Stakeholders and TVA finding balance in fight against water weeds

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT)-  There are two main invasive weeds in Lake Guntersville, hydrilla and milfoil.  Neither plants are native to the lake.  In fact it’s believed that milfoil entered the Tennessee River system by someone dumping a home aquarium in the Watts Bar Lake, upriver from Lake Guntersville.

“It’s very, very important for us to have a balance,” said Rick Roden.  Roden is the president of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.  He also part of the Lake Guntersville Stakeholders.  They are a group of people with a vested interest in the lake, from boaters, to fishermen, to homeowners.

“We want to manage the weeds,” said Roden.  “We certainly understand the importance of them for the bass industry.  But you also have to manage them to where everybody can enjoy the lake.”

Wednesday afternoon TVA allowed the news media to see how the weeds are managed.  The actual spraying of herbicides to fight the weeds is contracted out to a Guntersville company called Aqua Services.

“There are certain parameters that have been defined by the stakeholder plan,” said Aqua Services owner Terry Goldsby.   “TVA, using those parameters, they have a scouting boat and they go out and look at those various areas all over the lake.  And then we accomplish the treatments.”

TVA also uses harvesters to clear channels through areas of heavy hydrilla infestation so boats have clear paths to get to the main river channel.  It’s a chore that’s never ending.

“The aquatic plants, just like when we use a herbicide, they will potentially start growing within about five or six weeks,” said David Brewster in TVA natural resources division.  “So this is a continuous mowing operation that we have to do on the Tennessee River here in Guntersville.”

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