Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291; Greg Workman, 352-620-7335
Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/gp/myfwcmedia/U7337j
A 10-year plan for the Lake Tohopekaliga Islands Complex will be presented at a public hearing in Osceola County on Thursday, Oct. 26.
People are invited to the 7 p.m. public hearing at the Osceola Board of County Commissioner Chambers at 1 Courthouse Square, Suite #4700, Kissimmee.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff will present the draft land management plan for the Lake Tohopekaliga Islands Complex, and people will be encouraged to comment and ask questions.
The Lake Tohopekaliga Islands Complex consists of two islands, Makinson and Paradise, and two shoreline access parcels. Managed by both Osceola County and the FWC, the islands are in the northern part of the lake within the Lake Tohopekaliga Fish Management Area.
Many imperiled bird species live on Makinson and Paradise islands, including the wood stork, roseate spoonbill, Everglade snail kite, Florida sandhill crane, crested caracara, little blue heron and tricolored heron. The islands also provide habitat for the eastern indigo snake, a threatened species.
To reach the islands, people need a boat, but once they arrive there are opportunities for fishing, wildlife viewing and hiking. Lake Tohopekaliga is known for some of the best freshwater sport fishing in the U.S.
Another benefit for the public is the complex’s peaceful natural landscape and its proximity to the busier tourist attractions of central Florida. Native American history is also tied to the area. Makinson Island is believed to be the birthplace of Seminole Indian Chief Coacoochee, who was captured in Florida and relocated to the Arkansas Indian Territory in 1841.
“The Lake Tohopekaliga Islands Complex was purchased to ensure the preservation of fish and wildlife resources, other natural and cultural resources, and for fish- and wildlife-based public outdoor recreation,” said Dylan Imlah, FWC land conservation planner. “This draft plan will specify how we intend to do that.”
All lands owned by the state of Florida that were donated or purchased with public funds for conservation must have a management plan that ensures the property will be managed in a manner consistent with the intended purposes of the donation or purchase. Hunting and fishing regulations, and matters specifically related to Lake Tohopekaliga itself, are not included in this plan or meeting; those are addressed through a separate public process.
To obtain the land management prospectus for the Lake Tohopekaliga Islands Complex, contact Dylan Imlah at 850-487-9102 or Dylan.Imlah@MyFWC.com. Additional information on the upcoming local public hearing, management plans and their goals is available at MyFWC.com/Conservation, by selecting “Terrestrial” then “Management Plans.”
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