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May 17, 2008

Hartwell shoreline project needs volunteers

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources and its partner organizations were recently awarded a two year grant totaling $34,476 to enhance fish habitat on Savannah River reservoirs. Members of the public are being asked to assist in this habitat development effort.  Volunteers will work with government agency personnel in planting 1,000 maidencane plants at pre-selected sites on Lake Hartwell on Saturday, May 31.

Volunteers should meet at the Paynes Creek boat ramp on the Georgia side of Lake Hartwell at 9:30 a.m. Call S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries biologist Gene Hayes at (864) 223-1307 or Jamie Sykes with Corps of Engineers at 1-800-944-7207 before May 28 for more information on the project or how you can volunteer. A planting at Lake Russell, using water willow, is scheduled for later this spring.

"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 have been 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. Planting sites were on the South Carolina side of Lake Hartwell in 2007, but this year the planting will take place on the Georgia side.

Maidencane can grow up to eight feet tall and often forms dense colonies. It has long, narrowly tapered leaves (up to 12 inches long and 1 inch wide) with rough upper surfaces and margins. Flowers are on a long narrow spike (up to 12 inches long). Maidencane forms extensive rhizomes by which it spreads rapidly.

A follow-up evaluation is planned during fall 2008 to assess plant survival and degree of area coverage in the initial year. Subsequent annual evaluations will be conducted over the life of the project.

Grant partners include Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia and South Carolina Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society (B.A.S.S.) Federations, Lake Hartwell Association, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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.


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