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Environment » Air, Water & Land Quality » Water Quality » Problem Aquatic Wildlife

Problem Aquatic Wildlife

A crucial part of monitoring and caring for the environment around our rivers and lakes is keeping plants and animals that are not native to the area under control.

While our environmental professionals keep a close eye on animal life, they also work to prevent the spread of unwanted plants and animals. These organisms can destroy or limit the use of lakes and rivers for recreation, drinking water, power production and other uses, as well as force native plants and animals out of their natural habitat.

Aquatic Plants

Several exotic plants have the potential to spread in the Carolina lakes. Many of these exotic plants were imported from other countries for decorative use in aquariums. Since there are few natural controls in this area to limit their growth, exotics plants can choke a lake. They can block a power stationís intake and the intakes of drinking water treatment plants, inhibit boating, fishing, swimming and water skiing.

Duke Energy has minimized the spread of aquatic weeds in our lakes by lowering lake levels during the winter to freeze the weeds and by using approved aquatic herbicides. You can help, too.

  • Please donít pour the contents of your aquarium into the lake.
  • If your boat has been in another lake, inspect it thoroughly and remove plant fragments that may be on the boat and/or trailer before putting it into the lake.
  • Do not apply herbicides yourself without obtaining permission from your stateís wildlife and fisheries agency.

A bi-state team has been initiated to develop a management plan for hydrilla called the Aquatic Plant Management Team. It consists of technical representatives from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, N.C. State University, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Duke Energy.

Asiatic Clam and Zebra Mussel

The presence of these freshwater clams in a lake or river can cause major problems for water users. The Asiatic clam can get into piping systems where their shells can block pipes, valves and fire protection sprinkler systems. Controlling Asiatic clams requires constant effort and is costly.

Aquatic Wildlife

The zebra mussel has the potential for causing even greater problems than Asiatic Clams. Zebra mussels must be removed by scraping, blasting with high pressure hoses, or treatment with chemicals or hot water.

Things you can do to help:

  • Check your boat and trailer to make sure there are no attached mussels (they can live up to a week out of water).
  • Do not use live bait from lakes in which the mussel is found.

Report all suspected sightings to:

North Carolina
Sea Grant College Program
1-919-515-5287 or 1-919-515-2454

South Carolina
S.C. Sea Grant Program with the Clemson Extension Service