Unwelcome Visitors

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 1:02 PM CST
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Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan
Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan(SOURCE/ADCNR)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Recent approval of the Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan opens avenues of federal funding for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division and Marine Resources Division to deal with aquatic invasive species in Alabama’s abundant waterways. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey submitted the aquatic invasive species plan to the Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Task Force, an entity of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the recent approval means Alabama will be eligible for up to $100,000 annually to combat aquatic invasive species.

“This is quite an extensive plan that covers quite a few species found in the freshwaters of Alabama,” says Steve Rider, WFF’s River and Stream Fisheries Program Supervisor. “The impetus to get the plan completed and approved was the presence of invasive carp in the Tennessee River. It was a long process, but with the help of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the folks in the (WFF) Fisheries Section, we got it done. Now we have access to more money. That will go a long way to deal with the invasive carp or anything else that comes up that is a priority to try to eradicate, monitor or manage any of the aquatic invasive species. Our concern is that these aquatic invasive species will outcompete our native aquatic species.”

Rider added, “We have great bass fisheries up there, and we are concerned these silver carp may impact our bass population.”

Dave Armstrong, WFF’s Supervisor of Aquatic Nuisance Species says , “Most of the carp we collect in our samples are closer to the Pickwick dam, but we have picked up some all the way up the lake to around Seven-Mile Island at Florence. Outside of Pickwick. We had two reputable sightings last year in Wilson.”

Armstrong said a silver carp was taken by a bow fisherman in the Raccoon Creek area of Lake Guntersville last year, the first hard evidence the carp species had made it to the renowned bass fishery, “If they don’t spawn, hopefully we can eliminate them over time.”

Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan
Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan(SOURCE/ADCNR)

Also, according to Rider, “We’ve seen some new stuff come along, like Cuban bulrush on the Tombigbee River, a plant that takes over and clogs up the waterway. It’s like a mat across the entire waterway. At one time, one of our biologists told us he had seen deer walking on top of the bulrush.

Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan
Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan(SOURCE/ADCNR)

It was so thick that you couldn’t get into the backwaters because of the aquatic invasive plants. We also want to educate people on how these aquatic invasive species impact our aquatic resources.”

Visit www.outdooralabama.com/research/aquatic-nuisance-species-management-plan for more information on the Alabama Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan.

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