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Tuesday, October 18 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Education/Outreach. Stakeholder involvement as a central component to the management of a large mult-use aquatic resource.

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AUTHORS: Ryan Hamm, Eric Nagid, Craig Mallison - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

ABSTRACT: Orange Lake is a large (5,000 ha) and shallow (mean depth 1.7 m) eutrophic water body located in Alachua County, Florida which presents a unique set of management challenges. Orange Lake is renowned for its high-quality bass fishing and rural setting, but also experiences drastic water level fluctuations which cause habitat shifts, habitat degradation, and creates conditions suitable for the formation of floating vegetation (tussocks) which can impede access. In order to identify and evaluate the effects of habitat enhancement projects, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) developed habitat management guidelines which utilized aerial mapping and GIS analysis to quantify habitat value for focal fish and wildlife taxa. Using habitat target ranges and a relative habitat value for eight focal taxa, biologists identified potential management projects. As dynamic as Orange Lake is, its stakeholder’s range of desires are equally variable. Besides habitat quality and access, stakeholders are also concerned with nutrient levels, impacts to groundwater, environmental impacts of management techniques, etc. To best manage this system FWC had to incorporate stakeholder input into future plans. Therefore, FWC hired an outside contractor to guide stakeholder outreach, facilitate meetings and provide writing services on a habitat management plan that utilized stakeholder input upfront. Input was attained through four public meetings, interviews with stakeholders that represented various interests, and online surveys. This information was used to draft a management plan that will inform FWC’s actions on Orange Lake for the next 5 years.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am

Attendees (3)