TVA conducts aquatic survey on Lake Guntersville to monitor health of the reservoir

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - The Tennessee Valley Authority is doing aquatic surveys on several of its reservoirs and Tuesday morning, Lake Guntersville was in the spotlight. The goal is to get an overall idea of the lake's condition.

"The Reservoir Ecological Health Program consists of five indicators, and these five indicators are fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and sediment," TVA fisheries biologist Greg Shaffer said. Those multiple aspects are part of TVA's aquatic survey of Lake Guntersville. The idea is to research the health and diversity of the reservoir.

TVA uses boat-mounted electrofishing equipment to temporarily stun the fish, causing them to rise to the surface. "Fish come up and we net them," Shaffer explains. "We look at the health of the fish, we look for any anomalies, any diseases on the fish. It gives us an overall picture of the health of the fisheries here in the reservoir."

Similar studies are done on the other aspects of the lake,  completed in multiple strategically selected areas of the reservoir. "Fish and benthics and all of these other water quality indicators give us a good indication on how healthy the reservoir is," Shaffer said.

Once the fish are studied they're put back in the lake.  "Over time we can see trends in these results, so that's what we're getting at. That's why we come back every other year, is to see a big picture trend in the overall health of the reservoir," Shaffer said.

All of the data collected is shared with state agencies.

TVA will host electro-fishing outings on  Wilson, Boone, and Douglas reservoirs as well.