Volunteers will work with government agency personnel in planting approximately 1,000 water willow and maidencane plants at pre-selected sites on Lake Hartwell on Wednesday, June 27 with volunteers to initially meet at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Clemson office.
Call DNR fisheries biologist Gene Hayes before June 25 at (864) 223-1307 for more information on the project or how you can volunteer.
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 Hartwell to improve fish habitat.
"Shoreline aquatic vegetation is significantly underrepresented on Lake Hartwell," said Hayes. "Annual water level fluctuations on Hartwell are considered the primary reason for the lack of abundant native aquatic plants, especially emergent, shoreline-oriented species."
The Hartwell sites will be selected based on topography, soil type, and identified lack of established emergent aquatic, shoreline vegetation. The plantings will stabilize shoreline substrates 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.