Updated: March 23, 2021
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR), Appalachian Power Company (Appalachian) and the Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC) continue to work cooperatively in the management of aquatic vegetation at Smith Mountain Lake. Representatives from the organizations met last week and reviewed their shared goals including the need to manage and control non-native, aggressive vegetation in the lake to minimize impacts to fish, wildlife, habitats, and recreation, and to enhance native aquatic vegetation growth for the overall health of the lake and its fish population.
TLAC will continue to manage the treatment for invasive aquatic vegetation in the lake. Prior to 2013, herbicides were used to control invasive weeds such as Hydrilla. However, last year TLAC stocked 6,000 sterile grass carp in the lake to manage the Hydrilla in consideration of environmental, safety, recreation, and cost factors. Reports and surveys showed less invasive aquatic vegetation in the lake in 2013. This reduction was likely due to both environmental (greater turbidity and higher water levels) factors as well as the stocking of the sterile grass carp.
The three organizations will closely monitor the growth of invasive aquatic vegetation at the lake this summer to determine if any additional treatment is required. If the group believes that immediate action is necessary, TLAC has contracts in place to utilize contact herbicides or to stock additional sterile grass carp.
At the end of the season, these organizations will review the aquatic vegetation data collected during the season including surveys conducted for Appalachian, diver surveys conducted for TLAC, resident reports, and staff reviews. This information will help identify trends and triggers to be utilized in determining future appropriate aquatic vegetation management actions at SML.
Boaters are reminded to examine all equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, buckets, and other in-water objects and to remove all visible mud, plants, and fish/animals. This will lessen chances that non-native vegetation is inadvertently introduced into the lake.
Lake property owners are reminded that a permit from Appalachian Power Company is needed before aquatic vegetation can be treated. Property owners are encouraged to first report the vegetation to TLAC at 540-721-4400.