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Lake Hatchineha, a 6,665-acre expanse in Osceola County, welcomes both tourists and residents to its beautiful central Florida shores. Lake Hatchineha is one of the lakes in the Kissimmee Waterway chain. From Lake Tohopekaliga to Lake Okeechobee boaters enjoy 56 miles of water, including Lake Hatchineha and other lakes along the Kissimmee River. Many of the lakes in the Waterway are quite shallow, average depths between 6 and 13 feet.
Prior to 1962, the Kissimmee River meandered over 103 miles that supported a rich ecosystem of fish and wildlife along floodplain wetlands. In an effort to control periodic river flooding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transformed the river into a straighter, 56-mile channel between 1962 and 1971. Although the channelization project achieved its flood protection goal, most of the wetlands wildlife habitat was eliminated. About 90 percent of the wading bird and wintering waterfowl populations disappeared.
In order to restore the delicate wetlands ecosystem, the Kissimmee River Restoration project is currently underway with a scheduled completion date of 2010. Jointly managed by the Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, the project will restore about 43 miles of the river's historic channel along the canal's midsection. The goal is to restore more than 300 species of fish and wildlife to the wetland-rich floodplain. The upper and lower portions of the canal will remain intact to preserve flood protection.
Central Florida boasts a unique wildlife habitat, with flat lands and warm temperatures year-round. Wintering birds migrate to Lake Hatchineha in search of friendly climates, befriending the local avian population. Peaceful herons, graceful egrets, soaring eagles, bathing limpkins, humorous wood storks, and swooping hawks grace the skies. Huge roses, tropical amyrillis, dainty daisies, spider-like lilies, and delicate wildflowers paint the scenic Floridian canvas. Whether you're a hobbyist photographer or simply a lover of nature, Lake Hatchineha's flora and fauna are a feast for both your eyes and camera.
As on most lakes, recreation centers around water sports. Boating is the ideal way to discover all the lake's secrets. As you patrol the shores, you'll encounter private coves, bullfrogs hidden in the reeds, deer drinking at the lake's shore, and fish jumping by your boat. And if you have any desire to see the lake's 6665 acres, this is the way to do it, as the views from the center of Lake Hatchineha are vastly different than the views by car .
Florida is considered one of the best fishing areas in the world, and Lake Hatchineha won't disappoint. Specializing in bluegill, shellcracker, and largemouth bass, the lake is host to Arrowhead grass, Kissimmee grass, lily pads, and several other forms of vegetation that provide the perfect home to schools of fish. Bring your line, your angling dreams, and prepare to boast about your Lake Hatchineha catch.
After a long day of relaxation, there's nothing better than enjoying a pleasant meal while you watch one of Florida's famously beautiful sunsets. Oranges, reds, purples, and pinks smear the sky, treating you to a spectacular ending to a fun-filled day at Lake Hatchineha.
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