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A license is needed to take fish from the lakes, regardless of intent to harvest or release their catch, unless the person meets the exemptions listed. Learn more about permits managed by FWC.
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In general, you can clear 50 ft or 50% (whichever is smaller) of shoreline to open water areas without obtaining a permit. In addition, if you live on a private lake less than 160 acres, no permit is needed. For areas larger than that, you can obtain a permit from FWC (Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) which allows for herbicide application done by a certified individual on lakeshores and in the water. There are some specific circumstances, such as conservation easements, where this rule may not apply. Always exercise moderation in clearing lakeshores as lakeshore vegetation plays a large role in lake ecosystem stability. For any specific questions please reach out to us at 863-291-5881
FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) has found that fabricating sandy beaches on lakeshores which are naturally vegetated in Florida causes adverse effects on lake health, such as increased pollutant run-off causing algal blooms and adverse effects on lake inhabitants (fish, shellfish, etc). A dredge and fill permit from DEP is needed to create a sandy lakeshore, as well an ERP (Environmental Resource Permit) from the local Water Management District (SWFWMD).
There are several nurseries in Central Florida that provide plants for lakeshores for wholesale. Some may require special arrangements for selling to residential customers. PlantAnt is a good resource for looking up local nurseries. Alternatively, the local UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Office is a very valuable resource for helping residents restore or promote Florida-friendly landscapes. In addition, the Natural Resources Division has a pilot Floating Treatment Wetland project from which aquatic plants are harvested and given away to residents periodically. Learn more about the program here, or call us at 863-291-5881 to be added to the mailing list when plants are available.
Any body of water, including smaller areas such as retention ponds, is a potential habitat for alligators. Like most wildlife, alligators have a natural fear of humans and are not a cause for concern. However, there are rare, exceptional circumstances where an alligator can become dangerous. If an alligator has been fed by humans or feels threatened then they can be aggressive. Alligators hunt during the hours of dusk and dawn so do not let dogs out on lakeshore property during these times. The mating season ranges from April to September in Florida, and it is best to be cautious of heavily secluded wetland areas, where they may place nests. If you observe an alligator exhibiting aggressive behavior or approaching humans, call the FWC Nuisance Gator Line at 866-392-4286. On City property, call the Natural Resources Division at 863-291-5881
If an injured animal is seen within City limits, please call us at 863-291-5881 and we will determine the best course of action. View a list of wildlife refuges that operate in the area (PDF). If a deceased animal is found on your property or a public space call the Solid Waste Division to coordinate appropriate pickup.
Florida-Friendly landscaping is a term that encompasses using plants and landscaping techniques that both conserve water usage as well as reduce the impact of residential and urban landscapes on the local environment. For information on Florida-Friendly gardening reach out to either the Natural Resources Office, the local UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Office, or the Water Conservationist with the Utilities Department.
The City’s Utilities Department has a Water Conservation program that can offer support in implementing water-conserving habits in your home to save money. There is even a rebate available for low-consumption toilets and smart irrigation control, pending availability. Visit the Water Conservationist page for more information.
Contact the Natural Resources Division Office as close to the witnessing of the incident as possible at 863-291-5881. Be prepared to provide details such as the location of the dumping, type, and severity. Natural Resources staff will investigate the incident and determine the appropriate action.
Outside of the rules for new commercial developments that require a certain amount of trees to be planted with each new construction, the City currently has no official ordinance or policy for urban forest management. However, if you have questions about tree care or removal City staff is happy to offer advice!
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