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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  1. Jerry R. August 15, 2011

    So you’re telling me that nobodys really doing anything to get the weed cleaned up.


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