TCC

Tower Chemical Company

USDA

U.S. Department of Agriculture

USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

USGS

U.S. Geological Survey

Notes

Acknowledgments

We appreciate and thank the many people, both volunteers and agency personnel, who assisted with the bird mortality event. For those who have dedicated their careers to protecting and improving habitat for wildlife it was a trying time. In particular, we thank Resee Collins and the Audubon of Florida Center for Birds of Prey, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Gian Basili, Julie Hovis, Marilyn Spalding, Jay Herrington, Karen Benjamin, Ken Murray, Elizabeth Mace, Steven Richter, Paul Ek, James Peterson, Bruce Corley, Frank Kuncir, and Harold Weatherman. The findings and conclusions in this chapter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the St. Johns River Water Management District.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roxanne Conrow
    • 1
  • Edgar F. Lowe
    • 1
  • Michael F. Coveney
    • 2
  • R. Heath Rauschenberger
    • 3
  • Greg Masson
    • 4
  1. 1.St. Johns River Water Management DistrictPalatkaUSA
  2. 2.St. Johns River Water Management DistrictPalatkaUSA
  3. 3.US Fish and Wildlife Service, North Florida Ecological Services Field OfficeJacksonvilleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Environmental QualityUnited States Fish and Wildlife ServiceArlingtonUSA

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