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Hydrilla munchers released into lake

Large minnows are busy munching on weeds in Lake Norman.
On Monday morning, 3,000 grass carp were released into the lake to feast on hydrilla, the fast growing exotic aquatic weed that is invading the lake. When left unchecked the weed is capable of choking out entire coves.
The 14-inch grass carp were delivered by truck and deposited in at Work Creek, a feeder stream that flows into Reed Creek in Iredell County. The stocking was supervised by Gus Gustafson of Lake Norman Ventures, members of the Lake Norman Marine Commission and Ken Manuel of Duke Power.
This will be the only delivery of carp this year.
Last year there were two deliveries of 3,000 grass carp.
Many of the carp from last year have been eaten up or gone over the dam due to the heavy flooding that took place several months ago.
The grass carp will help minimize the presence of hydrilla. The carp can eat up to three times their weight in aquatic grass daily and the fish can grow up to more than 50 pounds.
It is illegal to catch or kill grass carp.
Bob Elliott, executive director of the Lake Norman Marine Commission, said he is not sure how much the cost will be for the minnows.
“I expect it to be in the neighborhood of $13,000,” Elliott said.
Last year the cost was $40,000 with half being covered by the Aquatic Weed Control and the other half by the Lake Norman Marine Commission, Duke Power, counties and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Department.
Half of the cost for the fish this year will be once again paid by Aquatic Weed Control and the other half by many of the same agencies as last year.
In 2004, there was also a private donation of $1,000 in assisting with the cost of the grass carp.
by Amy Wadsworth

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