TVA to begin aquatic plant management program on Lake Guntersville


GUNTERSVILLE, Ala.- The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is getting ready to kick off its seasonal aquatic plant management program.

It is where they treat native and non-native invasive plant life in the water at public access areas and on some private docks through MyLakeGuntersville.

Crews gave News 19 a ride on an airboat to get into the thick of things.

Aquatic weeds are hard to spot on most parts of Lake Guntersville, but in others near the shoreline, they are clear as day.

“It’s one of the shallowest reservoirs in the system. It is extremely conducive to the growth of aquatic plants,” said TVA Aquatic Plant Management program manager Stephen Turner.

Turner raked up a scoop of the native “nuisance” weed, eelgrass to show News 19.

The launch site at Marshall County Park #1 is just one of the many public access areas across Lake Guntersville where the TVA is managing those invasive aquatic weeds.

The eelgrass is tall and thick near the dock, which is bad for boats.

“Boat motors. If you’ve got an outboard motor or even an inboard or jet skis are really bad. The plants will get tied up in the props or they’ll block up the water pumps,” added Turner.

Boat problems due to weeds are bad for business in lake cities.

“You get in some areas where it can just mat to the surface if we don’t treat it, which completely gets rid of boat access. There’s no way for people to access the lake. If it gets around a boat ramp or a boathouse or something, it just impedes access and we lose a lot of our recreational value to the lake,” Turner said.

“It seems to me this year, the weeds are actually growing a lot stronger. For people coming to travel and see the lakes, they want to see clean water, they don’t want to see dirty water,” said professional angler Buddy Gross.

But Gross tells News 19 the weeds are great for fishing.

“The bait fish get a place to hide and the brim and all predator fish are chasing, they get to hide and get to survive, and the fish grow bigger because of it,” explained Gross.

Because the weeds are somewhat beneficial, the TVA manages them and doesn’t completely destroy them.

The company gets a contractor to treat about 5% of the 20,000 to 30,000 acres of weeds on Lake Guntersville.

Turner tells News 19 they only use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved herbicides.

Treatment is expected to begin June 2, 2021.

Click here for a schedule.

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