New Chairman Stanley raises lake spraying issue

MOORE HAVEN — Buckhead Ridge’s representative on the Glades County Board was elected its chairman for the next two years Tuesday morning and signaled that he will press state authorities about spraying of aquatic plants on Lake Okeechobee that he’s been told is affecting wildlife to the extent that sportsmen have been complaining.

Tim Stanley told his fellow commissioners that he’s been hearing a lot of questions from constituents about the spraying of herbicides on the plant life along the lake’s western shores in Glades County.

“They’re wanting this board to pretty much come out and make a statement on the spraying of the weeds,” he said.

“The guys are telling me that they’re spraying everything in the lake, and all the weeds are dying. There’s no fish, there’s no ducks.”

He added he was not sure what all the different contractors are doing — “it’s not my job to know what’s going on all around the lake. But before I go jumping on anybody’s bandwagon, I want to be informed.”

Chairman Stanley suggestion was that the board invite state and federal agency officials to meet with them.

He said the opponents of spraying have asked to come and speak before the county’s legislative delegation when they hear local issues.

Mr. Stanley said when he worked for the SFWMD, “we fought and fought, even as a homeowner, to get spraying done because when I was a kid the canals in Buckhead Ridge, you couldn’t even get out because the water hyacinths were so bad. The Kissimmee River was totally plugged. So we can’t abandon spraying altogether, but if they’re doing something wrong, then we need to find out what it is.”

“I know we’ve had a bad duck season so far, and speck season is starting out pretty bad, so … the bass fishing so far seems to be OK but everybody’s pointing the finger because something ain’t right,” he said.

Commissioner Weston Pryor was elected vice chairman.

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