The Friends of Lake Apopka incorporated in 1991 and has been a strong advocacy group for the restoration of Lake Apopka since that time. The group formed after years of seeing a green lake and no fishermen and the final trigger that spurred them into action was a decision to allow the farms on the north shore ten more years of farming and a legislative bill to fund dumping of concrete rubble around the shoreline of the lake.
The call to organize got a good response and the group was instrumental in getting legislative attention which eventually resulted in a buyout of the farms (and the concrete bill got squashed in committee before it even got to the floor)! Since that time the group has been proactive in reviewing proposals for the massive restoration project and overcoming opposition that would hinder plans. Support for the group has been phenomenal!
One of the reasons for success of the group was the decision at the very beginning that any action would be based on the science of the problem or proposal. This decision separated the group from those who were more interested in protesting or following unsubstantiated proposals and plans. Letters and responses to elected officials were based on facts.
As the restoration proceeds, FOLA has followed the data as closely as possible and tries to keep the public informed. Public meetings were either aimed at updating progress (or in some cases, opposing proposals, such as fighting the hydrilla proposal). A spin-off project, the Oakland Nature Preserve, was planned to keep the public involved and to provide environmental education programs for students as well as interested adults.