RALEIGH – Researchers with North Carolina State University and the state parks system have recorded a significant hydrilla infestation at Lake Waccamaw State Park, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
A public meeting will be held Dec. 11 to discuss the extent of the infestation and control measures that will be considered.
The public meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Home Chapel, 400 Flemington Drive in Lake Waccamaw.
Hydrilla is a submerged aquatic plant that can create nearly impenetrable mats of stems and leaves on a lake’s surface. An invasive species from central Africa, hydrilla impedes recreational use of waterways, crowds out native vegetation and can ultimately harm fish and other aquatic species. Its spread is often attributed to boats that are trailered from one lake to another.
A 2011 survey of the 8,938-acre Lake Waccamaw suggests that more than 600 acres of the lake is infested with hydrilla, primarily near the lake’s northwestern shore and near a public boat launch. Researchers predict that if the hydrilla is left unchecked, the infestation could spread to about 1,500 acres within a year and about 5,700 acres within three years.
This is the first recorded hydrilla infestation of a Carolina bay lake. Lake Waccmaw is the largest of the natural bay lakes in southeastern North Carolina and home to a number of rare species of fish and mollusks. The lake holds the status of National Natural Landmark.