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Content provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Signs of spring – balmy weather, blooming flowers and nesting birds – are occurring throughout Florida. Warmer temperatures also mean alligators are more active and visible. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when in and around the water and has expanded its safety materials to include a video and infographic in Spanish.

While serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the FWC offers the following tips about how to safely co-exist with them:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator and never feed one. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge and never let them swim in fresh or brackish water. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if you believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property and the FWC will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation. The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur.
  • Find more resources about living with alligators and Spanish translation information tools at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. They are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers in all 67 counties in Florida.

Lakes Education/Action Drive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida.

Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit to preserve our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

 

Over the years, the Lakes Education Action Drive has provided lakeshore signage educating visitors on Polk County Watersheds. Many of these signs have been updated by the County or Municipality where they are located. However, some of these signs have not.

Below is a list of the lakeshore signage, LE/AD has placed over the years. We last investigated the condition of these sign in 2014 and would like to once again, take stock of their condition.

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

 

Lake Name General Location Street Address Latitude Longitude Subject Material Photo Y / N Last Known Condition Current Condition
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Lake Blue connects to Peace River Good 9/5/2014
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Healthy Land and Water Good – Fair , crazing 9-5-2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Lake Bonney Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, E of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Paterson Park in Peace River Watershed Good 8/28/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, W of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Lake Gibson Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Lake Hartridge Watershed Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Wading Birds Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Waterfowl Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Living in FreshWater Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Wetlands Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.029         -81.949 Lake H Watershed Fair, crazing and faded 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Aquatic Plants Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Wildlife Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Stormwater Runoff Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.0285       -81.9490 Welcome to Southern Landing Excellent  8/26/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park N of Lk Howard Dr 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven  28.015           -81.748 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Lake Howard Watershed Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Stormwater Project Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of Parking Lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @    Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Aquatic Plants Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @   Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Wildlife Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Stormwater Runoff Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Lake Hunter Watershed Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
John Peterson Park, South side by boardwalk and playground 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960       -81.9430 Healthy Land and Water Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
John 150ft N of JOHN-1 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960         -81.9432 Lake John Watershed Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by walkway S of parking area 0 7 th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.718 Lake Maude Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park next to pier to south 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.719 Living in the Water Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park walkway to north 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.041          -81.719 Wading Birds Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Alligators Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Wetlands Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Alligators Poor, broken plexi cover 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Watching Wildlife Fair – Poor, mold or dirt 8/22/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Birds of Lake Morton Excellent  8/26/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Healthy Land and Water Good 8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Lake Parker Watershed Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Parker Sertoma Park near boat ramp 1800 E Memorial Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 28.0520       -81.9284 Lake Parker connects to Peace River Fair, crazing, scratched 8/26/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Stormwater Runoff Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Lake Silver Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Aquatic Plants Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Wildlife Good 8/22/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Better Boating Excellant 9/2/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Lake Somerset connects to Peace River Excellant 9/2/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.9920         -81.697 Water Pollution Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Lake Summit connects to Peace River Good 8/28/2014
Twin Lakes Twin Lakes Park 535 N Rochelle Dr Lake Alfred, FL 33850 28°05’51.95”N
81°43’38.57”W
Twin Lakes connects to Lake Swoope New 1/20/22

 

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

Lakes Education Action Drive

The Board of Directors of LE/AD wants to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District for partnering with us in replacing educational signage at Twin Lakes in Lake Alfred.

Over the years, LE/AD has taken the er…Lead in placing educational signage at various lakes throughout Polk County. Many of these signs are in need of replacement and the Twin Lakes is where we started.

New signs at Twin Lakes

At the bottom of this post you can see the old signs and why they needed to be replaced. But, here are the graphics up-close.

Again, thank you very much Southwest Florida Water Management District for your generous support!

Old Signage

Danny Kushmer

 

 

join us for our February Podcast as we discuss “Direct Potable Reuse” in Polk County. Our guest is Polk County Utilities Director Tamara Richardson. Ms. Richardson is a Professional Engineer and has served as Director of Polk County Utilities since December 2017.  As director, She and her team are responsible for all functions of the Utilities Division, including water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, reclaimed water production and distribution, compliance and capacity, capital investments, maintenance and repairs, customer service and billing, and the financial management of these efforts.

Before coming to Polk County, Ms. Richardson served as the City Engineer and Utilities Director for a medium-sized Central Florida city with similar utility services for 15 years.  Prior to that, she was a consulting engineer for a design firm specializing in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering.

This is a fascinating conversation about Direct Potable Reuse and for more information, check out the links below.

 

LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE HERE

 

Polk County Utilities

Department of Environmental Protection, “One Water Florida”

 

 

Thank you Florida’s Horizon and the “Off-Bryan Studios” for your generous support!

 

May, is Water Safety Month. Here is a great article from the University of Florida.

Florida leads the nation with many impressive statistics such as having the most IGFA fishing world records (925), being the state with most amount of coastline in the lower 48 (1,350 miles) and having more boats registered here than any other state (954,731 recreational and 30,274 commercial registered vessels)! With almost half of the 836 reported 2020 accidents happening between the months of May-August. This is a great time to brush up on some safety information as you approach the water’s edge!

Keep Reading……

The Lakes Education Action Drive is happy to announce, the LEAD’r (our podcast) is now on Podbean. After seven episodes on our free site on SoundCloud it was time to upgrade to a professional presence.

Please follow us on Podbean and/or Apple today.

The North American Lakes Management Society launched Lake Awareness Week in 1998 to focus attention on lakes and reservoirs and their unique value, as well as the management issues they face. In 2003, Lake Awareness Week became Lakes Appreciation Month, held annually in July. Lakes Appreciation Month has helped raise awareness on lake issues and helped local groups share their success stories with a broader audience.

Boating, fishing and swimming are all favorite recreational uses of American lakes and reservoirs. Lakes and reservoirs also play other vital and often hidden roles. They provide drinking water and irrigation water for agricultural fields and are a source of electricity and power generation.

They also serve the important function of absorbing rainfall and runoff from land, help to prevent floods, and provide homes for precious wildlife.  As we enjoy and use lakes, we must protect them because lake pollution is caused by so many different activities. Education and outreach aimed at changing individual behavior are key components to any successful lake protection effort.

Here in Polk County, that means an opportunity to celebrate our beautiful lakes (over 500 lakes). Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD), along with the City of Haines City, City of Lakeland, City of Winter Haven, Keep Winter Haven Clean & Beautiful, Polk County Board of County Commissioners and Keep Polk County Beautiful are helping to coordinate their efforts with one goal in mind – removing trash from our lakes and leaving Polk County’s lakes better than they were before!

And, You Can Help Too! For as little as $25 you can be a member of the Lakes Education Action Drive supporting educational programs throughout the year designed to improve the quality of our lakes. JOIN TODAY by going to our home page and click the PayPal link at the bottom.

The Secchi Dip-In was founded in 1994 by Dr. Robert Carlson and demonstrates the potential of citizen scientists working together to gather important information on our lakes and reservoirs. Individuals in volunteer monitoring programs across North America take a transparency measurement of their lake or reservoir in July to produce a continent-wide snapshot of water clarity. To date, over 50,000 Secchi readings have been collected as a part of the program, engaging hundreds of citizen scientists. The Dip-In is a leader in connecting lake lovers to water quality monitoring data.

The first Secchi Dip-In began as a pilot study by Drs. Robert Carlson, Dave Waller and Jay Lee from Kent State University. During Dip-In ’94, over 800 volunteers from six Midwest states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) participated, representing a 40% response from the initial solicitation. The results from the first Dip-In suggested that regional patterns in transparency did exist, appearing to correlate with land use and whether the water body was a natural lake or a reservoir.

In 1995, the Dip-In expanded to include volunteers across the entire United States and volunteers from estuary and river volunteer programs were also included. Over 2,000 volunteers from 37 states and 2 provinces of Canada participated in this first year of the expanded program. Click here to find out more.

 

Danny Kushmer to become the Lakes Education Action Drive Executive Director

June 28, 2019 Lakeland, Florida. After a brief absence from Polk County, Danny Kushmer, returns as executive director for the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) beginning July 1st. Danny replaces Tabitha Biehl who was recently promoted to Land and Natural Areas Manager with Polk County Parks & Natural Resources.

Danny spent nearly 10 years as the governmental affairs manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District with offices in Bartow. During this time, he served on the communications team for the Central Florida Water Initiative, was instrumental in the formation of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and, served on the board for LE/AD. Danny is a partner with his wife Cally in the firm Florida Horizon’s, a Florida-based LLC partnering in real estate, governmental affairs, public relations, and environmental education.

Laurie Smith, President of the Board said, “Danny is a well-known figure in Polk County and has spent his entire career working with water. From farming to regulation, he understands Florida’s water quality and natural resource issues and will be a great fit for LE/AD.”

“I am honored to have been chosen as executive director, for me, this is not a position it’s a passion.” Kushmer said, “With over 550 lakes in Polk County, LE/AD encourages Polk County Citizens and visitors to enjoy their lakes. But, also understand the vital role these water bodies play in providing drinking water, irrigation, electrical and power generation, and of course maintaining our precious environment.”

The Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida. Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit of preserving our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

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