Archive for August, 2011


SCOTTSBURG – Since an EF-2 tornado struck Staunton River State Park on April 16 of this year, the park’s trails have remained closed to the public. Recently, a section of trail that leads from the campground to a popular fishing spot has reopened, thanks to the efforts of a Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps crew.

It took just minutes for this powerful tornado to cut a swath of destruction through the park, with over 100 acres of forest destroyed.

Miraculously, most of the park’s public facilities were spared the tornado’s wrath.

After a herculean clean-up effort by park staff and volunteers, as well as salvage support from H & M Lumber Company, the park’s pool   opened on schedule for Memorial Day weekend. The park’s boat launch area, campground and picnic facilities were also opened.



Unfortunately, sections of the park’s multi-use trail system were left unrecognizable by downed trees and debris, a lasting reminder of nature’s fury. Trails have remained closed because of the potential danger to users.

Visitors to the park earlier this summer might have seen some of the timber salvage operation in action. Now, although the heavy equipment has moved away from the main road, the tornado cleanup is continuing in less public areas of the park.

This YCC crew, consisting of 10 youth and two supervisors, began work July 25. Their first task was to clear debris and restore fencing around the district office building. Once that was done, the all female crew moved on to clearing debris from the trail which connects the campground to the River Bank Trail in the park.

While the main trail will remain closed for now, campers can once again enjoy one of the park’s most popular fishing locations on the bank of the Staunton River. Crew members returned home after graduation August 13, having made a visible difference during their three-week stay.


Each summer, Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps provides an opportunity for youth to live and work in a park. Traveling from around Virginia and beyond, crew members learn about conservation and the environment while completing projects in our parks. They also find time for fun activities, such as canoeing, swimming, and visiting other state parks and area attractions.

For more information about Virginia State Parks’ Youth Conservation Corps, or to make reservations for Virginia State Parks, visit, or call 800-933-PARK.

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SCOTTSBURG July 13 2011 – At a brief ceremony in the park’s office, Staunton River State Park Manager Joshua R. Ellington was presented a copy of a Senate Joint Resolution commending him for his actions when an April 16 tornado hit the park. The resolution was presented by Senator William M. Stanley Jr., 19th District – Glade Hill. Stanley introduced the resolution passed by both houses of the General Assembly April 27-28.

         (Shown L to R Josh Ellington, State Senator William Stanley, and Delegate James Edmunds)

            The resolution commends Ellington for “dedication to the safety of Staunton River State Park guests” as he took “decisive action that helped protect guests from harm or fatal injuries in the midst of a powerful tornado.”

            Ellington was working in the park on the afternoon of April 16 when he received warning that a potential tornado was approximately 20 minutes from the park. He immediately canvassed the park’s campground and cabin areas and moved everyone to the visitor center for safety. While checking the boat ramp and the park’s shorelines for additional visitors Ellington was caught in the storm and its 120 mile per hour winds. He waited out the storm while lying on the floor of his truck as trees fell around and on the vehicle.

            “Josh showed tremendous courage, putting the safety of his guests above his own,” said Sen. Stanley. “It is because of Josh’s quick thinking, unselfishness and heroic actions that no one was injured during this E2 tornado.”

            After the storm passed Ellington elicited help from and organized about 100 search and rescue volunteers who were training in the park to search for potentially stranded or injured visitors. He then worked with outside volunteers to clear the park’s access road.

            “Josh’s decisions and actions went well beyond the call of duty,” said David Johnson, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. “His actions since April 16 have continued to show his exceptional dedication to the park and his community.” Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

            The tornado devastated more than 100 acres of the park, shutting down a number of the park’s trails. Ellington was instrumental in organizing a salvage logging operation that cleared the land at no cost to the state. He also organized several well-attended volunteer clean up days to help open the park in time to celebrate its 75th birthday in June.


MODERATOR’S NOTE:  Pat Eastwood is the Visitor Services Specialist for Virginia State Parks, District 5 that covers two KLPW parks, Staunton River State Park and Occoneechee State Park and a contributor to KLPW.  As such she contributes public relations efforts for those parks and has posted this news release distributed by VA Senator Stanley’s office.

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Nearly 100 people, most of them Kerr Lake homeowners, crowded a Satterwhite Point meeting room Thursday evening, August 11th as presenters discussed hydrilla, first giving a history of the aquatic weed’s introduction into North Carolina, then talking about its effects on fresh water and finally treatment options. KLPW attended as well.

Vance County Ag Extension Agent Paul McKenzie said that resulting from a makeshift survey using rake heads on ropes in boats that a cross-section group of government officials and volunteers has mapped about 46 miles of hydrilla infected shoreline on Kerr Lake.  That translates to an estimated infected area of between 280 and 560 acres of the lake.  McKenzie pointed out that the effort is a non-scientific survey, but most officials think it’s a good estimate.



If attendance were rounded to 100, then about 85 attendees were all homeowners with the balance being representatives of various government agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers, NC DENR, NC & Virginia Wildlife, Fish and Game, NC State Parks and aquatic herbicide applicator company representatives.

Thus, the impetus of the meeting was on treatment of the areas around homeowners’ beaches, swimming areas and boat docks.  McKenzie told the group how to take samples for submission to the extension service for analysis and confirmation.  Both he and the other main speaker, Steve Hoyle, NCSU Crop Science Research Specialist, suggested the spraying of herbicides by licensed and US Army Corps of Engineers approved applicators.  Hoyle emphasized that ANYONE must use professional herbicide applicators.  He also said that treatment, once begun, must continue infinitely.

Hoyle said that hydrilla pretty much lives between five and fifteen feet from the shoreline of an infected area. It actively grows through “tuber” expansion from April to October.  Later, during a Q&A session, one speaker mentioned doing a water level draw down to attach hydrilla. When Hoyle explained that would need to occur around July 1, there was a unanimous crowd moan.

About eradication or removal of hydrilla from Kerr Lake Hoyle said, “There are NO answers for getting hydrilla out of Kerr Lake.”  Hoyle added that not withstanding the tenacious and aggressive nature of hydrilla, there are some strong complications to management, being that while some water users from a source such as Kerr Lake are vocally opposed to the existence and spread of the weed; some others either are not opposed or indifferent.


  • OPPOSED – SHORELINE LAKE USERS & WATER’S EDGE USERS – typically picnickers, swimmers, skiers, homeowners, marina & boat slip holders, recreational boaters, personal watercraft operators and the like.
  • INDIFFERENT – POWER GENERATORS (US Army Corps of Engineers @ Kerr – power companies or hydro electric owners tend to not worry about noxious, aquatic weeds in a reservoir unless it interferes with turbine operation.
  • IN FAVOR – SPORT FISHERMAN – typically in Kerr Lake bass and crappie fisherman who desire as much underwater cover as possible, especially where the shoreline comes into play.           


Since there were two fairly long slide presentations, KLPW took a summary from NC State’s website as to the negative effects of hydrilla as most of these were highlighted in the meeting.  Hydrilla:

    â€¢ crowds out beneficial native vegetation,

    â€¢ blocks irrigation and drainage canals,

    â€¢ increases sedimentation in flood control reservoirs,

    â€¢ interferes with public water supplies,

    â€¢ harbors the vectors of human and animal diseases,

    â€¢ impedes commercial fishing and navigation,

    â€¢ blocks docks, marinas, and boat launching sites,

    â€¢ makes recreational activities such as swimming, boating, skiing,

      and sport fishing difficult and dangerous if not impossible.

The good news is that hydrilla cannot live in salt water.  The bad news is that in addition to fresh water, hydrilla can live in semi-fresh or brackish water. So far, hydrilla has not made into the estuaries of North Carolina’s precious seafood breeding grounds, but the speakers did say that hydrilla has reached the Albemarle Sound.

Regarding Kerr Lake since most of the meeting focused on homeowner treatments, a consensus emerged that homeowners may need to form some sort of aquatic weed control group to organize efforts. KLPW

Posted in: KLPW - Hydrilla Information

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NEWS 14 Carolina’s Heather Moore covered the latest hydrilla meeting at Kerr Lake.  See her report at:



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Virginia Uranium Offers Traveling Mobile Exhibit

Virginia Uranium Offers Traveling Mobile Exhibit


Virginia Uranium Inc. has developed a traveling mobile exhibit to share
information with the public about plans to mine and mill a 119 million pound
uranium deposit at Coles Hill in northeastern Pittsylvania County.

Stewart East, a geology technician for VUI, designed the 22-foot colorful
mobile unit headlining “Jobs for Virginia, Fuel for America.”

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:

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Posted in: KLPW - Uranium Mining Upstream from Kerr Lake

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Click on the link to read the Washington Post story about changes in the one of the three main rivers of Kerr Lake.

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It’s like that at Harris Lake, too. That’s why we stopped going there. It gets hung up in your fishing line, your boat prop, etc. And it’s a nightmare for water skiers. It can transport itself from one lake to another, via boat trailers. When we backed our boat up, it would wrap itself around the boat trailer, so we had to make sure we cleaned the trailer afterward, as not to infect, another lake. I wish people would treat their boats, trucks, and trailers, like they do at the ocean. When we take our equipment to the beach (boat/trailer/truck) we always wash the sea salt off after we return home. I wish people would be just as diligent with lake water contaminants. – C Kondakor

Posted in: KLPW - Similar Circumstances/Situations at other Locations

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At KLPW we are interested in seeing the hydrilla situation brought to the attention of all stakeholders, plain and simple.  Our media friends are doing a good job of that.  Below is a sample that shows a clip from and on MONDAY OR TUESDAY morning between 8:15 and 8:30 AM, LISTEN LIVE to Vance/Warren Extension Agent Paul McKenzie with Greg Thrift on 3WD Radio – 107.7.  KLPW

Posted in: KLPW - Hydrilla Information, KLPW - MAIN NEWS

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FOMOINFO – Hydrilla in Kerr Lake

Before next week’s meeting at Satterwhite Point, we thought it would be good to bring our members and readers up to date with more information about hydrilla. 

One group of experts on hydrilla at the US Army Corps of Engineers, ERDC lab at Vicksburg, MS informed KLPW that hydrilla comes in many different forms or types.  Combatants that work further south won’t work as well as in NC and VA.  Microbials have not yet been developed to the point of being successful as an eradication program.

Back to the basics.  In the next short while, KLPW is going to provide you some insight from more local expert perspectives from NCSU and Cooperative Extension.

For the immediate, here is a link to more information about hydrilla and hydrilla in Kerr Lake.

There will be more information coming.  All of this info should be of more help in your understanding of hydrilla and especially helpful if you are attending the THURSDAY, AUGUST 11 HYDRILLA UPDATE MEETING.


Posted in: KLPW - Hydrilla Information, KLPW - MAIN NEWS

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