A tan-colored sheen seen recently on the surface of Lake Norman is no reason for concern, Dave Caldwell with Mecklenburg County Water Quality told Marine Commissioners at their monthly meeting Monday night. Also at the meeting, at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in Mooresville, commissioners heard updates on navigational aid maintenance, rental boat policy, and grass carp, and voted on a no-wake buoy request and a rafting permit request.
A full screen of lake water samples indicate elevated levels of Manganese and Iron coupled with algae at the water’s surface, but none is cause for concern, Dave Cadlwell with Mecklenburg County Water Quality told marine commissioners. The water remains safe for swimming, fishing and other recreation, he said.
“It’s early for the lake to be turning over,” he said. Instead, the algae, Manganese and Iron may be the result of discharge from the Marshall Steam Station, that pulls water from the bottom of the lake for cooling and then discharges it, he suggested, though the exact cause is unknown. Water tests confirmed all levels of organics and oil, greece, and petroleum (substances that can be harmful) were normal, he said.
NAVIGATION AID MAINTENANCE
Gus Gustafson updated commissioners on the extensive maintenance tasks completed on navigation aids in July. “I’d say we have a record month for accomplishments,” he said.
The repair efforts included a lot of preventative maintenance, he said, and included:
- Replacement of 5 rotten poles
- Replacement of 8 red and green lights
- Repair of 2 shoal markers
- Installation of 4 no-wake buoys
- Replacement of 9 signs
- 6 new shoal markers
“We have put together and maintained a magnificent navigation system,” he said.
Assistant Director for the Marine Commission Bob Elliott said that while the state was unable to purchase grass carp this year, officials are working to make sure we have some to put in the lake next year. Since 2004, the commission has purchased the hydrilla-eating fish to help control the growth of the invasive weed. High demand for the carp depleted the supply this year and increased prices, so officials are working to plan ahead for next year.
Mr. Elliott also mentioned recent reports of bow hunting in which grass carp were taken. Under a new law, with proper licensing hunters can take 1 grass carp per day, he said. He does not know how many carp have been taken as a result.
RENTAL BOAT COMMITTEE
Commissioner John Marino, who represents Catawba County, chairs a committee formed in February to look at standardizing rules for boat rentals. The committee includes rental company owners and public safety officers, and is working to write up an ordinance for review by marine commissioners. The committee hoped to have a definitive course of action by the commission’s July meeting, but three key issues have caused delays in results, he said. The issues are:
- How to identify rental boats
- How to enforce penalties
- How to get private licensee people on board with the idea (major rental companies already support standardized rules)
While the committee had hoped to finalize an ordinance this year, it’s now looking like the rules would not take effect until the 2013 boating season, Mr. Marino said.
Marine Commissioners voted unanimously on the following:
- To disapprove an application from the Sterling Point Homeowners Association for no-wake buoys. The commission will refund the application fee and the HOA is allowed to reapply should issues arise in the future.
- To approve a rafting application from the Peninsula Yacht Club for a raft-up near Connor Quay. The club estimates 10-15 boats within 300 yards of the shore. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police lake patrol officers had no objection, and said there have been no violations at previous raft-ups.