Green Monster Closes Beach at Wakulla Springs

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

It may have been the backdrop for the creature from the Black Lagoon, but these days rangers say another monster is taking over: hydrilla.

The slimy green monster just won't stop its attack on the springs, and there's not much to fight it.

Jess Vandyke, a DEP biologist, says, "We started hand picking, mechanical harvesting, bio control, insects."

The biologists created their own weapon of attack, a slow drip herbicide. It's designed to kill of the monster without harming the Florida plants or the people.

Jess adds, "We use a drip system to drip in a herbicide at two parts per million for 48 hours. It selects for hydrilla and leaves the natives."

Some in Wakulla County say it's time to stop fighting the weed and fight the source of the problem.

Jack Leppert, a concerned resident, says, "We have nitrogen rich water, and the nitrogen is feeding these noxious weeds, primarily hydrilla and algae."

For the next 48 hours, rangers have closed the beach area while they war with this pervasive weed. The Friends of Wakulla say the state pays for this treatment around twice a year at a cost of $140,000.

The park is open. Rangers are running the glass bottom boats and the weather has been so dry the springs are actually crystal clear, just full of weeds.


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