One of the key measures of water quality at the Yadkin Project is the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water being released from the dams.
 
APGI is committed to continue enhancing the water quality in the Yadkin Project lakes and the Yadkin River. Recent data shows that technology installed by APGI at Narrows Dam has significantly improves dissolved oxygen levels downstream of the dam.

 

Water quality within the Yadkin Project lakes is generally considered to be good or fair. One significant challenge comes from runoff – soils and sediment that flow from neighboring communities into the Yadkin River add nutrients. High levels of nutrients lead to increased algae production and can result in lower dissolved oxygen levels.

 

State Regulation

Water quality at the Yadkin Project is regulated by the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources.

 

The Yadkin Project is subject to the following state standards related to dissolved oxygen levels: a minimum of 4.0 mg/L (measured instantaneously) and a minimum of 5.0 mg/L (daily average).

 

APGI has committed to invest up to $80 million to continue improving water quality at the Yadkin Project, beginning with a $40 million investment at High Rock Lake. APGI will install three “through-the-blade” aerating turbines at High Rock once the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issues a new license for the Yadkin Project. The engineering, planning, and model testing of the new turbines has already been completed.

 

Monitoring Dissolved Oxygen Levels

APGI closely monitors dissolved oxygen levels in the tailwaters of each dam. The monitors record dissolved oxygen and temperature data every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, between May 1 and November 30. This is the time when DO concentrations are of greatest concern. The monitors in the Narrows and Falls tailwaters have been operating since 2001, while monitors to the Tuckertown and High Rock tailwaters were added in 2003.
 
In March 2013, APGI provided state officials with a report summarizing the level of dissolved oxygen measured in the Yadkin Project tailwaters since 2007. The report shows that water leaving the Yadkin Project meets state standards for water quality 100% of the time.

 

Water enters the Yadkin Project at High Rock Lake with relatively low concentrations of dissolved oxygen. After traveling 38 miles down the Yadkin River and passing through four dams operated by APGI, the water quality improves significantly before it is discharged at the Falls Dam. In 2013, water discharged from High Rock Dam met the state standard for dissolved oxygen 78% of the time (based on daily average measurements). It met those same standards 100% when discharged from Narrows Dam and Falls Dam.

 

Read the press release.

Read the 2013 Dissolved Oxygen Report.

 

Controlling Aquatic Weeds on the Yadkin Project Lakes

 

What is hydrilla?

  • Hydrilla is a submersed aquatic plant recognized by the State of North Carolina as a noxious aquatic weed.
  • Hydrilla forms nearly impenetrable mats of stems and leaves at the surface of the water.
  • Hydrilla currently infests many aquatic systems throughout North Carolina.
  • Advanced infestations can alter aquatic habitats and drive ecological shifts; and can cause the loss of recreational use of waters.
  • Hydrilla is spread primarily by human activities. Plant fragments are spread from boat motors and trailers or from live wells and bait containers.

 

What is lyngbya?

  • Lyngbya is a blue-green algae that is not recognized by the State of North Carolina or the Aquatic Weed Control Program as a noxious aquatic weed.
  • Lyngbya forms long filamentous hair-like strands that mat together in thick layers and can form both benthic and surface mats.
  • This algae crowds out beneficial native aquatic plant species and may impact recreation because of the distasteful appearance, rotten egg smell, and entanglement problems.
  • Lyngbya is a common problem across North Carolina, with no simple solution for permanent removal.

 

What is APGI doing to manage hydrilla and lyngbya in the Yadkin Project reservoirs?

  • APGI began cooperating with the NC Aquatic Weed Control Program and the Wildlife Resources Commission in 2011 to actively manage and control hydrilla in the Project reservoirs.
  • Worked with Aquatic Weed Control Program and others in 2012 to develop a Badin Lake Hydrilla Extirpation Plan.
  • Most recent vegetation survey of Badin Lake completed in cooperation with NC State University in 2014 documented presence of both hydrilla and lyngbya.
  • Began biological (triploid grass carp) and chemical controls (herbicides) in Badin Lake in 2012.
  • In 2012, stocked 350 triploid grass carp and treated about 60 acres with Fluridone in Badin Lake.
  • In 2013, stocked 220 triploid grass carp and treated about 75 acres with Fluridone in Badin Lake.
  • In 2014, stocked 650 triploid grass carp and treated about 4 acres with herbicide in the Palmerville area of Badin Lake.
  • In 2014, stocked 2,150 triploid grass carp and treated some areas of lyngbya around the Highway 49 boat access area in Tuckertown Lake.
  • In 2014, in cooperation with SePRO, tested stands of lyngbya to develop recommendations for chemical treatment in Tuckertown Lake.
  • In cooperation with the NC Aquatic Weed Control Program posted “Stop the Spread of Aquatic Weeds” at the Badin Lake boat access areas.
  • APGI continues to cooperate with the State of North Carolina in 2015.  In 2015 APGI will cost-share lake-wide vegetation surveys of Tuckertown, Badin, and Falls lakes, application of herbicides in Badin Lake, and stocking of triploid grass carp in Badin and Falls lakes.

 

What can I do to prevent the spread of these aquatic weeds?

  • Practice good environmental stewardship by inspecting your boat, trailer, and equipment and removing any visible aquatic plants, animals, and mud before leaving the access area.
  • Drain water from your boat, motor, bilge, live wells, and bait containers before leaving the access area.
  • Spray, rinse, or dry boats and equipment to remove invisible hitchhikers.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait and other animals or aquatic plants in the trash. 
  • Report any new sightings to APGI and/or the NC Aquatic Weed Control Program (contact Rob Emens (919) 707-9012).