At the suggestion of Tom Morris I have been making regular stops at Heagy Burry Park during the months of April, May, June, and July 2012. This park/boat ramp is off Route 441 on the west side of Orange Lake near McIntosh. These photos provide a longitudinal study of a slime crime.
The following photos were taken on April 7, 2012. Note that the mudfish and catfish are still trying to stay alive by rolling in the slurry of mud gulping air.
The following photos were taken on April 21. At this point the mudfish and catfish are all dead.
The following photos were taken after the Silver Springs Rally on June 23rd. Note that the pigweed has grown to 12-15 feet high. (The muck at the bottom of the lake makes great topsoil.)
The following photos were taken after Tropical Storm Debby had dropped about a foot of rain in the area. (About July 6 and 8) Note that the water level of the lake is now up about 10 feet. Mosquitoes were eating me alive. Tom Morris is holding the white flowers, which are poison hemlock. In the last photo you can see the boat trail from when someone launched an airboat and headed out into the lake.
Compare the following photos (taken on July 28, 2012) with the previous ones. Note that the weeds in the middle of Orange Lake are beginning to turn brown. The vultures are gone. The water is not quite as deep. An air boat trail has been blazed into the middle of the lake. The water is scummier.
After the delightful bike ride with Kate Lee on October 7, I once again headed to the park to continue my study of the water quantity and quality of Orange Lake. While you can readily notice the higher water levels in the following photos, you can also observe a major slime crime in full force.
In the next 2 photos you can see a partly obscured airboat. For a discussion and photo of the efforts to “improve” the lake with the “muck monster,” check out the October 8 article in the Gainesville Sun.
After the Micanopy Bike ride on December 9, 2012, I once again headed off to Heagy Burry Park to check out the water levels in the lake. Note that the next two photos indicate a significant rise in the water level. An air boat could be heard in the distance.
After attending the FDEP workshop on creating a BMAP for the Silver River on January 23, 2013, I once again stopped off at Heagy Burry Park to check out the lake and take a couple of photos. While the water level was way up from last Spring, it was still 3-5 below levels suitable for docking a boat. While there, I bumped into Chris Bird, who also was checking out the lake. Below you will find a couple of photos from that visit.
Below you will find Chris Bird, one of his coworkers, and a local fellow named Jack, who are also checking out the lake.
Post by Dave Wilson
Photos by Dave Wilson