Deer Point to be drawn down

Deer Point Lake

Vegetation in Deer Point Lake in Panama City, Fla. on Sunday, November 25, 2012.

Andrew P. Johnson / The News Herald
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 02:13 PM.
SOUTHPORT — Old Man Winter will nip away at the vegetation around the Deer Point reservoir again this year, as Bay County Utilities starts a drawdown on the reservoir’s water levels.

The drawdown will begin at the lake on Dec. 3 and run about 75 days until Feb. 15, according to a prepared statement released by the county.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requested the reservoir reach an average target depth of 2-3 feet.

“This action would serve to decrease nuisance aquatic vegetation, improve boater access and enhance fish and wildlife habitat,” FWC officials wrote in a letter.

The drawdown isn’t done every year but is evaluated annually, said Paul Lackemacher, Bay County Utilities Services director. The decision to drawdown the reservoir depends on FWC’s recommendation, he said. The drawdown will take about five or six days.

The goal is to lower the reservoir, exposing plants and their root systems to the occasional North Florida hard freeze, killing them off. The reservoir is more than 5,000 acres, Lackemacher said.

“The growth becomes prolific,” he said.

Higher water levels would buffer the plant life from colder temperatures, increasing the likelihood they survive a freeze.

Lackemacher said the plants are both native to the area and invading species. He said in the past the drawdown has been effective in depleting unwanted vegetation.

“We’ve been doing drawdowns for quite a few years,” he said, noting they appear to be good for the fish.

In addition to supplying the county’s potable water, Lackemacher said Deer Point is a “recreational reservoir” and the drawdown will benefit the community’s anglers because it improves the health and environment for aquatic life.

Also those who own waterfront property should repair their docks and bulkheads while the water level is lower, the county said in its statement.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection must approve major projects and owners considering such repairs should contact the state agency to learn if they need a permit, the statement said. FDEP provides those permits.

For more information on the drawdown, residents should call Bay County Utility Services at 248-5010.



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