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Water-Related News

AguaCulture project ‘sucking up the muck’ off the bottom of Lake Kissimmee

LAKE KISSIMMEE – An innovative water treatment company is taking on the challenge of getting the muck out of a Florida lake.

In 2022, AguaCulture successfully completed a proof-of-concept project on the Indian Prairie Canal to mechanically remove invasive aquatic plants from Lake Okeechobee, liquify them and pump the liquid through a special hose to be spread on pastures as far as 20 miles away.

That project, funded by a grant from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proved the concept works.

A new AguaCulture project on private property on the shore of Lake Kissimmee in Osceola County is now proving that same machinery can be adapted to suck some of the muck from the bottom of a lake without creating turbidity.

Eagle Haven Ranch owner Arnie Bellini is funding the project. Bellini, the founder of the Live Wildly Foundation, is interested in large scale conservation projects, explained AguaCulture champion Mike Elfenbein, conservation chair of the Izaak Walton League Cypress Chapter.

The 3,000-acre ranch was once the site of a 350-home trailer park and was slated for more development. Bellini purchased the ranch to save a piece of wild Florida. The mobile homes are gone, and the land, which includes five different types of natural Florida habitat, is home to more than 200 native species including eagles and Scrub Jays, as well as Florida Cracker horses and cattle.

The ranch has a dispersed water project, to hold excess water from Lake Kissimmee, and is part of the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

Elfenbein said they hope to use the AguaCulture system to improve the soil in different types of native Florida land, improving the habitat for wildlife.