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Courtesy of Pam Dinkle
Jim Harvey, TLAC Environmental Committee member, assists with the setup for the stocking of grass carp. The carp were released into SML last week to help control hydrilla.
Friday, April 5, 2013
In an effort to combat the aquatic weed hydrilla, 6,000 sterile grass carp were released into Smith Mountain Lake early last week.
Pam Dinkle, lake management and project coordinator for the Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission, said the fish were released along the Blackwater River, where hydrilla has been found in the past few years. She said TLAC is “cautiously optimistic” that the plant-eating fish will begin to control the invasive aquatic weeds as early as this summer.
Dinkle said the release last week will be the only one this year. Depending on the results, more fish could be stocked in years to come.
Hydrilla spreads rapidly and is difficult to control. It first was found in SML in 2007 in just a few acres. Since then, it has spread to almost 200 acres of the lake, according to Dinkle. In previous years, TLAC has hired licensed herbicide applicators to treat the weed. Sterile grass carp have been used successfully in lakes across the country for the control of hydrilla. The fish were purchased for $33,000 by TLAC, a group of citizen, government and business representatives from Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties, after it received a permit from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to stock them.
The fish, ranging in size from 14-16 inches, were supplied by J.M. Malone and Son in Arkansas.
For more information about TLAC’s aquatic vegetation program at SML, including flyers about hydrilla and triploid grass carp, visit TLAC’s website at www.sml.us.com.
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