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Containment, not eradication, is plan for hydrilla
SoVaNow.com / January 15, 2014Brett Hartis, an aquatic extension agent for Lake Gaston, provided an update on efforts to control the spread of hydrilla in Lake Gaston at the January meeting of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors on Monday.
Hydrilla is the most problematic aquatic weed in the United States, Hartis said. Shade-tolerant, it can remain dormant buried in the sediment at the bottom of the lake for more than six years.
“We cannot eliminate the weed. There are over 3,171 treatable acres, but we only have funding for 1,200 to 1,500 acres per year,” said Hartis. He estimated the annual cost of treating approximately 900 acres of infested Gaston shoreline at $750,000 per year.
At best, he explained, the lake’s hydrilla problem can be contained. For the past five years, Hartis said, “we’ve done a hopscotch effect, treating hydrilla wherever it appears to be most prevalent. But this makes tubers happy. We learned that tubers decrease in years when there is treatment, but increase where there is no treatment. Sustained treatment over a 5- to 6-year period has shown positive results in that there is a 99.5 percent eradication rate.”
Moving forward into 2014, Hartis said his plans are to continue monitoring the noxious weed, establish maintenance levels, incorporate private treatment programs and reintroduce native vegetation into Lake Gaston.
Hartis thanked county supervisors for their ongoing financial support of his programs, and shared that the work being done here locally on hydrilla is drawing international attention.
In other business during the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors in 2014, members elected the board’s leadership and set a schedule of meetings for the rest of the year.
Both Board Chairman Glenn Barbour and Vice Chairman Gregg Gordon were re-elected without opposition. Supervisors also agreed to continue hold their regular monthly meetings on the second Monday of the month, except in October when the meeting falls on a state and federal holiday, Columbus Day, and in November when the meeting conflicts with the annual conference for county officials. The October meeting takes place on Tuesday, October 14, and the November meeting is set for November 3.
Four times each year, supervisors hold a night meeting; otherwise, their meetings begin at 9:30 a.m. at the County Administration Building, 350 Washington St., Boydton. The nighttime meeting begin at 7:00 p.m. and will take place on March 10, June 9, September 8, and December 8.
Mecklenburg County Economic Development Director Angie Kellett introduced Jeff Reed, the new Executive Director of the regional economic development organization known as Virginia’s Growth Alliance, comprised of the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, and the city of Emporia.
Supervisors agreed to give an additional $50,000 to cover a shortfall in funding for MAMaC, a 1,545-acre advanced manufacturing megasite located in Greensville County. Mecklenburg County helps to promote the industrial park in partnership with Greensville County and the City of Emporia.
Supervisors also approved hiring Springsted, Inc. to revise the county’s personnel policies and develop a performance evaluation system, at a cost of $16,000. According to County Administrator Wayne Carter, Mecklenburg’s current personnel policies were adopted in 1987 and the county does not have a performance evaluation system. Springsted expects to have the work completed in 90 days.
Jon Taylor, Emergency Management Coordinator, received authorization to purchase new radio consoles for the 911 Center from Avtec, for $247,754.23; to purchase new 911 equipment buildings for $55,795.11, which includes the cost of setting up and transferring the radios and the electrical work; and to replace the recorder at the 911 Center at a cost of $35,515.
County Treasurer Sandra Langford received approval to institute a new procedure that prevents any person or business owing real estate taxes to Mecklenburg County from receiving certain permits, such as conditional use permits, rezoning requests, or other land-disturbing permits through the building inspector until all back taxes owed to the county are paid in full.
Supervisor Andy Hargrove again called on officials with VDOT to study the intersection of Highway 15 North and U.S. 58 across the lake from downtown Clarksville. “I continue to receive a lot of complaints about this intersection. I know you just completed a study, and made a lot of enhancements, but the people don’t understand why the intersection does not qualify for a stoplight. Even the Clarksville police are raising concerns.
Supervisors learned that Boydton will participate in Historic Garden Week with the Garden Club of Virginia on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Five houses and four gardens in the Boydton area will be open for tours by the public on that day. The Brunswick Garden Club, which is serving as the host for this event, expects to have nearly 800 people tour sites in Boydton as part of the event.
During the Board member comment period, Gregg Gordon updated supervisors on work taking place at the airport in Clarksville. He said the airport commission recently had 10 acres of additional property cleared of trees and brush on the southern side of the Lake Country Regional Airport near Clarksville. Four acres were cleared at the request of the federal government, which paid to have a new automated airport weather station (AWOS) installed. The additional six acres will eventually have new hangers built on them.
David Brankley expressed hope that the joint education committee, with members from the School Board and the Board of Supervisors, can move forward on decisions about repairing or replacing existing school facilities in a “positive” manner.
Claudia Lundy expressed frustration and wanted to know when work would restart on the Tiny Road project, a rural rehab and redevelopment project near South Hill. She also asked for a date certain when work would begin on the Convenience Center at Sullivan Road. Carter told her the delay with the convenience center was due to a problem with the property deed, which VDOT had to fix.
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