Stephen Thomas 0

Reduce the Planned Stocking of Grass Carp in the Santee Cooper System for CY2012

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We, the undersigned, support population levels of 25 triploid grass carp per acre of hydrilla as stated in the 2012 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 47,900 triploids to account for the “additional submersed species that are palatable to triploid carp”. Allowing for existing populations of 20,400 fish, we only support the release of an additional 60,700 triploid grass carp during calendar year 2012. 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 2011, and • Coverage of 4,790 acres of non-hydrilla vegetation is biologically healthy for a shallow-water system of more than 170,000 acres.

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