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Lake Gaston Weed Control

Maintaining Noxious Lake Weeds...

Maintaining noxious lake weeds is important for the Lake Gaston environment, which protects the health of fresh water fish and plants, as well as other wildlife and humans to some extent.

So how do we accomplish this? The Weed Council employs a Lake Manager assigned to Lake Gaston via a contract with North Carolina State University. The Lake Manager is responsible for several projects on the lake each year. The two major ones are the Full Lake Survey conducted in the Sept/Oct time frame each year and the Vegetation Program by NCWildlife and Virginia DGIF.

The Fall Survey is conducted in two phases. One is the use of volunteers from the Lake Gaston Association. Each Sept/Oct they survey the entire shoreline of the lake by throwing a rake into the lake every 200 feet. This provides data of the types of vegetation in the lake and on the shoreline. The second part is conducted by NCSU which involves the scanning of the entire shoreline by a hydro acoustics device. This is matched up with the physical lake survey by volunteers. In addition in the months of Nov/Dec a tuber study is done in several locations to determine the possible growth of Hydrilla. This is the basis of the treatment process for the following year.

Lyngbya is the new nuisance on the lake. It differs from Hydrilla in that it is an algae. The council has completed testing in about six locations on the lake the past three years. The results of those treatments at this time have been very mixed with no clear recipe of chemicals that work 100%. Part of the process for Lyngbya involves extensive lab work to determine the effect of various chemicals on the living cells of Lyngbya. Currently the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is investigating other possible actions.

We make recommendations to all local, state and federal agencies concerned with quality of water that may affect recreation, wildlife, fish and fishing conditions on Lake Gaston. It is also important for residents to be involved in their local counties to assure the county is funding at the $116,000.00 per year if required.

Solutions...

Private Treatment: Hydrilla/Lyngbya

The LGWCC reminds residents to continue private treatments in their areas. This has been very instrumental in the over reduction of Hydrilla on the lake from about 1500 acres in 2012 to current levels over the past three years of 200 acres or less. At this time we are in the maintenance mode of treatments and monitor closely those areas that pop up that would need to be considered for treatment. Residents can also request via PLM a recommendation on Lyngbya treatment options they offer.

For full guidance, please refer to Dominion Power's Appendix E to their Shoreline Management Plan, which offers guidelines as to how to obtain private treatment. To visit Dominion's site and view Appendix E (a PDF file), please visit the Dominion Resource Website.

For your convenience here is the link to Professional Lake Management - www.plmcorp.net where you can find out more information about private weed control treatment on Lake Gaston. You can also reach them at the numbers listed below:

  • Local: (252) 586-2900
  • FAX: (252) 586 2205
  • Toll Free: 1 (866) 403-5259
Grass Carp

Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) is a large plant eating fish with a feeding preference for Hydrilla. At approximately 20 fish per vegetated acre, they have been shown to eliminate Hydrilla. When stocked in lakes and ponds, however, grass carp will eat veraciously and have been known to eliminate all green plants. In 1995, approximately 6.5 grass carp per infested acre were stocked into Lake Gaston by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council; 5,000 were added in 1999. No restocking was done until 2003. We were permitted to add 8 per infested acre in 2003 for a total of 25,392 grass carp. An agreement with NCWildlife and VADgif the number of grass carp per acre was increased to 18. In 2019 7,200 were added to the lake in two locations, for 2020 there will not be any added. The Wildlife departments of North Carolina and Virginia have statutory authority to issue permits for stocking of grass carp into public waters. To help control Hydrilla but protect Lake Gaston from excessive plant removal, the departments have agreed to allow the stocking of grass carp of up to 18 grass carp per acre and to review this at the annual TAG meeting.

Fisheries experts agree that it is necessary to maintain desirable plants in the water to provide food and habitat for fish and other wildlife. If too many grass carp were inserted it would be very costly to remove them and to re-vegetate the lake with desirable aquatic plants. Consequently, the current weed management plan is to conduct an intensive weed removal campaign using appropriate chemical herbicides on targeted noxious weeds. In addition, with yearly reviews, grass carp are to be maintained at approximately 1 8 fish per infested acre with the assumption that this number can maintain Hydrilla at low levels without damaging native plants. It is not the goal to eliminate Hydrilla totally but to manage it to about 300-500 acres.

Vegetation Project

The LGWCC began a revegetation program for the past five years. This is headed by the NCWildlife with VAdgif support. LGA volunteers build exclosures out of fencing to keep predators (turtles and grass carp) from eating the plants. These cages are then planted with native vegetation i.e. water lilies, Illinois Pond Weed, ell grass, watershield, spatterdock and other native plants. Currently there are about 50 cages around the lake. They are put in areas out of homeowners areas. This is an annual project and funded by Dominion Power. The end goal is at some point to open these cages up and underwater plants might continue to spread in the lake. We ask all users of the lake to respect these cages and not to damage them in anyway. If turtles get in they can clean out a cage in a matter of weeks. If you would like to participate in this ongoing project use the contact information on this page. It is open to Boy Scouts, students who want to learn about the lake and others.

Note: It is "illegal" to take by any method Grass Carp from Lake Gaston in both Virginia and North Carolina. It is also "illegal" to be in possession of Grass Carp on Lake Gaston in both Virginia and North Carolina.

Lake Gaston Water Clarity Program

The Lake Gaston Association in concert with NCSU has a water clarity project that is ongoing by the use of volunteers across the lake. Results are provided monthly by volunteers. Measuring “water clarity” is a very simple method. You are provided with a Secchi disk and asked to lower it into the water once a week and determine the depth at which you can no longer view it. This measurement is recorded and reported to Al Potter (email: apotter11@gmail.com). This data is plotted and is used to see if there is a correlation between Hydrilla/Lyngbya growth and turbid water. You should feel free to contact Al for information and to volunteer.

E-Coli Testing

The Lake Gaston Association with NCSU monitors about 25-30 sites around the lake for E-Coli. The test kits are provided by the LGA and it is simple to do the testing. Al Potter is the contact for this activity. Email: apotter11@gmail.com.

Contact Info

Lake Gaston Weed Control Council
Jeff Zimmer
110 Crosswinds Circle
Macon, NC

Phone: Wally Sayko: (434) 636-5393
E-mail: info@LGWCC.org

To Report Lyngbya Locations

Send email to wasay1943@gmail.com.
Include photos if possible.
Include street address, subdivision, email address, phone number.
Someone will contact you ASAP.

Weed Control Surveys

Survey Updates

Treatment Plans

Re-Vegetation Plan

The links above link to surveys and treatment plans for weed control on Lake Gaston. You must have an application that can open PDF files in order to read them.

Water Levels on Lake Gaston

The links above are provided as a courtesy only. The LGWCC is in no way affiliated with either site, nor can it guarantee the information provided on those sites is reliable.

Stakeholders

What is it, who are they, and what are they doing?

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Weed Control Resources

Resource Organizations for Weed Control on Lake Gaston...

Resources