Answers provided by members of the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council on controlling weeds in lakes. You can download a copy of the FAQs and Answers by clicking here.
Who makes the decision on which area is treated?
The final approval for the annual plan is made by the Lake Gaston Weed Council board of voting directors of which there are 3 for each of the 5 counties. The plan begins with a review of the annual survey by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). It then moves to the Stake Holders group for their final input and approval. The plan allows for changes made by the appointed applicator for that year along with input from Seapro the provider of the chemicals to be used in certain areas. This plan this is presented to the council for approval normally in May of each year.
Our area was treated 2 years ago. When will we be treated again?
The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council does not treat each area on a regular schedule. The decision to treat a specific area depends on several factors: The results of the annual Remetrix Lake Survey, degree of infestation, water depth and water flow. These are all critical to the use of the time release chemical Sonar. It is very important that if you do receive public treatment that you follow up in subsequent years with private treatment. Hydrilla can only be controlled by continuous and contiguous treatment by both public and private applications. Grass carp are used in waters that are too deep and water flow to strong for chemical treatment. Attempts are made to treat new areas each year, but the mission of the council is to make the most effective use of the funds available.
If I contract for private treatment will that eliminate me from public treatment?
All contractors currently on the lake honor a contract if it moves to public treatment. They will normally offer to roll the contract for a year or return your money. As a note, it is illegal for any contractor to double treat an area. This will have negative effects on plants and animal life in the water. You as the contracting person should also assure you have written documentation that your applicator has notified Dominion Power of the treatment areas and with what chemical.
Mats of Hydrilla are blocking my boat dock and I cannot get my boat out for fishing, what can I do?
There is not an agency on the lake that has a charter to remove floating mats of Hydrilla. These break loose when the weed dies on the surface breaks loose and then by the water flow is carried along. We encourage property owners to notify us of their locations and do your best to remove them from the water. These mats carry the seed pods (turions) and will re seed wherever it drops those seed pods.
How do I know what areas were selected for treatment?
There are several places to attain this information. The LGWCC website is the primary site. Also you will find it on the selected applicators web page. It will also be published in the Lake Gaston Association (LGA) bulletin and the various local newspapers around the lake. Most important if you can attend the council meetings you will see first hand all the steps to the process. These are posted on the web sites of the weed council and the LGA. Also, notices are placed on the boat docks of the treatment areas notifying owners when the 3 treatments will take place.
Why is there not more grass carp used on the for controlling weeds in Lake Gaston?
This is a great question.....there have been many suggestions made by property owners to increase the amount of fish that are put into the lake. Simply put too much of a good thing could become a bad thing. The approach on the lake with input from North Carolina State University and others is one of balance of not just fish but chemicals with the end vision of re-vegetation in many parts of the lake with native plants. The current level of grass carp is 15 fish per infected acre. This is a number that has been agreed to by both NC and VA wildlife agencies. This does vary from year to year based upon how many infected acres of Hydrilla is reported each year. Recently we have increased the locations were fish are inserted.
I have heard so many things about grass carp. How do we know what they do?
It is certainly understandable why anyone would be somewhat confused. The weed council was also. In the past 3 years we have had Virginia Tech do a study on grass carp. We wanted to know how far they traveled after being released, what is the mortality rate and if in fact they are eating Hydrilla. They inserted GPS type sensors in the fish prior to being released and each fish transponder had a different code and sent out signals several times a minute. We found they traveled as far a 4 to 6 miles but the norm was about 1 to 2 miles from release. Thus the determination to increase our release points. A mortality rate was determined. Actually sensors were found on land after predator birds captured the fish and ate them. This mortality rate caused NC State to adjust the planned mortality rate to a higher one. We also conducted a survey of bow hunting grass carp with clubs on the lake and took a key part of the fish (otilith) to determine the age of the fish in reference to its size. This assured us they were eating Hydrilla.
How is the LGWCC funded?
The LGWCC is the only entity on the lake that can receive funds for public use. The sources for funds come from several locations. The five (5) counties are the largest contributors at about $116,000 per county. However, in the last few years we have seen some counties lower their contribution dramatically. The City of Virginia Beach contributes on the average about $250,000 per year. The state of N.C. matches some of the funds at about $100,000 per year. The council received little to none from the Federal Government or the state of Virginia. Dominion Power is a partner and typically will pay for the cost of the grass carp or re-vegetation efforts. The total funds collected in any given year is about 1.2 million dollars. This amount is down from previous years due to the cut back from some counties. This makes it difficult to treat all the areas that the council would like to. GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT...
What are all the wire cages we see in parts of the lake?
These are cages that enclose new native plants. They are monitored to see how well they reproduce and survive the weather and animals. Some cages in the future will be opened up to see the effect of fish, turtles and other animals on the crop. This is an ongoing effort with North Carolina Wildlife, the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council and the Lake Gaston Association. We are careful not to put certain plants close to any property owners locations. These sites will be enlarged or additional ones added in coming years. If a private owner wishes to have some of these plants they can request it thru the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council.
I have Water Willow on my shoreline, can I remove it?
The answer is yes and no. Clarification: Water Willow is a protected species on the lake by Dominion Power. Therefore you need their permission to remove it. You should review the Shoreline Protection Plan on Dominions website for further information. Without their permission the answer is "no".
Lake Gaston Weed Control Council
110 Crosswinds Circle
Phone: Wally Sayko: (434) 636-5393
Report Issues with Aquatic Plants on Lake Gaston
To report aquatic plant issues on Lake Gaston, please fill in the following form:
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.