August, 2012   info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org             COPY OF NEWS RELEASE TO MEDIA


Treatment for hydrilla said to be helpful not harmful bringing better news and hopefully some relief for boaters and swimmers.  Corps official provides confirmation about Kerr Lake’s water quality and hydrilla treatments.

A support and improvements group for the park facilities on the shoreline of Kerr Lake is giving praise to NC State Parks officials for taking quick action attacking the invasive and potentially dangerous aquatic weed, Hydrilla.  KERR LAKE PARK WATCH (KLPW) is praising the recent herbicide treatments to shorelines at Kimball Point, Henderson Point, and Hibernia to help stunt the growth of Hydrilla which tangles around boat motors and can potentially entangle a swimmer.

“Kerr Lake State Recreation Area Superintendent Bryce Fleming did excellent work in securing emergency funds from the state and overseeing some critical applications,” said Frank Timberlake, the Public Affairs Lead for KLPW.  “In this case, the good heavily outweighs the potential of any bad, which is yet unknown and therefore does not exist. “

The spraying brought out opposing sides.  Encouraging the treatment, park user Mike Sawaya said, “I hope the State Parks participate in the eradication effort as available to “water front” property owners. This non-native invasive weed is completely changing the lake camping experience.”  Camper, boater and skier Larry Matthews, plagued by heavy growth of Hydrilla in Dobson Creek, was eager to see some help applied to the explosive growth of Hydrilla and voiced his support for Hydrilla treatment.

Conversely, Tom O’Neal wrote to KLPW and stated in part, “Spraying poison into Kerr Lake so little Johnny and little Susie can go swim in it. I surely would not let my kids swim in poisoned water that some government agent said was safe.”

KLPW has received a number of questions from Kerr Lake visitors with regard to the water quality and the use of herbicides in treating the hydrilla problem.  Within the past few days, KLPW also received updated information from Operations Project Manager Michael Womack who oversees Kerr Lake for the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Asked about the water quality of Kerr Lake, Womack commented, “Kerr Lake is safe for swimming. There are no health advisories/warnings issued from the state regarding swimming in Kerr Lake. The Corps tests for Fecal Coliform (E. Coli) at all of our swim beaches. This testing is not a state standard or requirement but rather a Corps policy to ensure the health of our visitors. VADEQ (Virginia) and NCDENR (North Carolina) are responsible for monitoring overall water quality in the reservoir. They sample dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, bacteria, heavy metals in fish tissue, etc. and issue any health advisories accordingly.”

Switching to the Hydrilla treatment process, Womack added, “All chemicals have EPA approved application guidelines and if applied accordingly by a certified applicator they will not pose human or environmental hazards. Once a herbicide is diluted according to label instructions for application into an aquatic environment, herbicides labeled for aquatic use are considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”  Waterfront home owners can hire an approved applicator but the public areas were left out of any treatments until Superintendent Fleming took action.

KLPW’s Timberlake added, “Womack, the Colonel in charge of the Corp’s Wilmington District and the relative state agencies cannot afford to be wrong about any facet of the water in Kerr Lake.  Therefore, we clearly support Michael’s information and opinion on this matter.  We’re not a ‘yes’ group because we do not agree on every issue, but that’s what building a great forum for consensus is all about, isn’t it? KERR LAKE PARK WATCH would like to see the Corps of Engineers take quicker affirmative action and more responsibility towards eradication and elimination of Hydrilla but that takes time. In the meantime, the water monitoring tests need to continue.   A newly released NCSU study commissioned by the Corps is just getting a handle on where the dreaded water weed exists and in what growth quantities.  We’d still like to see them take more of a lead position.  KLPW appreciates the fortuitous move by KLSRA Superintendent Fleming and hopes that his superiors will support his beginning efforts and that the state will provide continued treatment funds.”

Links to the complete US Army Corps of Engineers Hydrilla survey report conducted by NCSU and more detailed commentary can be found on www.kerrlakeparkwatch.org.


Names and contacts of public officials with Kerr Lake management responsibilities can be furnished by contacting KLPW at info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Leave a Comment (0) ↓

Leave a Comment