Comments on the 2013 SC Aquatic Plant Management Plan

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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