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Lake Weir Habitat-Enhancement, Boating-Access Project Begins April 1

Florida Fishing News

In a couple of months, boaters and residents of Bird Island Bay on Lake Weir in Marion County will hardly recognize the place. Currently, the 45-acre bay is clogged with floating mats of vegetation, which is not optimal habitat for most species of fish and wildlife and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for boaters to access much of the bay.

But that's about to change. On April 1 contractors are scheduled to begin a habitat-enhancement and restoration project that will clear about 28 acres of vegetation and tussocks from the bay. The remaining 17 acres, which consists of three separate habitat types: woody vegetation, shallow marsh and a tussock strand, will be preserved to maintain a healthy diversity of habitats and species.

The project should take about two months during which time the canal that connects Bird Island Bay to Little Lake Weir will be closed to boating.

"We have three primary goals for this project: improve the habitat for fish and wildlife, improve the water quality and restore recreational boating access to Bird Island Bay," said Patrick McCord, project leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The material removed from the lake, also known as spoil, will be disposed of on Carney Island. The spoil is nearly 100-percent organic (mostly plants and muck) and will decompose rapidly once removed from the lake.

The habitat enhancement project is a joint effort of the FWC, and Marion County Parks and Recreation Department. It will cost $318,000, with the FWC's Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Section providing the funding.

Media Contact:
Patrick McCord (352) 516-1551 or Sam McKinney (352) 732-1225

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