Known for its excellent largemouth bass and crappie fishery, Harris Lake is a reservoir in New Hill, North Carolina that covers 4,100 acres in southwestern Wake County and southeastern Chatham County. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking input to develop a comprehensive Habitat Enhancement Plan for Harris Lake to help establish habitat for fish and wildlife, especially largemouth bass and black crappie, in the absence of hydrilla.
Hydrilla, an aquatic weed included on the Federal Noxious Weed List and is recognized by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality as an Aquatic Weed, was first observed in the lake in 1988, and since that time a substantial infestation has developed. Harris Lake is a source population for the spread of hydrilla to other waterbodies in our state, where the long-term environmental and economic impacts can be substantial.
With the goal of mitigating hydrilla’s impacts, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources (DWR) – Aquatic Weed Control Program has begun implementing hydrilla control efforts in Harris Lake. DWR’s Aquatic Weed Control Program mitigation efforts include stocking sterile grass carp and treating around boat ramps with herbicides to reduce the chances of hydrilla spreading to other waterbodies on boats, trailers or other equipment.
In conjunction with DWR’s hydrilla control efforts, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is implementing a five-year aquatic habitat enhancement project to establish approximately 30 acres of artificial and natural structures and approximately one acre of founder colonies of native vegetation. Initial enhancement efforts have already begun with the establishment of native vegetation at fourteen sites and installation in 2018 of ten artificial fish attractor sites.
If you are interested in providing input or helping with the habitat enhancement efforts please download the survey, fill it out, including your contact information, and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31, 2019.
For additional information on the hydrilla and habitat management plans, visit ncwildlife.org/harrishabitatplan. Also, be sure to check out the Commission’s video, How You Can Stop the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species.