BETTER CALL BEHNKEN: Sarasota lake turns green, county promises to spray for it

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Steve Herich used to enjoy the view and the wildlife right in his backyard at Lake Crane in Sarasota. But now, it’s so green you can’t tell where the grass stops and the water begins.

“There’s even otters in this lake,” Herich said. “I don’t see the otters anymore, and it’s not going to go away by itself.”

Herich and others who live around this county-owned lake have begged officials for help for months. But the green stuff, called duck weed, just keeps growing. Herich said the county used to spray periodically and that kept the weeds away. He says other neighbors on nearby lakes still enjoy pristine waters and doesn’t understand why his is green.

Residents say the county stopped showing up in the spring and residents couldn’t get a straight answer. Appointments to spray were made and broken, Herich said.

Herich called 8 On Your Side and we called the county for answers.

Sarasota County Spokesman Jason Bartolone said the county manages 300 ponds and lakes and treats for duck weed on an as-need basis and only if it is impacting the stormwater system, not just because it is ugly. Bartolone issued this statement:

“(Duckweed) is part of the natural system and is difficult to control as it is carried from lake to lake by wading birds. The growth of duckweed is directly correlated with the amount of available nutrients in the water, which can change weekly depending on the amount of rainfall and potential presence of nutrients in the stormwater runoff from adjacent properties.”

However, the county admits the duck weed is now out of control, and officials plan to spray for it on Saturday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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