By the time you read this article the Lake Gaston Association (LGA) Volunteer Survey of aquatic vegetation around the Lake Gaston shoreline will be well underway. The survey is conducted by volunteers who all have something in common – a desire to help maintain the water quality in Lake Gaston. The results of the annual survey are used by the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) to help guide the next year’s invasive/nuisance species treatment plan. Without the ongoing management and annual treatment of aquatic vegetation by the LGWCC and NCSU, there is the potential for invasive/nuisance vegetation to spread uncontrolled across the lake and connecting creeks. Currently, while hydrilla is under control, the species of greatest concern is lyngbya which is a blue-green algae that has toxic properties.
Lyngbya from Lake Gaston Hydrilla from Lake Gaston
Through the efforts of the LGWCC, NCSU, the LGA and the many other supporting stakeholders, relatively small populations of hydrilla are still lurking in many upper creek areas waiting for the opportunity to “breakout” and spread as it did in years past. Both lyngbya and hydrilla are listed in the 2015 North Carolina Aquatic Nuisance Species Management plan as higher priority concerns. Only continued vigilance and effort will prevent a future catastrophe in the form of uncontrolled invasive/nuisance vegetation spreading across Lake Gaston. Property owners around the lake often ask how they can ensure shoreline around their property is considered by the LGWCC and NCSU for treatment of aquatic invasive/nuisance species. One way is to volunteer for the annual LGA Volunteer Vegetation Survey. The program always needs additional help to ensure that the lake shoreline is adequately assessed so priority treatment areas can be identified. To find out more about the survey, go the LGA Environment Committee website at https://www.lgancva.com/lake-gaston-committees/lake-environment-committee.html. To volunteer for future surveys, complete the electronic signup form at https://forms.gle/JaBqTo7bqcqHaBDk9.