LGA volunteers participated this past fall to survey the entire 350 miles of Lake Gaston shoreline. This was a tremendous effort and “hats off” to all those who participated.
60 volunteers contributed over 400 hours surveying 6,000 sites. This level of sampling is comparable to past years.
75% of sites surveyed contained some form of aquatic vegetation. The aquatic plant community was made up of 63% emergent species, 9% submergent species, 4% floating leaf species, and 23% algal species. Water willow made up the largest percent of the overall vegetation at 44% and has consistently been the most abundant species found throughout the lake since 2018. The most abundant species, water willow, lyngbya, and chara, were all well distributed throughout the lake.
Hydrilla is still located throughout the lake, primarily found in very shallow water, small and patchy sites. Standing acreage of hydrilla is estimated to be 161 acres. Tuber bank surveys show an almost undetectable level with a slightly higher density in Lizard and Hawtree Creeks.
Lyngbya was found at 27% of surveyed sites and is estimated to cover 1285 acres. Lyngbya is the second most prevalent species and has displayed a steady overall increase since 2014.
These results were present to the Technical Advisory Group or TAG on February 13, 2023. TAG then made recommendations for integrated management including Grass Carp stocking, revegetation with natives, and Aquatic Herbicide treatments to the Stakeholders Group on February 22nd, and the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) on March 2nd. Members of the LGA Lake Environment Committee are active participants in this management process.
The report states, Continued yearly surveying of Lake Gaston's aquatic plant community is recommended to monitor growth and distribution in both the native and beneficial communities, as well as, noxious and harmful species.
Thanks again to all who volunteer to make this process successful. Your work is critical to keeping our lake environment healthy!
Here is a link to the presentation that Jessica Baumann, NCSU Extension Associate made to the Stakeholders: http://www.lgwcc.org/pdfFiles/MeetingMinutes/stakeholdersMeetingMinutes-02-21-2023.pdf