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Lake Environment Committee

Maintaining the environmental well being of Lake Gaston

Once again this June Volunteers from the Lake Gaston Association will be “hands on” to enhance habitat on Lake Gaston.  Since 2013, volunteers have been working with NC State University Department of Crop Science, NC Wildlife Resource Commission and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to enhance native aquatic vegetation on Lake Gaston.

The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council has been working for over thirty years using drawdowns, herbicides, and triploid grass carp to control invasive vegetation (primarily hydrilla) at Lake Gaston. As recent as 2006, hydrilla infestations were found on 3,000 acres.   Control measures are now proving successful with recent surveys showing hydrilla to be found on approximately 100 acres. 

Biologists see the need for native vegetation to fill the void left from hydrilla control. Fenced in areas, called exclosures or cages, are constructed to protect and develop colonies of native vegetation.  The cages protect the newly planted vegetation from being eaten by herbivores, such as turtles and grass carp. Native vegetation provides habitat for fish and waterfowl, reduces shoreline erosion, anchors sediment and improves water quality.

This June 21st-23rd volunteers will once again repair previously constructed cages, harvest and replant native vegetation and construct  new cages at one or two locations. LGA will provide lunch over the three day event. The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council and the Sport Fish Restoration Program provides funding.

Dates/time and meeting locations Are: 

Tuesday June 21st 9am @ Granite Hall Shores Shore Dr, Boydton, VA 23917

Wednesday June 22nd 9am @ Poplar Creek Ramp, 10450 Hwy Nine O Three, Bracey, VA 23919

Thursday June 23rd 9am @ Salmons Landing, 129 Salmons Landing Rd, Littleton, 27850

 

 

Contact Wally Sayko,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (434) 774-0715

 

The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) continues to fund herbicide treatments based upon recommendations from a Technical Advisory Group with support from the Lake Gaston Stakeholders Group. 

Aqua Services, Inc. www.asilakemanagement.com  was again awarded the application contract for Lyngbya Treatments which will increase to +/-376acres in 2022. 

The initial treatment for Lyngbya will take place  April 19th-22rd 

Additional treatments for Lyngbya are tentatively scheduled : 

May 17-20th

June 14-17th

July 19-22th

August 16-19th and

September 13-16th 

The products to be used are Captain XTR, Cutrine Ultra, and AMP.  There are no swimming, irrigation, or fish consumption restrictions.

Here is a link to maps showing the specific Lyngbya treatment areas: https://arcg.is/1ObSq4

PLM Lake and Land Management Corp. www.plmcorp.net  was once again selected as the application contractor for Hydrilla treatments. No specific treatment areas have been designated at this time for Hydrilla. Should infestations occur, treatments will be scheduled.

Jesssica Baumann, NCSU Extension Associate, gave an Aquatic Vegetation Management Update at a meeting of the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council(LGWCC) on March 10, 2022. She provided a recap of the 2021 Vegetation Survey, results of the 2021 Treatments, and 2022 Technical Advisory Group(TAG) recommendations. At a previous meet of the Stakeholders Group on March 4th, these same recommendations were agreed to and 'given" to the LGWCC.

A copy of the update/presentation can be accessed through  this link: PowerPoint Presentation (lgwcc.org)

Planning is now underway to schedule 2022 treatments, habitat enhancement and research.

LGA volunteers participated this past fall to survey the entire 350 miles of Lake Gaston shoreline. This was a tremendous effort and “hats off” to all those who participated.

36 teams comprised of 80 volunteers surveyed a total of 4,084 sites.  These teams put in a total effort of 400 hours. This level of sampling is comparable to past years.

74% of sites surveyed contained some form of aquatic vegetation. The aquatic plant community was made up of 70% emergent species, 5% submergent species, 4% floating leaf species, and 21% algal species. Water willow made up the largest percent of the overall vegetation at 48% and has consistently been the most abundant species found throughout the lake since 2018. The most abundant species, water willow, lyngbya, and chara, were all well distributed throughout the lake.  

Hydrilla is still located throughout the lake, primarily found in very shallow water, small and patchy sites. Standing acreage of hydrilla is estimated to be 154 acres. Tuber bank surveys show an almost undetectable level with a slightly higher density in Lizard and Hawtree Creeks.

Lyngbya was found at 20% of surveyed sites and is estimated to cover 1317 acres.  Lyngbya is the second most prevalent species and has displayed a steady overall increase since 2014.   

These results were present to the Technical Advisory Group or TAG on February 15, 2022.  TAG then made recommendations for integrated management including Grass Carp stocking, revegetation with natives, and Aquatic Herbicide treatments to the Stakeholders Group on March 4th, and the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) on March 10th. Members of the LGA Lake Environment Committee are active participants in this management process.

The report states, Continued yearly surveying of Lake Gaston's aquatic plant community is recommended to monitor growth and distribution in both the native and beneficial communities, as well as, noxious and harmful species.

Thanks again to all who volunteer to make this process successful.   Your work is critical to keeping our lake environment healthy!

Here is a link to the 2021 Vegetation Survey:  2021_Lake_Gaston_Vegetation_Survey_Final_Report.pdf (lgwcc.org)

On December 20, 2021 Dominion Power submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission changes to its Shoreline Management Plan appendices. These changes are the product of a required 5 year review which was delayed one year due to pandemic restrictions. Dominion received input from the general public on September 15th and from a working group, including state, federal, county agencies, contractors, real estate developers, the Lake Gaston Stripers Club as well as the Lake Gaston Association on October 3rd.

Summary of Changes

(1) Construction and Use Procedures. (Appendix C to the Plan) The proposed changes add a

statement prohibiting the use of submersible pumps, increase restrictions in Sensitive areas to

exclude any new clearing of land or building of docks, clarify that new bulkheads are not being

approved and clarify definitions of grandfathered landscaping.

 

(2) Aquatic Weed Control. (Appendix E to the plan) There are two proposed changes: the first

clarifies who may apply weed control chemicals in the lakes, removes the requirement to notify

Dominion prior to aquatic weed control activities and adds a requirement for registered

applicators to submit an annual report providing information regarding location of treatments,

area treated, chemicals applied, and species treated. The second change removes the requirement

to obtain permission from Dominion to clear native aquatic plants from a 10’ wide boat lane

providing access to the lake but makes clear that removing Water Willow will not be approved.

 

Special Management Area Maps

In Dominion’s 2005 Plan submittal, there were 23 maps that delineate areas within the project

boundary that warrant special protection. Those maps have not been changed and have not been

included in this submittal. The maps can be found on Dominion’s web site at: https://www.dominionenergy.com/lakes-and-recreation/lake-gaston-and-roanoke-rapids-lake-nc/construction-use-and-procedures

 

Once these revisions are posted on Dominion Energy’s web site the LGA will notify our membership.