If you’re looking for a place to laugh in Florida, look no further than Lake Apopka.
A little piece of Florida history: In the 1980s, Lake Apopka was one of the most polluted lakes in the country. Thanks to a massive cleanup effort, it’s now teeming with wildlife and is a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.
This lake is famous for its abundance of alligators, which sun themselves on the shore and often surprise swimmers by popping up in the water.
But don’t worry – the alligators are more afraid of you than you are of them. So take a dip and enjoy the view!
What Is Wrong With Lake Apopka?
Lake Apopka is one of the lakes situated in Northwest Orange and is a chain of lakes with Ocklawaha headwaters. It is a natural water body with fresh spring water that runs into the main city of Orlando. However, the lake has been under human abuse for more than 50 years.
It is one of the largest polluted lakes in Florida that still needs a lot of cleaning and work. In 1890, the construction of the Lake Apopka-Beauclair canal led to its exploitation. Many sewage water and toxins from the construction site were discharged, making it extremely toxic.
In 1940, the lake started clearing up and became the biggest attraction for fishing. The government took serious action to clear the lake and clarify its water. The toxin level (phosphorous) is down by 62% since its exploitation, and water is 65% clearer. However, it still has some pollution issues such as:
- Citrus discharge from processing the plants before the 1980s led to decreasing marine-life quality.
- Two hundred thousand acres of wetland are destroyed, and the land is still not suitable for high-quality farming.
- Before 1980, treated sewage water would discharge into the lake, polluting it.
- Agricultural discharge loaded with poisonous phosphorus would affect marine life to this day.
Is Lake Apopka Toxic?
Lake Apopka is one of the largest lakes in Florida, yet one with a rich history. In the early 1940s, the lake was used to dump agricultural waste loaded with chemicals and pesticides.
The toxins in the lake grew to a point where it was labeled as a hazardous site.
Many species living within the lake were dying due to the chemical overload. In 1999, a flock of birds was found dead in the lake. It was due to high pesticides and chemical levels in the water.
Farmers complain that the lack of government officials on the matter leads to poor management.
However, the lake underwent a preservation and restoration process, which highly improved its toxin levels. The lake is not as polluted anymore, but it still has traces of its early exploitation.
Many people still refrain from swimming in the lake as it can give them skin issues.
Lake Apopka is home to many underwater and water animals, such as alligators. The lake is shallow and does not have much depth. Hence, it is advisable not to swim in the lake or go very deep into the water.
How Many Alligators Are in Lake Apopka?
Alligators are intimidating animals, and no one wants to be near them. Lake Apopka is known to be a home for more than 1000 alligators in which you can also find bull gators.
Bull gators are alligators that are more than 9 feet and seem very intimidating.
Many alligators call lake Apopka their home and a place where they can live and grow. Researchers have also found 12-feet long alligators in water that crawl on the shore from time to time. Earlier, researchers found 1500 alligators in the lake with more than 46 bulls simultaneously.
However, there has been a decrease in alligators in the past ten years. Recently, 250 alligators with a fair share of bull gators were found in the lake using the torchlight technique.
Alligators have not been a big threat to people; however, it is advisable to stay away from them.
About 50 people have been killed in a few years, but the ratio is less than death by lightning strikes. Researchers state that if alligators are not a danger to the human population, there is no reason to get rid of them.
Read More: The Dangers of Florida Wild Animals
Is It Safe to Eat Fish From Lake Apopka?
However, people to this day are very cautious and do not consume it to be safe. The lake is great for sightseeing, spotting the alligators, and looking at the water.
The lake is home to a variety of fish including bass, catfish, and tilapia. All of these fish are safe to eat.
The only fish you should avoid eating from the lake are the ones that have been affected by the toxic algae bloom. These fish can cause stomach problems and other health issues.
Lake Apopka was very famous once for its bass fishes, and a stock of them would collect at the shore. However, many people know what happened to the lake and how it got extremely polluted. The toxins from the agricultural remains did nothing but bad for marine life.
In 1999, the lake was labeled hazardous because of the toxin levels within the sea. The toxicology department in the region has always been testing the fish from the lake. Researchers have also declared the Apopka fish non-toxic.
It is better to have fish from fresh spring water with no hazardous chemicals. Hence, it is better to avoid it for your health and gut safety.
What Is the Deepest Lake in Florida?
Florida is the state of lakes and beaches, making it the ultimate summer heaven. Lakes in Florida are mostly natural, while some are artificial. The deepest natural lake is the silver lake which is 45 feet deep and has a relatively smaller size.
However, lake Okeechobee is also one of the deepest lakes, but it is fairly large. The lake has an average depth of 8 feet and 10-inches, which is moderate for tall people who know swimming.
However, it is not best to go swimming unsupervised as people can drown in it.
You will also find other popular lakes in Florida, including Lake George which flows into the Hudson River. The Hudson River is connected to the Atlantic Ocean; hence, sharks may sometimes swim into it, giving people a dangerously thrilling view.
Lake Apopka is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a breathtaking view and a chance to commune with nature and a great place to live if you enjoy being outdoors and enjoying the sun.
It’s also a great place to fish, as the lake is home to a variety of fish species.
The community is friendly and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. So whether you’re looking to relax, for a place to retire, or get active, Lake Apopka is the perfect destination.