Lake Seminole residents battle invasive species

Published: Apr. 14, 2017 at 3:33 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2017 at 11:23 AM EDT
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Pat Robbins, Army Corps of Engineers (Source: WALB)
Pat Robbins, Army Corps of Engineers (Source: WALB)
Rep. Sanford Bishop, GA-2 (Source: WALB)
Rep. Sanford Bishop, GA-2 (Source: WALB)

DONALSONVILLE, GA (WALB) - An aquatic weed is causing problems for people living on Lake Seminole.

Experts said the invasive species can damage boats, clog river ways and even hurt property values.

Its an invasion that's not new to those living around the lake but, this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a warm winter and a lack of flooding could cause big problems for those fighting against aquatic weed growth.

"You tend to get a quick burst of these aquatic weeds, especially in a late as shallow as lake Seminole," said Pat Robbins, of the Army Corps of Engineers.

That's a problem that residents want something done about.

"How much money would it cost to drain the lake down five feet, if you could do it. I mean, would it cost anything?" a man who lives near the lake asked.

For years, the Army Corps of Engineers, based in Mobile, Alabama has been working to eradicate Hydrilla, and other invasive species in Lake Seminole. 
But the problem leaders at the regional command are up against, now, is a big one, and its prompted federal lawmakers to step in and help.

"We are all very saddened by the state of affairs," U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, Georgia District 2, said. "We have attempted to address the issue."

Bishop said some seasons the growth can be controlled and others it's extremely hard to contain. Officials add that variability is also present when it comes to funding. The issue is a priority to many in town, but those in Washington don't always see it that way.

"Those are priorities that we have to advocate for on behalf of these folks, as it competes with the priorities of people from other parts of the congressional district and other parts of the country," Bishop said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is operating under a continuing resolution budget until the end of the month, until Congress passes a budget.

"We realize there is a tremendous amount of coverage right now," Robbins said. "We're doing the best we can to eradicate what we can."

Experts said plants are also becoming increasingly resistant to herbicides.

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