Freezing Temperatures May Reduce Water Weeds

Monday, January 22, 2018 - by Scott Fiedler

Recent bitter cold temperatures across the Tennessee Valley may cause some people to worry about their plumbing, but for recreational boaters and swimmers who battle water weeds in area lakes, the deep freeze has been a good thing.

“Mother Nature is the best aquatic plant management tool we have,” said Brett Hartis, PhD, TVA’s lead aquatic plant biologist. “Many invasive plants cannot handle extended deep cold snaps like we’ve seen so far in January.”

According to TVA load forecasters, 2018 started off very cold—in January TVA reached near record power demand because the average temperature has been below freezing for 10 days thus far.



To meet the power demand, TVA has relied heavily on hydropower, dropping some reservoirs—like Melton Hill—by about two feet below what people normally would expect.

A Good Year Coming

“The last few winters have been very mild and we’ve seen an increase in aquatic plant growth,” said Dr. Hartis. “The lower waters levels expose invasive plant beds to the cold, and most invasive species can’t tolerate the cold like native plants can. While there are no guarantees, Mother Nature should help this summer’s boaters and swimmers by controlling invasive plants in exposed areas along the shoreline.”

Keeping the reservoirs healthy is a top priority for TVA. According to a 2017 University of Tennessee study, recreation on Tennessee River and its reservoirs is worth about $12 billon to the local economy and creates about 130,000 jobs each year.

TVA manages aquatic plants in developed public-access areas on its reservoirs on an as-needed basis when recreational use and/or access become seriously hindered. Homeowners may control aquatic plants along their property as long as they follow all state herbicide application laws.

Dr. Hartis will know how effective Mother Nature has been this spring. He said, “We are expecting to see a significant visible reduction in new growth along the shoreline.”

Fishermen Don’t Worry

TVA reservoirs are recognized around the nation for its prime sport-fishing lakes. Hartis, an avid angler himself, knows the positive aspects aquatic plants have on reservoir fish habitats.   

“Don’t worry,” says Dr. Hartis. “The winter weather will only affect shoreline plants where the plant bed is exposed to the cold. Submerged plants like hydrilla are not affected.” 

Dr. Hartis muses that some of his secret fishing holes may have to change this summer. But then that’s all part of the fun. “Good fishermen can easily adjust,” he says. “That is why they call it fishing and not catching.”

Bottom line, Hartis expects that acess will be much improved, and that he and other anglers will still be able to pull monster-size fish out of the reservoirs this summer. 

How You Can Help

TVA needs your help to control aquatic plants and keep invasive species out of our reservoirs. To help control invasive plants, Dr. Hartis recommends:

Keep it clean—Remove all plant material from boats, trailers, bilges, live wells and any marine equipment. This will prevent aquatic species from being introduced into other TVA reservoirs.

Native water gardening only—Plant only native species around shorelines. While non-native species like ornamental lilies and water hyacinth are beautiful, they will quickly spread if introduced into the river.

Drain and dry—When visiting reservoirs with known invasive plants, make sure all equipment is dry and free from fragments. Even completely dry fragments have the potential to grow once submersed again. Consider visiting non-affected reservoirs only after you have cleaned, drained and dried your boat.

No dumping please!—Refrain from dumping unwanted aquarium or water garden plants into nearby streams and rivers. Dispose of any unwanted plants in the garbage.



City Of Cleveland To Offer Lifeguard Courses

The City of Cleveland will be offering lifeguard review and certification courses this spring. The lifeguard review course costs $100 and the lifeguard certification course costs $200. All classes will be held at the Denning Center, 350 Central Avenue, Cleveland, Tn. 37311. For registration and additional questions, contact Kelly McClanahan at kmcclanahan@clevelandtn.gov ... (click for more)

“A Land Defiled: The Environmental Impact Of The Civil War On Chattanooga" Program Slated For March 4

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will provide a one-hour, ranger-facilitated discussion on the environmental impact of the Civil War on Chattanooga on Sunday, March 4 at 2 p.m. This program will take place at Orchard Knob Reservation in Chattanooga, at the intersection of Ivy Street and Orchard Knob Avenue. "In his novel, The Two Towers, author J.R.R. Tolkien ... (click for more)

Witness Says Christopher Turner Shot Jamichael Eddins Multiple Times After He Was Already Down At Carousel Road

Police said Christopher Lashawn Turner stood over 24-year-old Jamichael Eddins on Carousel Road late Tuesday afternoon and fired multiple shots into him after shooting him moments before.   Turner, 26, of 1203 Sholar Ave., was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm.   Randall Davenport, 28, was ... (click for more)

County Commission Approves Sizable Pay Increase For Magistrates

The County Commission has approved a sizable pay raise for its four magistrates, taking them from the current $66,000 per year to $92,000 by 2021. The raises will take effect beginning with new terms for magistrates. Two of the current magistrates are up for re-appointment in May. Their pay level will become $80,000. It will rise by $4,000 per year until reaching the $92,000. ... (click for more)

Reflections On Billy Graham

Sandra and I are saddened this morning after learning of the death of Billy Graham. We rejoice today, because Mr. Graham once said "It will be reported that Billy Graham has died, but that won't be the truth. He said the truth is that he had only moved to a new location".  I remember when we named 15th Street as Billy Graham Avenue, his daughter Gigi came for the dedication ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Principal’s Reaction

On the morning after the mass shooting in Florida last week, a 17-year-old at Ledyard High School in Connecticut made an offhand comment during his first period class, “I could buy an AR-15.” At that, all the teachers panicked. Really. The school was soon so rattled by the comment the principal called the cops. And those five words got the child shackled, taken into custody, and ... (click for more)