The idea to restore Lake Trafford came about after a major fish kill on the lake in April of 1996. It was at this same time that a major algae bloom had been plaguing the lake for over three months causing over one million fish to die (Cade 4/18/96). This bloom not only caused damage to businesses on the lake, but for the six months that the lake was not truly usable. It is estimated that over $300,000 was lost for the local economy. "For ever hour anglers spend fishing, they generate $10.09 in associated fishing expenses within the local economy," said Frank Morello of the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission (Karras 4/12/96).
It was not long after the fish kill that Anne and Edward "Ski" Olesky, the owners of the Lake Trafford Marina, decided to try and save their lake. "Following the fish kill the first thing I did was call Frank Morello," said A. Olesky, "I told him I wanted to put together a plan to help save the lake." Olesky knew that she had a large task in front of her, but that never slowed her down. "The first thing out of Frank's mouth was, 'no one will listen to you' but I was determined to prove him wrong," (Olesky 3/2/00).
Following the call to Morello, Olesky sent a letter to every fisherman and camper that she had in her file. "My letter told people that the lake was in trouble, and I asked them to send a letter to any of the politician they could," said Olesky. It was at this time that people started sending money in to contribute to Olesky's cause (Olesky 3/2/00).
With the support of many community members and politicians alike, a restoration plan was devised to bring Lake Trafford back to the great lake it once was. "The project was considered a 'critical project'," said Nanciann Regalado, the Outreach Coordinator for the U.S. Army Core of Engineers. "A 'critical project' means the project could easily move forward in the near term and required less then $25 million from the Core " (Regalado 3/9/00).
In what Regalado calls one of the best grassroots campaign efforts she has ever seen, the Lake Trafford project went from a position that was very low in the ranking order of projects to be completed, to a position near the top (Regalado 3/9/00). The final letter of approval for the Lake Trafford restoration was given in June of 1998 with an expected completion date of June 2003 (Grant 3/19/00).