Check here for communications from our Board and members, including meeting Agendas, Minutes, and memorandums to FOLA members and community leaders. 

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  • June 02, 2016 7:46 AM | Anonymous

    Friends of Lake Apopka

    Monthly Board Meeting Agenda

    June 2, 2016

    ·        1.   5:30 P.M.  Call to Order – Oakland Nature Preserve

    ·        Introductions

    ·        Board Members in attendance

    • Rachel Comstock
    • Taressa George
    • Glenn Burns
    • Jim Hawley
    • Tim Bachmeyer
    • Joe Dunn
    • Tom Johnson

    ·        2.   Treasurer’s Report- Frank wasn’t in attendance

    ·        3.   Old Business:

    o   a.   Jim Thomas update

    o   b.   Acquisition Hull Island, Update – Jim Peterson

      • No new information waiting on public trust to give information on when to move.  Was able to spend $ on appraisal; no action required at this time.   Would be a great addition to ONP.  Approximately 40 acres; near a canal; native American; critical to try to keep as part of the preserve rather than another development;
      • People can contact  to state that they are in support of; main thing waiting on is Amendment 1 funds
      • Legislature wanted to spend Amendment 1 funds on maintenance, salary etc. 
      • Jim Peterson to mobilize us when we need to do something and take action; people can do individually and as FOLA
    • Additional item; Local Hotel had requested a presentation of FOLA; Joe Dunn volunteered;

    ·        4.   New Business

    o   Habitat Restoration Project, North Shore

    §  Planting plan <Jim Thomas had put together a planting plan> If anyone had an electronic copy of this, please provide

    §  Jim Peterson may have Cypress trees from Maria – these are 40 gallon cypress tress

    §  Coordination volunteer needed

    §  1,000 cypress trees June 25th

    • 3 gallon pots for 1,000 tree event

    §  Schedule site with SJRWMD

    §  Discuss flagging methodology

    o   Organization of Public Meeting – Joe Dunn/Jim Peterson

    • Joe is finalizing presentation
    • Will send to board for final review
    • First Draft 7/31
    • Finalize document by 8/30
    • Set date for meeting in August
    • Meeting for September/October
    • Determine when we need to set location- this needs to be finalized by August

    o   Membership Drive – Joe Dunn

    o   FOLA Fundraiser

    • This will come after the public meeting

    o   Addition of new Board Members

    • Jim Thomas wants to add more people to the board
      • Criteria: Passion, impact, willing to raise their hand
      • Need to find original draft of charter to ensure we are following the by-laws

    o   Design new  education materials

    §  Coordination volunteer needed

     Taressa and Ed volunteered

    §  Tablecloths

    §  Festivals starting in September/October

    §  Consider Wings and Wildflower festival(sign up is now)

    §  Taressa to send Rachel the festival list

    o   Upgrade FOLA/ONP Booth - coordination volunteer needed- tie this to the education materials update

    ·        5.   Adjourn

    Minimum Flow Levels presentation by Jim Hawley/Mary Oakes/Will Hawthorne– intent is to share at FOLA public meetings; this is an internal test presentation for what we would want to share; SJRWMD public meetings on MFL will be in August/September

  • February 01, 2016 12:27 PM | Anonymous

    FOLA Board Meeting January 7, 2016 Notes

    • 1.       Call to Order
    • 2.       Treasurers Report-
    • a.       Treasurer is on vacation- no report this month
    • 3.       Old Business
    • a.       FOLA Archives- Introduced Graduate Student from UCF (Josh King)
    •                                                                i.      Summary of what we have done so far
    •                                                              ii.      Information is being archived
    • 1.       Utilizing Riches Geographic Interface
    • a.       Riches data has to have very detailed information and metadata in order for the information to be searchable
    • b.      To date there have been about 800 itemized digitized and approximately 200 items have had metadata updated
    • c.       Also shows the importance of advocacy groups in an environmental
    • d.      Would like to get url published so that others can view information that has been made available so far
    • e.      Also opportunities to do oral history and work with Josh on collecting these
    • b.      Acquisition Hull Island- This is now a FOLA initiative to acquire this land and make it part of ONP. 
    •                                                                i.      Working with Seminole Indian Nation; they have agreed to build a replica village on the site. 
    • 4.       Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore
    • a.       US Fish and Wildlife determined that based on rules in place, we cannot proceed until current legislation is overwritten- currently states that things cannot be planted that will attract wildlife
    •                                                                i.      Can do other projects   
    • 1.       Landscape areas outside the marsh (for example on Lust Road)
    • a.       Lust Road Entry
    • b.      Jones Road Exit
    • c.       Clay Island Parking lot
    • d.      Overlook at Western End of the parking lot
    • 2.       Waiting on approval then we will proceed
    • 3.       FOLA will do work itself
    • a.       Grow plants
    • b.      Do Planting
    • 4.       Tour of North Shore      
    • a.       Will do another tour of this- Jim will be in touch regarding timing of this
    • b.      Use of North Shore is up ~30k visitors since May
    • c.       SJWMD has agreed to help support this
    • b.      Ecotourism Coalition
    • c.       Newsletter- Digital Newsletter
    •                                                                i.      Jim will be reaching out to get this started and to organize the Newsletter; this needs to get done
    • d.      Organization of Public Meeting-
    • e.      Design New Flyers- Identifies FOLA-
    •                                                                i.      There have been volunteers to help with this- Jim needs to get the information to the volunteers so they can start to draft these
    • f.        Booths at Birdapalooza- February 6th at Magnolia Park; Jim will organize and reach out with what support is needed
    • g.       Membership Drive; will do a drive in conjunction with the Newsletter

  • January 05, 2016 5:31 PM | Anonymous
    FOLA Meeting Minutes_2015Dec.docx

    FOLA Board Meeting December 3, 2015 Notes

    • 1.       Call to Order
    • 2.       Treasurers Report-
    • a.       All $ has been moved to Seacoast Bank- Total is $8,179.98
    • b.      2 waves of membership; via email or US Mail
    • 3.       Old Business
    • a.       FOLA Archives- Completed through the middle 70’s now; this will be archived at UCF; will be one of the largest archive programs that they have
    •                                                                i.      Student that is doing this will come to meeting in January
    •                                                              ii.      Need to determine the budget for this
    • b.      Acquisition Hull Island- Jim met with SJWMD people; will be writing an application for a grant for this.  The owner is anxious to sell and SJWMD has agreed to help with negotiation.  There are not a significant amount of wetlands, but there is archeological value. 
    • c.       Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore
    •                                                                i.      This project has been put on hold for now
    •                                                              ii.      Will spend some additional time getting SJWMD information regarding the project and what we want to accomplish
    •                                                             iii.      There are Federal Regulations in place that would restrict plantings or other items that would attract new birds and restrictions to planting new trees that would attract nesting; Dennis Renfro from Florida Fish and Wildlife is going to look into regulations as they have a number of projects going on; these rules have been on the books for quite some time; probably can find a way to work through this as the regulations were written for a different purpose but need to sort through this before we determine what our plan is. 
    •                                                            iv.      Also some concern regarding the toxicity of the area and having people working at the location; concern is essentially surrounding the soil work; not necessarily the water; would look to work with SJWMD to test the area
    •                                                              v.      Interim project of focus will be on Educational Center (would like to have this located in a place where there are 4-5 acres available for an Upland Park) and
    •                                                            vi.      Working towards collecting and growing the plants that are needed for the enhancement project
    • 4.       New Business
    • a.       Ecotourism Coalition- meeting must be during work week; Jim working through timing and this will have to wait until after the 1st of the year; Jim to work with the city of Apopka people so we determine how we are working together
    •                                                                i.      Should be a project where we do planting at the Pump House on the North Shore
    •                                                              ii.      Audubon is putting some additional signage/identification at Magnolia Park, and on the wildlife drive with the funds they have already received
    • b.      Newsletter- need to get a newsletter out by the first of the year; need to finalize approach for mailing- should this be the last one that is mailed and notify people that going forward things will be digital
    • c.       Organization of Public Meeting- needs to be scheduled
    • d.      Tour of North Shore- call for a field trip after the first of the year for another tour; to help with planning for planting near pump house
    • e.      Design New Flyers- Identifies FOLA- covers what the main priorities; need a volunteer to work on this to create a new flyer
    • f.        Booths at Birdapalooza- February at Magnolia Park; need a new Poster; need people to be able to talk to what we do
    • g.       Membership Drive; will do a drive in conjunction with the Newsletter
    • h.      T Shirts- found 60-70 old T Shirts from the early ‘90’s.  Completed by SJWMD $ advertise as Vintage FOLA project and will see $25 each- will have available at next FOLA Board Meeting and then possibly annual meeting; or possibly at Birdapoolza- not sure if we can actually sell things; Mike to look into this (but probably not enough shirts to worry about)
    • i.         FOLA Literature- where is the QR code and is this on the information/flyers for FOLA (we should have this on any hand-outs or information that is distributed)
    • j.        Can we get Dr. Shortell on a tour of the North Shore? 
    • k.       Water levels- gates are closed on Apopka; there is some flow through the NERF (sp)
    • l.         Kayak Launch at pump house will not proceed; the launch will go to the park in Lake County
    • m.    Airboat tours- these will potentially still go North even though this will impact the birding- if they go South;  it will impact residential locations and this isn’t the “view” that people want to see. 
    •                                                                i.      Now Airboats need to have muffling systems; some of the noise is not from the engines

  • November 19, 2015 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    FOLA Meeting Minutes

    November 5, 2015

    5:30 P.M. Call to Order- Oakland Nature Preserve

    2.    Treasurer’s Report



    Dues will be due in the third week in November; will e-mail the members that we have email for and US mail for the others- about 50% of people have e-mail addresses

    3.    Old Business:

    ·  FOLA Archives Project- Continuing to go well to get all the information archived; will be housed at UCF and well as on the FOLA and ONP websites

    ·  Acquisition of Hull Island- no change on this; still need to submit an application to the State; Jim to submit an application.  Could be some archeological potential there.  Would be up to the State to negotiate the price. 

    4.    New Business:

    ·  Begin Process, approval of Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore

    • Most of the plants around the lake are exotic plants
    • Named enhancement project purposefully- as this is not a purist restoration
      • Jim has been evaluating what needs to happen for this to work
        • Determine what types of plants need to be used
        • Jim working on design criteria; working on simplified design
          • Species we want to plant and where we want to plant; this has to go to SJRWMD for approval
          • Needs to go to president of SJRWMD for approval
          • Chairman of governing board will also weigh in
          • Jim to send draft by 11/13; please provide feedback
          • Will we have to buy; do we have to grow?
            • There could be space at a nursery or at the Oakland Preserve  to store the plants
            • We will need space that is roped off and water
            • Need to have volunteers and workforce to be able to do transplanting, cutting of plants; possibly get Dennis to help with spraying the invasive species
            • Groups we could look at
              • AmeriCorps
              • Boy Scouts
              • High Schools and Middle schools have agricultural programs that can help with this; need to provide details
          • Agree to one Saturday per month to work (3rd Saturday of each month) to start in November
        • Work on one pond at a time; not the entire shoreline
        • Landscape with clumps of trees, shrubs and groundcover
      • How do we put together a plan to be able to execute this?
      • FOLA takes on Habitat Enhancement
      • Rest of group (Apopka) takes on the rest of the approvals and building permits etc. 
      • Environmental Center- City of Apopka will make this a focus and work with the Orange Audubon Society
        • With 20 Acre Upland area with trails etc.
      • City of Apopka has petitioned SJWMD to allow the City of Apopka take over the management of this area
      • We will need committees- Jim will send the groups out in email and then will ask for volunteers to lead each group and then participate in each group. 
        • Writing- article in WOT each week
        • Speaking to groups (Rotary’s etc.)
        • Photography- before and after pictures

    ·  Organization of 1 more meeting, Ecotourism Coalition

    • Call one more meeting; afternoon during the week after Thanksgiving; will want to review the proposal for the North Shore

    ·  Newsletter-Digital Only

    • Jim will put together a plan on what we want to have included
    • There are services out there that we could possibly utilize that will assemble the content
    • We do want to highlight the union with the Apopka group

    ·  Organization of a Public Meeting- November

    • Will be held in Tanner Hall; to be held in December or January; evening meeting; will need help with organization and scheduling

    ·  Tour of North Shore

    • Jim creating a plan to be able to landscape the Pump House on the north shore
    • We will do another tour of the North Shore
    • Do as a car pool (so everyone can see the North Shore this time around)

    ·  Politics of proposed marsh restoration

    ·  Design of new flyers

    ·  Booths at Birdapalooza

    • Need new FOLA posters
    • Need Volunteers to work the booths this year

    Other comments/Discussion- Meeting on Nov 11th with Senator Hayes regarding potential ways to clean lake differently.  Chris D’Felize (sp) working with other members of FOLA to pitch the idea to FOLA.  This started with a project to clean the lake. 

    There has been debris that was thrown into the spring (random debris) that blocks the water that is flowing into the spring- the same amount of water is still flowing, but it is not flowing to the top due to the debris being in the way. 

    (name) from the Orange Audubon Society joined the meeting today- they will be the ones that run the Environmental Center on the North Shore

    Concern around water levels in the lake- there is a group that was taking water out. 

    6. Adjourn

    Notes taken by Rachel Comstock

    November 5, 2015

  • November 05, 2015 11:45 AM | Anonymous


    Monthly Board Meeting

    November 5, 2015

    1.    5:30 P.M. Call to Order- Oakland Nature Preserve

    2.    Treasurer’s Report

    3.    Old Business:

    • FOLA Archives Project
    • Acquisition of Hull Island

    4.    New Business

    • Begin Process, approval of Habitat Enhancement Project, North Shore
    • Organization of 1 more meeting, Ecotourism Coalition
    • Newsletter-Digital Only
    • Organization of a Public Meeting- November
    • Tour of North Shore
    • Politics of proposed marsh restoration
    • Design of new flyers
    • Booths at Birdapalooza

    6. Adjourn

  • October 09, 2015 9:23 AM | Anonymous

    As recorded by Secretary, Rachel Comstock.


  • September 23, 2015 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    To:  FOLA Board & Advisory Group

    From: Jim Thomas

    I am sending these emails to a lot of people who have expressed interest in our projects on Lake Apopka. Our major project now is the Ecotourism Coalition and we will discuss our plans in our regular board meeting. Our next meeting is October 1, at 5:30 P.M. at ONP. Please attend if you can.

    I’d like us to think about a restoration project that will interest the public and allow some opportunities to get public volunteers. I hope to get some restoration in fringe areas which introduce native plants that have habitat value which will attract bird species that are not aquatic or migratory species. We will discuss it on Thursday at the board meeting.

    FOLA has been mentioned in several articles last week. In Joy Dickinson’s Sentinel column she mentioned FOLA as one of the groups that helped start the restoration.

    Another article “Ill Farmworkers Push for Answers” described health problems believed to be caused by the toxic sprays applied to the farm fields. When FOLA began pushing for closing the farms, the Farmworkers Association berated us publicly for putting farmworkers out of jobs. Our response was that we were actually saving their lives. We were able to document many instances where the aerial sprays were applied while workers were in the fields!

    The NURF system is operating again for the first time since April, 2012! The current operation is being monitored to make sure all equipment is operational. FOLA opposed the NURF project, not because of the process but because of the location.  We felt it should have been a long way downstream and the project site was the only on in the entire north shore that could have been restored to a wet prairie system. Once we lost we stopped pushing but we are still concerned about the accumulation of flocculent materials on site.

     Our bus tour of the north shore last week was very interesting and gave us a good look at sites for potential ecotourism projects. We will organize more tours to get more people out there.

    The Harris Chain of Lakes Restoration Council will meet on Friday, October 2 at 9:00 AM in the Lake County Administration Building in Tavares (315 West Main Street, the round building). I probably will not be able to make it so I hope someone from our group will attend and take notes. FOLA continues to disagree with this group on flooding the north shore and several other issues.

    The West Orange Airport Authority will meet today at 10:00 AM at Apopka City Hall. I was not able to attend. If anyone attended, please call me for an update. FOLA continues to disagree with any plan that puts flight patterns over the north shore.

    The Birdapalooza planning committee will meet on September 30 at 8:30 AM at Magnolia Park. I can’t attend but we have some members who can update us. We need to make sure we really support this project!

    Tonight, Wednesday September 23, Kevin Gidusko will give a presentation on The History of Lake Apopka at 7:00 PM at the Winter Garden History Center. Please try to attend—you will find it fascinating. Kevin has been a great supporter of ONP form the beginning.

    On Wednesday, September 30 I will attend a luncheon where the Environmental Hero will be announced. If we win first place, ONP will receive $10,000. We will get $5,000 if we don’t get first place. Thank you to everyone that took the time to vote.

    Thanks to all of you who continue to support our projects and goals to help ensure we do the best we can to restore the Apopka basin and create a great habitat!

  • September 04, 2015 10:59 AM | Anonymous
    2015_9-3 Sept_Minutes.pdf

    As recorded by FOLA Secretary, Rachel Comstock

  • September 03, 2015 11:02 AM | Anonymous
  • June 26, 2015 8:51 PM | Anonymous

    To:      FOLA BOD and Advisors

    From: Jim Thomas

    Re:      FOLA Business

    Our next board meeting will be Thursday, July 2 at 5:30 P.M. in the ONP Museum. Please make every effort to be there- we have many decisions to make about what to do next. We have lost momentum on our eco-tourism coalition and need to do some planning.

    We need to schedule a number of activities so let’s be thinking about how we do it:

    ·       Schedule another meeting of the coalition and get back to ecotourism plans. Apopka has proceeded with great plans for the areas closest to them.

    ·       Schedule the bus tours of the north shore for members of this coalition, to map areas where our proposed projects could be built.

    ·       Try to schedule a meeting with Dr. Ann Shortelle, the new Executive Director of SJRWMD to update her on who we are and what we want to do.

    ·       Schedule a public update meeting to get more people interested and involved. Combine this with a membership drive.

    ·       Do a newsletter to update the community on our plans.

    ·       Start a series of newspaper articles about our ideas and progress.

    ·       Proceed with an application for Hull Island acquisition.

    ·       Keep the community educated about what is happening with the Amendment 1 issue. (I sit on the Florida Wildlife Federation board of directors and we have filed a lawsuit against the legislature.)

    ·       Continue to press for a convenient boat ramp on the west side of the lake.

    ·       Continue to monitor action by the Harris Chain Advisory Council in their quest to take out the dikes and flood the north shore.

    ·       Continue to collect, verify and put in order any of our past correspondence or studies to be archived for future reference. We are up to the 1980’s and it is very interesting. Once we have completed most of it we will provide links to FOLA, ONP and History Center websites.

    ·       Provide any help we can to Jim Hawley as he puts together more information on Minimum Flows and Levels study, one of the most important studies as we continue to push for more research and restorations.

    ·       Continue to review proposed research programs in Lake Apopka. While we are not regulators and we are not research scientists we are frequently asked to approve or promote the projects.

    As you can see, we have a lot to do and my energy levels are beginning to wane so I need help. We will discuss all of this on Thursday at the board meeting. Hope to see you there!

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