St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Discuss Florida duck hunting with other hunters alike.

Moderators: hunt-chessies, badandy970, Belly up dux, Ichabod97, BigBend

St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby benjaminayoung » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:44 pm

FL duck hunters. I'd like your input on the status of the St. Johns eco-system. I'll explain. Over the past few years, I have watched the hydrilla, duck weed and lilly pads decrease from SR 46 to the head waters towards Melbourne. I've been informed that the city of Melbourne has been putting chemicals in the water to kill the "duck food" so that it doesn't clog up their water intake system. This action has had a chain effect that is driving away not only ducks, but local birds and non-game birds as well. The first question i have is, how far down the St. Johns is this happening. The other question is, has anyone told Melbourne that what they are doing is really messing up the St. Johns.

I've hunted the river for almost 14 years now, and this is the worst I have seen it.
Most Common phrases out of a duckers mouth:
Why couldn't you have been born a duck!!!
OH S*&T, DUCKS!
Damn tweedy bird, you about got shot.
There's a whole bunch of duc..oh wait, tweety birds.
I about turned this mosquito into a duck
I just got ate up
User avatar
benjaminayoung
hunter
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:05 pm
Location: Athens, GA


Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Belly up dux » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:54 pm

There is not much eel grass left in areas it used to be thick. Mostly due to weed killer on lawns running off into the river.
Belly up dux
State Moderator
 
Posts: 687
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:11 pm
Location: Lost in N.Fl.

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby jeepfreak304 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:27 pm

Raised and graduated from Merritt Island High and hunted St. John's in the 70's when there were literally "clouds" of blue wing teal and enough mottled ducks to make you drool. I have watched that precious place dwindle to nothing and it has been dead for years now. Glad to know someone knows what the heck is going on out there as it was a mystery to me. It's a shame what is happening to habitat all over Florida. I tell people how many ducks used to be on the St. John's and they look at you like you are a crazy man. Hope it comes back, but it will be a long fight to do it.
jeepfreak304
hunter
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:54 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Marc 99 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:25 pm

BJY,

I, like you have seen this habitat go down hill over the years and I've been here for a very long time.

Let me ask you and everyone else, would you support a mail in (email) to the various legislators and agencies to TRY and turn this around?

The area I'm primarily concerened about is in the area of Lakes Woodruff, Dexter and Tick Island Mud lake.

I don't know which agency (yet) is spraying these areas but they are burning it up from bank to bank. Appoximately four years ago there were tens of thousands of ringbill and a few other species in these areas and the fishermen like to have some hydrilla. Plus the hydrilla cleans the water which should get it by the environmentalist.

Please you and others please respond to this so I can get a feel for how much support it has.

Thanks,

Marc

P.S. By the way your name is waaaay to long.
Marc 99
hunter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby waterdogds » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:27 pm

This seems to be a state wide problem. Cut off the head to cure the headache right. One lake that unfortunately catches a lot of the city's runoff, which I guess has a lot of nitrogen in it, causes the aquatic grasses and weeds to grow rapidly. Well they poison the dang lake every few years and when the weeds leave so do the ducks. Older hunters tell me stories about this lake and how every year ducks of every kind could be found on this lake as well as others in our area. Kind of makes you wonder what significant changes have contributed to the lack of variety and numbers the old guys talk about. I sure wish something could be done to stop this. But unfortunately the ones making the call to spray think that its what's necessary and don't consider the wildlife. :mad:
"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." Thomas Jefferson
User avatar
waterdogds
hunter
 
Posts: 1916
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:45 am
Location: Sopchoppy, Florida

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Marc 99 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:00 pm

I got an email from the FW lady (can't remember her name) that is in charge of hydrilla spraying but it seems the ACOE are doing the spraying in my area and she has no idea what they are doing. The ACOE are supposed to spray floating vegitation only but in the lakes I mentioned they burned up everything. If you know anything about the ACOE track record it isn't good. I've got an idea that they are contracting this so the more tanks they spray the more they get paid. Or worse, we have an anti directing these spray programs. I will keep discussing this with the FW lady for now and ramp up if needed.

This effort is mainly directed toward the ST. Johns basin as everything south is being closely watched by United Waterfowlers. Hopefully if needed we can get them,Bass Masters and the everyday Joe who fishes these waters out of the local fishcamps on board with this.

We need to be a strong voice like the anti's to get this done.

Marc
Marc 99
hunter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby BigBend » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:33 pm

Who do we need to email? Can you post up the email address so us members can fire off a few emails? The site traffic has picked up and I hope that non members would email too. I've spent some time on the at johns near Melbourne although I normally don't hunt it.
BigBend
State Moderator
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:23 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby rummya87 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:55 pm

I don't really spend a lot of time on the upper st johns but I can tell you this... remember that hydrilla is an INVASIVE species hence why it is sprayed. The fact that ducks love and eat it does not necessarily make it good for the native vegetation that is supposed to be growing in our waters. Ecological restoration to "pristine" levels is the ultimate goal of FLDEP and FWC, and getting rid of hydrilla will be a never ending battle to this end. Remember also that the ACOE is balancing an enormous number of interests in water at any given moment and hunting may not be a priority sometimes, although we would like to see it a priority all the time. Whats good for us isn't NECESSARILY good for the habitat, just most of the time it is. These statements do not apply to any native vegetation that has incidentally or collaterally been taken by hydrilla spraying.
rummya87
hunter
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:03 am

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Catfish_Hunter » Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:06 pm

it's not just happening there it's all over the state. I understand its invasive but they're not just killing the hydrilla when they spray they're killing everything. For the past 5 years on my local lake they've been non stop spraying and harvesting the weeds with the big paddle wheel things. This creates a nasty muck bottom and ruins all the cover for fish and food for other animals. Between that and the water levels it seems we can't get a break. SwFWMD would rather let all the water run into the gulf rather than repairing there dykes and levees and keeping the water level up.
Catfish_Hunter
hunter
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:19 am
Location: Martin County NC

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Marc 99 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:41 am

All,

Below is a link to the information on who to contact at Fish and Game about hydrilla spraying:

http://www.unitedwaterfowlersfl.org/for ... hp?t=19532

rummy87 as far as hydrilla being an invasive species yes you are correct....But why not control it to make both duck hunters and fishermen happy, clean up nutrients in the water, use less chemicals (less cost).

In 2007 and before Fish and Game sprayed appoximately 70% of the lakes center and a channel in and out and the duck hunting was amazing. This weed is also allowed to grow in the Stormwater Treatment Areas (STA) down south to filter the water prior to allowing it into the Glades. If it is good there then why isn't it good here?? By leaving 30% here it would increase the STA's in the St. Johns basin.

I have thought about this alot and honestly I can't think of a bad thing about having hydrilla in a controlled situation not burned up from bank to bank.

Guys please contact Ms. Hill and express your concerns.

Marc
Marc 99
hunter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Marc 99 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:53 am

IMPORTANT UPDATE,

The person to contact is Kelli Gladding at 321-246-0505. She is the biologist in charge of aquatic plants.

Marc
Marc 99
hunter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Marc 99 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:02 pm

All,

I talked to Kelli on the phone and she told me that the reason there is very little (scattered) hydrilla in the Dexter and Woodruff area is because of high water between 07 and 08.

She was very polite on the phone and seems to really want to improve the situation on the St. Johns.

I honestly believe she is one of the good guys I mean girls.

Marc
Marc 99
hunter
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:57 pm

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby benjaminayoung » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:19 pm

Marc,

I know about the high waters in 07-08. Incidentally, my father was one of the engineers that built the lone cabbage dock area (on Lk. poinset). The dock was built to be useable at 12' above the water line. If memory serves me correctly, the water came to 11' above the normal water line. With that being said, hydrilla is very prolific and can reproduce in 4 ways; Fragmentation, Tubers, Turions, and Seeds. high water would only stop seeding. The same applies to duck weed. I find it very hard to believe high water levels are the cause, as the water lever for the past 4 years has been marginally above the natural waterline, and thus the vegetation should have come back. As other members have commented, what ever chemicals are being used, it is killing everything. it's so bad now, that when the water line rose and flooded over in Mims a year or so ago, it killed some of the non-water vegetation (area surround Seminole ranch) and has made it a little more difficult to grow small crops. This was not a massive flooding event either, and it should have brought sediments and encouraged growth.
Most Common phrases out of a duckers mouth:
Why couldn't you have been born a duck!!!
OH S*&T, DUCKS!
Damn tweedy bird, you about got shot.
There's a whole bunch of duc..oh wait, tweety birds.
I about turned this mosquito into a duck
I just got ate up
User avatar
benjaminayoung
hunter
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:05 pm
Location: Athens, GA

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby hunt-chessies » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:03 am

guys this is Standard Opperating Procedure thru pretty much all of the state. And honestly it's not all together a bad thing. Groups like UWF have been working for years to build relationships with the managers and operators in the various water managment districs as well as ACOE and FWC to build practices that help the ducks while still doing what muct be done. It's always an on going battle but in some areas its really gotten better and most people want to help find a solution.

If you all really want to get educated and want to make a difference consider joining groups like United Waterfowlers Of Florida. The more people in the group the greater power our voice has with these officials. As a network we need people in all areas to show up to the WRAC meetings, FWC meetings, Town Halls, ect.....

It's good to see people caring enough to talk about it!! good on you all :beer:
Proudly owned by "HR A hunters dream of Westwind JH"

I quote HNTFSH ****Hunting is a form of training but not the first wave of it. *****
User avatar
hunt-chessies
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 1314
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:44 am
Location: Jacksonville FL

Re: St. Johns Habitat Destruction

Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:59 am

Gentlemen,

Have any of you ever attended any of the SJRWMD RAC/WREC mtg's held in Feb (Vero), June (VIera) & Oct (Palm Bay)???

All the issues that have been mentioned in this thread have been addressed @ length during these mtg's over the last (10) ten years.

Here it is in a nutshell!!!

District nuked hydrilla on the Upper SJRM @ the same time the pennisula was in a wet cycle. The hydrilla died back & at the same time run-off from residential canals were dumping huge amounts of sediments into the system. The sediments flowed down stream settling in the deepers lakes. This caused turbidity, cutting off the sunlight that the native SAVS needed to grow. Also contributing to the problems was the sediment stays suspended @ the bottom, creating a muck that the SAVS/hydrilla can not root in. Repeat this cycle over several years & know we have an entire river system that nothing will grow in.

Several years back just prior to the building boom, USACE was going forward with a $14,000,000 million dollar project to demuck Hellen Blazes, Big & Little Sawgrass. The project got backed up due to Hurricane Katrina & once they finally came back around to it, the projects cost sky rocketed to $40,000,000 million.

Cost Prohibitive!!!

Melbourne "is not" putting chemicals in the water to kill SAVS becuase they don't need to since nothing will grow on the bottom of the lakes & river run.

The state has finally come to the realization that nuking the hydrilla has made it resistent to the cheaper chemicals & the more expensive ones are also cost prohibitive. FWC has now taken over all hydrilla treatments & is now managing it for example, like Lake Istopoga.

As DU/MARSH chair over the last (10) ten years, I can tell you that the staff @ SJRWMD are amongst the best people in the state to work with when it comes to waterfowl related issues.

I will say though if you have concerns or questions, pls attend these mtg's yourself & let no group or individual represent you in these matters.

Attend the mtg's in person & be heard!!!
"Don't take life so seriously, you'll never get out alive"

321-863-9182
Waterfowl-Alligator-Light-Tackle Saltwater Flats Fishing
Capt Jeff Kraynik
hunter
 
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:20 pm
Location: Florida's Space & Treasure Coasts


Return to Florida Duck Hunting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests