Results and analysis of the 2020 Lake Gaston Vegetation Survey have been made available. This annual survey has been funded by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) since 2012. This is a collaborative effort between volunteers of the Lake Gaston Association (LGA) and staff from North Carolina State University (NCSU). Both point and sonar surveys cover the entire 350 miles of shoreline. Jessica R. Baumann, NCSU Extension Associate gave a presentation of the results to the LGA board at our April 7th meeting.
35 teams of 67 volunteer’s surveyed 4,487 sites, while. NCSU staff surveyed 881 sites. In total 5,368 sites were surveyed in 212 hours. This level is comparable to previous annual surveys.
71% of sites had some form of aquatic vegetation. Water willow makes up the largest percentage of vegetation (45%) followed by Lyngbya (17%) and chara/nitella (7%). While water willow and chara/nitella are native and considered beneficial species, Lyngbya is considered noxious.
Hydrilla is estimated to be found in small patchy sites totaling only 104 acres. This compares to 1,541 acres found in 2012. Results from the December tuber bank study also indicates a drastic decrease from samples collected in 2012.
Lyngbya acreage has been steadily increasing since 2014, now estimated to cover 1,194 acres. Few areas of the lake are void of Lyngbya. NCSU research efforts funded by the LGWCC continue in the development of an effective Lyngbya management protocol.