We, the undersigned, support population levels of 10 triploid grass carp per
acre of hydrilla as stated in the 2013 DRAFT SOUTH CAROLINA AQUATIC PLANT
MANAGEMENT PLAN [hereafter known as ‘The Plan’] for the Santee Cooper lakes,
Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. We do not, however, agree with additional
stocking of 52,590 triploids to account for the “additional submersed species
that are palatable to triploid carp”.
Triploid Carp are a control method
for hydrilla only, and additional fish should not be added under the notion that
the fish might consume native, beneficial vegetation. If the fish are consuming
native vegetation, other options at controlling hydrilla should be explored.
We make these recommendations based on the following:
• Availability of certain aquatic plant species is necessary to provide food and
habitat for waterfowl populations wintering on the Santee Cooper System,
and • The Santee Cooper system is a multiuse system and, we believe, the
interests of waterfowl and waterfowling are under represented in The Plan,
and • Winter waterfowl populations utilizing the Santee Cooper system are
just starting to show a recovery after the over-release of triploids that
occurred during the mid-1990s, and • The Plan lists triploids as control
agents only for hydrilla not any other aquatic species, and • The Plan does
not consider the reduction of hydrilla coverage as a result of the very low
water levels that dewatered thousands of acres on both lakes in late 2012
through January of 2013. • Coverage of 5,290 acres of non-hydrilla vegetation
is biologically healthy for a shallow-water system of more than 170,000 acres.
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