Spraying of Taylor Creek Produces a Huge Fish Kill.

September 28th, 2001- Lake Okeechobee

On Wednesday September 26th, the fish that lived in Taylor Creek just thought it was another cloudy, rainy day in their life. Little did they know that the Corps of Engineers was about to wipe their habitat out by spraying of the grasses in the small creek that flows into Lake Okeechobee on the northern most part of it's shores.

By Friday September the 28th, as seen in the pictures, most of the fish in the canals had succumbed to the chemical warfare the Corps had delivered on them. Not just a few small fish, rather every fish that swam in the water died in a period of two days.

With Lake Okeechobee still struggling to recover from years of high water levels produced by SFWMD's refusal to dump waters from the lake, this kind of irresponsible action could tip the scales towards the negative very quickly. It seems that the Corps of Engineers can not stand to see anything green even close to the water, let alone in it.

Though some minor spraying of noxious weeds and other non-native grasses sometimes becomes necessary to keep water ways open, there are guidelines to when and where. It is the ignoring of these rules of application that produce fish kills. It is well known that spraying on cloudy days will cause a depletion of oxygen in the area of the spraying. Certainly on September the 26th, with a forecast of heavy rains, it could not be assumed there would be any sunshine, yet the spraying continued by the contractors hired by the Corps of Engineers.

This incident was constrained to the canals and waters of the Taylor Creek area which flows into Lake Okeechobee. With miles and miles of newly flooded grass on the main lake starting to die from being covered by water, there stands a chance to see a major fish kill on the big lake if spraying is done around its shoreline.

SFWMD's, John Morgan, was the only agency available for comment on Friday, and he stated they had nothing to do with the spraying, that the Corps of Engineers were the ones responsible for the contractors that actually do it. I will be contacting the Corps of Engineers and FWC with this information on Monday and ask for an explanation of why the spraying was conducted during cloudy weather conditions.

Thanks to Virginia and Harvey Ford, who live on Taylor Creek, for their pictures and documentation of this fish kill. As of September the 29th, the Ford's reported even more fish dying along the creek and canals.