Officials Say Guntersville Reservoir Weed Control Will Benefit All County Residents

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Marshall County officials say the plan to resume control of all the weeds in the Guntersville reservoir will benefit everyone in the county.

Marshall County officials say TVA’s announcement is good news and much-anticipated, but Marshall County Commission Chair James Hutcheson says it is particularly beneficial to everyone who lives in the county. “We get a large portion of the property tax from the shoreline, residential shoreline properties,” Hutcheson says.

Hutcheson says not controlling the weeds adequately in the reservoir will make those shoreline property values decrease. That in turn, will make the property taxes decrease.

The revenue the county gets from property taxes goes to several different entities in the county. “Property tax goes to schools, it goes to the general fund, it goes to the Sheriff’s Department, the jail,” Hutcheson says.

Hutcheson says keeping the shoreline property values up is vital, because those particular properties on the lake bring in substantially more taxes than properties elsewhere in the county.

Over the last several years TVA has only sprayed the weeds in the public areas of the Guntersville Reservoir. Residents were responsible for their own property.  Hutcheson says TVA’s recent announcement is what Marshall and Jackson County officials have been hoping for.

“They agreed to come in for a six-year period and take back over like they were doing several years ago,” Hutcheson says.

Eventually, a board made up of a variety of representatives who have an interest in the lake will take over the responsibility of spraying the private areas of the reservoir.

In the meantime, TVA will contract out the spraying and controlling of the weeds to a company, but they’re going to closely monitor what chemicals are used and how it’s done.

“The TVA will control the chemicals that are going into the reservoir, so make sure they are all approved,” Hutcheson says.

Hutcheson says having one entity spraying the approved chemicals throughout the reservoir is much safer than when residents were responsible for controlling the weeds on their properties.

“We have no control over what an individual puts into the reservoir,” Hutcheson says, “I’ve even heard of people putting antifreeze around their boathouse, chemicals like that.”

Multiple cities use the water in the lake, so officials say monitoring what goes into it is vital. “It’s very important that we protect the reservoir, and we don’t put any kind of chemicals that can damage our water supply or hurt our fish,” Hutcheson says.

The TVA will begin controlling the weeds in the reservoir this summer.

In the meantime, officials from Marshall and Jackson counties are working to formulate the board that will eventually govern the private-area spraying once TVA completely stops in several years. TVA will continue to spray the public areas after that time, as it has been doing for the last several years.

That board will be made up in part of county and city officials, fishing representatives, recreation representatives, and members of the economic development council.

Hutcheson says the plan to control the weeds isn’t to eradicate them, but to create a healthy balance in the reservoir.