Pictured above, left to right are Bobby Moore P.E-Operations Project Manager, ACF River Projects, Mobile District, Alex Jernigan- VP Stewards of Lake Seminole, Jeremy J. Chapman P.E., Colonel, U.S. Army, Mobile District Commander, and Steve Dickman-Founder and Executive Director of Stewards of Lake Seminole.
The mission of the Stewards of Lake Seminole is to secure funding as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, to manage invasive species on Lake Seminole, in a collaborative but timely manner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), for the benefit of the Lake Seminole stakeholders. Critical to the success of this mission is a collaborative agreement with the USACE.
On December 13th, 2022, Stewards of Lake Seminole Inc. met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, Alabama and secured that agreement. The picture at right of Bobby Moore P.E-Operations Project Manager, ACF River Projects, Mobile District, Alex Jernigan- VP Stewards of Lake Seminole, Jeremy J. Chapman P.E., Colonel, U.S. Army, Mobil District Commander, and Steve Dickman-Founder and Executive Director of Stewards of Lake Seminole- memorializes that historic event.
“This is truly a historic step in our journey to save Lake Seminole,” commented Dickman.
For the communities, the agreement states “The Corps and the Stewards mutually recognize the value of hydrilla and other grasses, within limits, in creating an ecosystem where fish and wildlife can flourish. The Corps and the Stewards mutually recognize there are significant national and local community benefits, both economic and recreational (visitor spending totaled $68 million in 2021 for Seminole and Decatur Counties), associated with the collaborative management of invasive grasses in a balanced manner that preserves and enhances the dynamic ecosystem while addressing the needs of all beneficiaries.
The Corps recognizes that the Stewards bring a unique knowledge base and perspective from Lake Seminole residents, anglers, hunters, water sports enthusiasts, and community leaders, to assist with the management of those invasive species.
Bass fisherman fear, and rightly so, that uncontrolled management of invasive grasses can have devastating impacts to the fishery and the communities as has been seen in Texas, Florida and Alabama. Preventing these disasters is exactly why Stewards of Lake Seminole Inc. was formed. In none of the above-mentioned disasters was an organization like the Stewards working collaboratively to manage the outcomes. Bass fishermen need to become Sponsors so their voices can be heard, and interests protected.
The corps will not
treat around boat docks!
For property owners, the agreement provides for coordinated treatment of areas allowing Stewards of Lake Seminole to treat invasive grasses around boat docks at the same time the Corps is treating those general areas. This is a first, and an essential step in complete coverage of recreational areas. Individual treatments around docks are not effective in the long-term and must be done together to be effective.
For the first time in the history of Lake Seminole, stakeholders, now through the Stewards of Lake Seminole, are collaboratively involved with the USACE to develop an Annual Aquatic Plant Management Plan for 2023 for the benefit of all the stakeholders. The first joint Corps/Stewards planning meeting was January 10th in Chattahoochee, Florida.
The collaborative partnership agreement with the Mobile District of the USACE was an essential step. Community support from Sponsorships is the next essential step.
Stewards of Lake Seminole’s goal is to raise $250,000.00 by April 1st, 2023, to fund its collaborative efforts. Community support in meeting this goal is imperative to pave the way for larger funding from other sources. Even in these difficult financial times and with the holiday season just ending, the organization is approaching its first $50,000 in sponsorships.
Dickman commented, “Our success is a journey! Our stakeholders’ needs are great and diverse. We have established a website to listen to you and communicate our journey at www.stewardsoflakeseminole.com.”
Visit www.stewardsoflakeseminole.com and click the Sponsorship tab and become part of the solution today.
If we don’t save it . . . who will?