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Lake Environment Committee

Maintaining the environmental well being of Lake Gaston

If you would like to report an issue regarding aquatic plant species at Lake Gaston, NC/VA, use this link to a Goggle Form. Reported issues will be evaluated by NC State's Extension Associate and considered in any future management plans conducted by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council.

Due to Dominion's Shoreline Management Plan, management of native species (i.e. Water Willow) is currently prohibited. However, by adding your information to the database you will be considered if management actions are permitted in the future.

https://forms.gle/HDETJHXqjLKuArj66

 

 If you have noticed aquatic vegetation in exclosures or cages, you have seen what is being done to establish native vegetation at Lake Gaston. As the level of invasive Hydrilla decreases, providing an opportunity for colonies of native vegetation to take its place is important. These natives help prevent shoreline erosion, improve water quality and provide habitat for invertebrates and fish. These cages help reduce grazing by turtles and grass carp, giving the natives time to get established.

With the exception of 2020 (say “Pandemic”), new cages have been built and native vegetation transplanted from other areas of the lake into the cages.

This collaborative effort is funded by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council and the Sport Fish Restoration Program. LGA volunteers work side by side with staff from NC State University Crop Science, NC Wildlife Commission and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

We will be getting hands on this June 15th-17th. Volunteers typically work in 2-3’ water, pulling up and then transplanting native vegetation, repair existing cages and build new cages. If you would like to get “hands on” for part of a day, or for all three days, let me know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Water, like everything else on Earth, including you, is full of bacteria. Some bacteria are beneficial and some are not. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract and feces of warm-blooded animals.  It is a member of the fecal coliform group of bacteria and is distinguished by its inability to break down easily.  This bacteria is a preferred indicator for freshwater recreation and its presence provides direct evidence of fecal contamination from warm-blooded animals. It can easily be transported in runoff from sources in the watershed. Potential sources are wildlife, farm animals or poorly maintained septic systems.  E. coli can get into the environment, and if contacted by people, can cause health problems and sickness. https://www.usgs.gov/

A simple water test for E. coli, "Easy Gel", is available form Microbiology Labs https://www.micrologylabs.com/ . Easygel  uses a patented Coliscan media, which is a  combination of color-producing chemicals and nutrients that mark coliforms,  E. coli appears in differing colors for easy identification.

The LGA Lake Environment Committee (LEC) has been using Easy Gel  to test Lake Gaston waters since 2017.  The LEC purchases a number of these testing kits and makes them available to anyone who wish to test Lake Gaston water near their residence, swimming area, and or HOA common areas.  Problem areas are identified and action taken to resolve issues.  Results are compiled and provide useful data to demonstrate water quality.

Al Potter will have a number of these test kits available to distribute at our Annual Membership meeting, June 12th 2021. If you can't make it to the meeting, you can contact Al @ 434-689-2749 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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.

Here is a link to the report on the LGWCC web site: 2020_Fall_Lake_Gaston_Vegetation_Survey_Summary.pdf (lgwcc.org)

 

The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) continues to fund herbicide treatments based upon recommendations from a Technical Advisory Group with support from the Lake Gaston Stakeholders Group.  Aqua Services, Inc. www.asilakemanagement.com  was awarded the application contract for Lyngbya Treatments which will increase to +/-300 acres in 2021.  PLM Lake and Land Management Corp. www.plmcorp.net  was once again selected as the application contractor for Hydrilla treatments. No specific treatment areas have been designated at this time for Hydrilla. Should infestations occur, treatments will be scheduled.

The initial treatment took place  April 19th-23rd 

Additional treatments for Lyngbya are scheduled : 

May 17-21st

June 14-18th

July 12-16th

August 16-20th and

September 13-17th 

The products to be used are Captain XTR, Cutrine Ultra, and AMP.  There are no swimming, irrigation, or fish consumption restrictions.

Here is a link to maps showing the specific treatment areas: ArcGIS - 2021 Lake Gaston Lyngbya Treatment Sites