Restocking of grass carp in Lake Norman appears likely

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Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 5:00 am

The Lake Norman Marine Commission is more confident now about receiving the green light to restock Asian grass carp this year to deal with the lake’s hydrilla weed problem.

“We are going to get the grass carp,” said LNMC Assistant Director Bob Elliott at last week’s monthly meeting of the lake regulatory board. “We just don’t know how many.”

There is a deadline, which marine commission members worry about. In order to successfully stock the lake with the sterilized fish, it needs to be done before May, Elliott said. What the marine commission is waiting for is a state permit to stock the fish and a decision about state funding.

At their February meeting, commissioners said they were determined not to let another year pass without restocking the lake, even if it meant their board had to pay for it.

Lake Norman was not restocked with Asian grass carp in 2012, because the state said there was no money for it. And lst month, commission members expressed their fears that too many years without the sterilized fish to eat the invasive submersed hydrilla plants would harm the natural plant life in the lake, water intake systems and people’s ability to boat or swim.

“The science for using, for continually using grass carp is undisputable,” said LNMC Chairman Rich Permenter.

Commissioner John Marino said Lake Norman had continued to be a success because of the grass carp program, which, in his opinion, was much better than dumping herbicide chemicals into Lake Norman.

Also at the lake board meeting, Duke Energy Hydro Licensing Project Manager Joe Kluttz gave commissioners an update on the beginning of the utility company’s inspection of piers and structures on the western shore of Lake Norman.

Duke Energy’s license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for hydroelectric power also regulates the permitting of piers, seawalls and other activities for recreational use of the lake. Lake Norman currently has a total of 11,000 permitted structures.

The first day of inspections – last Monday -- turned up 46 structures in need of repair, Kluttz said. Property owners of structures identified as hazardous are notified through the mail that they need to either make repairs or remove the structure from the lake, he said.

About 227 hazardous structures were identified during Duke’s survey of the eastern shore. Kluttz said most of those structures have been either removed or repaired.

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