TVA workers treat invasive aquatic species on Lake Guntersville

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — The Tennessee Valley Authority worked to get rid of invasive aquatic species on Lake Guntersville Thursday.

Workers surveyed different areas of the lake to treat various invasive aquatic species, including Salvinia minima.

“It’s actually a fern. It’s not a flowering plant,” said TVA aquatic plant biologist David Webb.

He said this is the first year the non-native plant has been found on Lake Guntersville, but that it is growing at a quick rate.

“We were through area here probably in August. We did not see it here. We think this amount of growth has probably just been here, I’d say in the last month,” said Webb.

Webb said non-native invasive species can harm the ecosystem

“It’ll just occupy a niche here and whatever’s under it, it won’t grow. It’ll make such a mat that it’ll shade it out,” explained Webb.

Another non-native plant being treated Thursday is the water hyacinth.

TVA natural resource management West operations manager David Brewster said the water hyacinth is an aggressive, non-native plant that was first spotted on Lake Guntersville around 2015.

After a cold winter eradicated it a few years ago, it is now back.

“If it wasn’t managed and stuff, eventually it would grow out past beyond the boathouses and stuff. Of course, it will impact fisheries. It is a non-native species, so it’s going to occupy a certain niche that native species would occupy that are more beneficial to fisheries and stuff. So it will definitely create a negative impact for the resource,” said Brewster.

Brewster and Webb said invasive aquatic plants get into the water in different ways including “hitchhiking” on boats or trailers, overflowed water gardens, or dumped from aquariums.

To lower the chance of spreading the invasive plant seed, they recommend boaters clean off any plant life left on their boats and trailers before going to another reservoir.

They also said that water gardeners or anyone with an aquarium should discard the plants by burning them or taking them to a landfill.

Boaters or lakeside residents can call the TVA public land information center at 1-800-882-5263 or email them at plic@tva.com to have them survey it and treat it, if necessary.

The TVA also does spot treatments for invasive aquatic species on the open water when necessary.

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