The only person talking about hydrilla is a Vance County Cooperative Extension Agent and his message in summary is spray, spray, spray, but only pay to do it. So hydrilla management in the waters of North Carolina is lucrative only to the handful of “approved” herbicide applicators who collect big dollars from the lake-front owners who are trying to keep the encroaching water weed from blocking their boating and swimming areas.
Late in the summer season last year, several pontoon boat owners in Dobson Creek to the west of Hibernia State Recreation Area had to literally “pole” their pontoon boats out beyond hydrilla growth at their docks. Swimming in a hydrilla infested area is almost impossible if not dangerous.
So in his most recent update, Ext Agent Paul McKenzie advocates hiring professional applicators to gain some control. What about the boat ramps and swimming areas at our state recreations areas? No spray, no action.
Consider this, hydrilla concern and control depends on who you talk to:
- The US Army Corps of Engineers – monitoring and studying, but taking no responsibility and no action except to approve applicators
- North Carolina State Parks – (7 Recreation areas, many already affected) – no money, no responsibility
- Virginia State Parks – hydrilla hasn’t arrived so it’s not a problem
Right now fishing groups feel hydrilla provides great cover for fish not realizing that most scientists believe that harmful bacteria and other parasitics can attach to hydrilla and the weed can eliminate some species eventually changing the food chain of a body of water.
Recent campers at some of the recreation areas are now asking questions about the “weedy” bottom of their swimming areas and so far this year the sun and temperature indexes that make hydrilla thrive have not been seen yet.
Meanwhile, property owners, who cannot cut so much as a tree limb without Corp interaction, are left to battle monster kudzu of the water at the mercy of herbicide sprayers.
KERR LAKE PARK WATCH feels that the government sidestep is not fair to the quality of the lake and to the quality of camping, boating and swimming users who have supported and used these parks in some cases for generations. With hydrilla looming in the waters, the question is, “Will generations have the same recreational opportunities in the future?’
The government entities directly responsible for Kerr Lake and for the recreational facilities around the lake should do just that: TAKE A POSITION AND SHOW SOME RESPONSIBILITY.