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Opinion

Rush job on hydrilla problem?

SoVaNow.com / November 07, 2012
Dear Viewpoint:

It has taken the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers years to admit a need to study the growing hydrilla problem in the John H Kerr Reservoir which it owns and operates. For a time the Corps maintained a “wait and see” attitude on hydrilla. Kerr Lake Park Watch has been calling for action from the Corps for nearly two years and now the Corps suddenly has decided to call for an Environmental Assessment on hydrilla, an invasive, aquatic weed.

The trick is that all public comment on hydrilla must be in writing and be in to the Corps by November 26th of this year. There’s a rush by the Corps in only giving the public a 30-day window for responding to its input invitation. The 30-day window comes in the middle of an election year, hurricanes and the Thanksgiving holiday. After that it is anyone’s guess if the public will have further input in what the Corps does. It is also unclear if the public will be allowed to give testimony during two public meetings on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15 (see article, page A11).

Even in its invitational letter the Corps of Engineers now admits that eradication or elimination of hydrilla is virtually impossible leaving the lake and lake users of Kerr Lake to attempting to control the weed’s growth.

For a number of years the weed has been spreading from cove to cove and creek to creek. Last year, a report prepared by scientists at NC State University showed the growth and extent of hydrilla was far wider than previously suspected.

Hydrilla is particularly annoying with regard to boat launching from shore and docks for park users and land owners around Kerr Lake. It clogs engines. Some experts say it poses a threat to swimmers. Those aspects have been witnessed and/or experienced first-hand by many campers who are members of KLPW.

There is much more information about hydrilla on the KLPW website: http://www.kerrlakeparkwatch.org.

Frank Timberlake
Lead, Public Affairs
KERR LAKE PARK WATCH
Office (919) 269-4300


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