The Union Recorder

September 20, 2013

Georgia Power applies herbicide for lake maintenance

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Aquatic plants are a constant part of lake life. When invasive species build up in coves and near homeowner shorelines, certain herbicides return the waterway’s natural makeup.

Tony Dodd with Georgia Power’s Environmental Affairs Division said the herbicides are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified.

“Really it’s a maintenance task if we have nuisance aquatic weeds. They are usually an exotic, invasive variety of plant,” Dodd said. “If they threaten the use of a canal or waterway or the connectivity of boats and docks out to the main waterway, then we do a limited spot treatment.”

Dodd applied herbicide around various Reedy Branch coves Thursday.

The treatment targets an exotic variety named Naias growing in these areas.

Dodd also traveled closer to U.S. Highway 441 opposite Little River Marina for some blue-green algae deterrent application.

Each herbicide has directions for use. Different labeling instructions may require water use restrictions letting people know a treatment was conducted.

The combination herbicide used at Reedy Branch came with four precautionary lake use restrictions sent to appropriate lake residents.

• Wait four days to drink any water;

• Pets and livestock may drink after two days;

• Hold off irrigation for turf and landscape ornamental plants for four days;

• Irrigation for vegetable gardens or commercial nursery production plants wait six days;

These Georgia Power treatments are regular parts of lake upkeep.

Georgia Power works hand-in-hand with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources preserving proper aquatic balance for lake health.

“We’ve been treating these sort of weeds off and on for a while,” Dodd said.

Contributing factors for invasive aquatic plants include run-off from heavy rainfall, which with the right water temperature causes growth.

According to Georgia Power’s Land Management Office website, algae growth reduces water clarity, can produce poor water quality for fish, wildlife and humans, cause fish kills, create a foul taste and smell to the water as a drinking water source and become a neighborhood nuisance.

Shoreline homeowners are directly affected by invasive aquatic species.

“They have felt like the use of boat house, dock, swimming area or sea wall has been hampered by the occurrence of these weeds,” Dodd said.

Georgia Power launched an aquatic weed treatment pilot program for homeowners this year.

Interested lake residents can download the herbicide treatment application. If approved, Dodd said the homeowner gets immediate response for their shoreline needs.

“If approved, they can go out and hire a certified state licensed aquatic pesticide applicator,” Dodd said.

To date, two Lake Sinclair homeowners received permitting through the program. Pre-approved applications for a typical shoreline area costs between $200 and $300.

Georgia Power discourages rogue, unapproved chemical application to Lake Sinclair. Doing so could disrupt the water’s natural balance.

For further information about aquatic weeds or for a homeowner application request visit www.georgiapowerlakes.com or call 706-484-7500.

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