Archive for May, 2013

KLPW SAYS CORPS NEEDS TO PUT ON BIG BOY BOOTS FOR HYDRILLA


POSITION STATEMENT by KERR LAKE PARK WATCH


ON THE SUBJECT OF THE CONTINUING SPREAD OF HYDRILLA, A NOXIOUS AQUATIC WEED


FOR THE PUBLIC COMMENT AND RECORD OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AS REQUESTED BY


THE U. S. ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS


Prepared by Frank Timberlake, Lead, Public Affairs, Kerr Lake Park Watch




May 31, 2013


 


ATTN:  Mr. Robert Dennis


U. S. Army Corps of Engineers


1930 Mays Chapel Road


Boydton, Virginia  23917


 


Kerr Lake Park Watch is comprised primarily of 175+ members who camp, swim, picnic, boat, ski and fish at parks operated on Kerr Lake either by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Virginia State Parks or North Carolina State Parks.   Less than three years old, Kerr Lake Park Watch has been successful in several singular parks improvements and joined with numerous organizations to squelch Virginia Uranium mining that could have potential threats to Kerr Lake.  120 members of KLPW keep up with issues on Facebook with many keeping abreast using social media and the organization’s active blog.


 


Not one member has had anything positive to say about Hydrilla.  More importantly, we are unified on one simple point.  The lake belongs outright to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, period.  The Corps has been very slow in acknowledging Hydrilla’s existence.  Only after public inquiry and complaints did the Corps set itself up as the approval center for private citizens to obtain names of certified herbicidal application companies or weed sprayers.  That posture was wrong from the beginning.


 


It is a failed response.  The proof is on the other side of the Kerr dam, Lake Gaston.  Wrongly, the Corps has folded its arms and stated it doesn’t have funding.  Imperative and impactful research on a real containment solution, the use of microbials, was halted at the Corps’ Water Resource Center in Vicksburg, MS.


 


The Corps needs to put Hydrilla and its control, if not containment, on a priority list and work with federal legislators to get funding, but first the Corps of Engineers must take responsibility and say, “it is our problem.”  The Corps will find that many state agencies may want to help, but they all know it is not their place to lead.  Anything less than a full assault on Hydrilla by the Corps, leaves the lake’s landowners and the lessees of the public lands at the mercy of the “approved” sprayers.


 


When the boat ramp areas shut down because no one can get a boat in or out of the lake, when the kids and their families quit coming to the lake because they can’t swim, when the news media starts carrying a Hydrilla-related drowning death toll, when all that starts happening, it will be too late to lament the huge loss of life, the loss of revenue from tourism and the close of countless businesses in two states that depend on that lake for their livelihood.


 


U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, it’s time to step up and put on your big-boy boots, or you can take the typical federal government posture and run like hell!


 

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KERR LAKE PARK WATCH SUGGESTS VIRGINIA STATE PARKS KEEP CAMPING RESERVATIONS SYSTEM AS IS


Following of one of the biggest camping weekends in America, Kerr Lake Park Watch goes on record against changing the Virginia State Parks reservation system for booking campsites that are site specific.  Being studied right now by DCR, the change to the reservation system could impact Occoneechee State Park and Staunton River State Park on Kerr Lake.


Emailed surveys from Virginia State Parks headquarters are circulating to people who have camped in a VA state park within the last year.  Circulated by the State Parks Visitor Services Manager, Nancy Heltman, the gist of the survey is to find out if campers who use Virginia State Parks like the current system that allows a camper to make a reservation in advance by phone or online and choose an available site upon arrival.  The change being considered would let a camper book a specific site in advance.


“We are already fighting this on the North Carolina side of Kerr Lake,” said KLPW’s spokesman, Frank Timberlake.  “We showed the NC State Parks people where allowing site specific booking led to ‘weekend cherry-picking’ of the most popular sites. NC went from a 7-day minimum, assuring that vacationers came first, to a two-night site specific booking system and we showed them with a legal pad and pen the huge loss – ‘Seven minus two leaves five.’  Campers booking longer periods should arrive and get to choose their sites right then, right there, very simple.”


In her email announcement, Heltman says, “an increasing number of our camping customers are requesting the ability to select their specific campsite at the time they make their reservation.  While we are sensitive to these requests they still represent a very small minority of our campers.”  “The flexibility we have now in campground management with non-site specific reservations has made us reluctant to make this change.”  “Making a change from non-site specific reservations is a significant undertaking and one that would be difficult to undo should we take that path… ” She added that the survey comes out of response to more requests for site specific bookings.


Timberlake added, “Virginia needs to take that knowledge and know that it is a simple, effective and efficient system:  1) a camper calls or goes online, 2) the phone rep or the computer shows there is one or more available sites that will work, 3) the camper reserves and pays for a site right then, and 4) later on, the camper goes to the park, picks out the best available site and voila!  We at Kerr Lake Park Watch think they already have the answer; it’s working so leave it alone.”


The survey link is IP address sensitive and can only be used once by the recipient which prevents anyone from weighting it or voting twice.  Campers and park users can request a link to the survey from the Department of Conservation and Recreation general email address: pco@dcr.virginia.gov or nancy.heltman@dcr.virginia.gov.  The comment period ends on June 15.


### – End –


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

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - Occoneechee State Park, KLPW- Staunton River State Park

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KLPW PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON HYDRILLA RESPONSE TO CORPS

We are reviewing comments here on the blog, on Facebook and from emails to put the finishing touches on our position on HYDRILLA for the Environmental Assessment and its permanent record for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Public comment can be made through Friday, May 31, 2013.

You can respond below in the comments section or email us at info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org
WE WANT YOUR INPUT & FEEDBACK:

_____YES  _____NO – The US Army Corps of Engineers is 100% responsible for managing hydrilla

_____YES  _____NO – There should be a cooperative effort of federal, state and local governments managing hydrilla in Kerr Lake

_____YES  _____NO – Hydrilla should be managed or controlled by whoever owns or leases the shoreline

_____YES  _____NO – I could care less about hydrilla.  Move on to the next issue.

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10 DAY WARNING – TO MAKE COMMENT ON HYDRILLA TO US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

It’s very simple.  You have ten days to make your voice heard on the issue of Hydrilla in Kerr Lake in response to the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Assessment.  If you do not respond, things are likely to stay the same which means the continued spread of Hydrilla in Kerr Lake.

The position of Kerr Lake Park Watch is simple.  The lake belongs outright to the US Army Corps of Engineers, period.  The Corps has been slow to acknowledge hydrilla’s existence and then set itself up as the approval center for spray control activities by private entities.  KLPW sees this posture as unacceptable.

Whatever your particular beliefs or position, understand that this is the federal government and without public input, nothing will happen, nothing will change except continued Band-Aid treatments.

You can read the EA in its entirety at:


http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Locations/DistrictLakesandDams/JohnHKerr/NaturalResources/AquaticVegetationManagement.aspx


Written comments regarding this Environmental Assessment should be sent to the address
or e-mail below. Questions may be directed to Mr. Robert Dennis at 434-738-6101 extension
160 or e-mail below.
Mr. Robert Dennis
US Army Corps of Engineers Or e-mail to
JHKERR@usace.army.mil
1930 Mays Chapel Road
Boydton, Virginia 23917

or find this info on page 43 of the USACE Environmental Assessment

Posted in: KLPW - Hydrilla Information, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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KERR LAKE WATER CONTROL HARDER TO PREDICT THAN LOTTERY

Although the weekend looks wet, the Kerr Lake level is going down. The guide curve was modified several years ago to keep young virgin Cyprus trees in Eastern North Carolina from drowning every year.

The water release downstream has been and is impressive in the last week. Who knows?

If you are boating be sure to remember that going near shore can be dangerous, especially near parks and public areas as fireplaces, picnic tables and many other items are under water.


Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - Corps of Engineers Campgrounds, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED, KLPW - Water Safety

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