A new outbreak of the hydrilla in the Ramsey Creek area has Lake Norman environmental officials concerned.

Lake Norman Marine Commission Executive Director Ron Shoultz said the invasive aquatic weed was detected again in late 2017, and that officials have been working with representatives from N.C. Department of Environmental Quality to purchase more grass carp.

Duke Energy officials and the Lake Norman Marine Commission have managed for many years to keep the hydrilla, also known as water thyme, under control by introducing hydrilla-eating grass carp to the lake.

“It started at the access area,” said Duke Energy Project Manager Joe Kluttz. “That tells me that it got on someone's boat and brought it to Lake Norman.”

In recent years, the amount of grass carp that the LNMC was able to purchase was limited. Shoultz said the LNMC expects the newest shipment to arrive in May.

The influx of hydrilla also concerned Charlotte water officials, particularly when it sprung up around the intake valve at Blythe Landing, said Mecklenburg County Water Quality official Dave Ferguson.

Officials are considering various treatment options to keep the plant under control.

“It is coming right back,” Ferguson said.

The LNMC plans to become more involved with the NC DEQ’s Aquatic Weed Program to “be closer in the loop in the future,” he said and plans to go over its restocking programs for the grass carp, which are sterile and need to be restocked from time to time.

The LNMC also discussed its efforts to repair and replace the navigation markers along Lake Norman. The board is asking residents around the lake to contact them if they see any of the markers damaged or not operational.

The additional rain recently means that lake levels are up. Kluttz told commissioners that the lake sat at 98.7 feet on Monday night, a foot below full pond. Residents and boaters should expect additional natural debris to be floating around.

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