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Lake at Conservatory Park in Manatee County transformed following water lettuce crisis

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - What a difference a few months makes.  Just recently the lake at Conservatory Park was overcome with water lettuce.  Today it's a whole other story.

When we first brought you the story on Conservatory Lake back in November, it was completely covered with an invasive species of an aquatic plant called water lettuce.  Now, it's back to the way it's supposed to be.

"It was amazing how fast it was and how beautiful our lake is," said Alice Cotman, a resident who visits the park frequently.  "We've got it back"

Manatee County officials say because the county is stretched so thin in their parks division, they hired an outside company to get rid of the water lettuce for a very minimal cost.  It's a process that took several weeks.

"We do use herbicides that are labeled by the EPA for these settings," said Michael Elswick, with the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.  "In this case an herbicide was applied to the water lettuce to gain control of it."

Elswick tells us no wildlife was harmed in the process.  Frank Decker and his wife live near Conservatory Park.  They say they are thrilled to have their lake back.

"I hated to see the way that it had deteriorated, so it means a lot not only to my wife and myself but to everybody in the community," said Decker.

Manatee County officials say they will stay on top of this and have the lake treated often, so something like this never happens again.

If you are having any issues with water lettuce in your lake or pond, you're being asked to contact your local University of Florida IFAS facility.