Volunteers will work with S.C. Department of Natural Resources agency personnel in planting about 1,500 water willow plants at pre-selected sites on Lake Russell on Saturday, July 21 with volunteers to initially meet on the Georgia side of Lake Russell at the Elbert County boat ramp.
Take SC Highway 72 out of Calhoun Falls and Abbeville County into Georgia. Watch for the boat landing signs about one mile on the right. Call S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries biologist Gene Hayes before Wednesday, July 18 at (864) 223-1307 for more information on the project or how you can volunteer.
Volunteers should bring a shovel or posthole digger and be prepared with waders or otherwise to get wet and a personal flotation device (PFD). Sunscreen and sunglasses are also highly recommended.
DNR and its partner organizations were recently awarded a $34,476 grant to enhance fish habitat on Savannah River reservoirs. The Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant supports efforts to establish shoreline vegetation on Lakes Russell to improve fish habitat.
“Shoreline aquatic vegetation is not abundant as it should be on Russell,” said Hayes. “We need the public’s support to manage the lake’s fishery through habitat enhancement.”
The Russell sites have been selected based on topography, soil type, and identified lack of established emergent aquatic, shoreline vegetation. The plantings will stabilize the shoreline and provide structural habitat for shoreline spawning fish species, such as largemouth bass, redear sunfish and bluegill. Plantings will also provide a stable, protective nursery area for juvenile fish. A project goal is to attain at least a 450 square feet coverage area at each site.
A follow-up evaluation is planned during Fall 2007 to assess plant survival and degree of area coverage in the initial year. Subsequent annual evaluations will be conducted over a three-year period.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.