Commissioners updated on Lake Seminole funds, treatment solutions

Published 3:21 pm Monday, November 29, 2021

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On Tuesday evening, the Decatur County Commissioners gathered for their regularly scheduled meeting. Among the items on the night’s agenda was an update on the effort to clean up Lake Seminole; the commissioners were initially approached by Seminole County resident John Petrie at last month’s meeting, in the hopes of receiving a letter of support to send to Sanford Bishop. Petrie ultimately hopes to procure enough funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to clean and maintain the lake.

In the month since the last meeting, Congressman Sanford Bishop has issued a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Management and Budget, requesting $850,000 in the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget “for the management of hydrilla and other invasive species in Lake Seminole.”

“It’s the old game, back and forth with the Corps and politics,” Petrie said at the meeting. “The Corps doesn’t ask for enough, politicians can’t give them the money if they don’t get asked for it, in return they won’t give them more money than is necessary, so it’s kind of a tough deal.”

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According to Petrie, some progress has been made in the effort. The Corps has made plans to spray the weeds in Spring Creek, though that has pushed back to January, with Dr. Benjamin Sperry expected to oversee the process.

In addition, fish gates, which were originally designed to keep imported carp in a designated area, have fallen into disrepair, and the carp were never brought in.

“The fish gates were supposed to be done long ago,” Petrie said. “The latest contact with those people is, they’ll be here in February to repair the fish gates, the electronic issues in them will be taken care of. Brent has told us that he will order the carp to be delivered as soon as those gates are done, and he’s going to try to coordinate when they finish to put the carp in immediately after.”

Part of Petrie’s efforts has revolved around getting counties that have an interest in Lake Seminole to work together in securing the necessary funds and resources. The Commissioners suggested that Petrie approach Jackson County, Florida, as well. Petrie confirmed with the Post Searchlight that he will approach Jackson County about the issue.