Local News

Kerr Lake homeowners deal with weeds

Posted August 19, 2011 5:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2011 6:38 p.m. EDT

— Skip Wiegersma spends his days on Kerr Lake battling hydrilla, a pesky weed that grows on the bottom of some area lakes. It gets stuck in boat propellers and causes problems for swimmers.

"It's kind of blossomed, and it's spreading everywhere," said Wiegersma, owner of Skip's Aquatic Solutions in Henderson. 

In previous years, homeowners on Lake Gaston were the ones primarily facing a hydrilla problem, but the weed has spread to Kerr Lake in Vance County. 

Homeowner Phil Smith said he never thought he'd see hydrilla approach his dock on Kerr Lake. 

"We kind of laughed over at those rich people over in Gaston with their million-dollar houses with the weeds that we didn't have. But we got it now," Smith said.

Wiegersma said this is the first year he has gotten calls for Kerr Lake.

On Friday, he and his crew sprayed the herbicide komeen into the water to treat the weeds. It makes the water temporarily look purple, but he says it has no impact on anything other than the weeds.

"They say we can swim in it tomorrow. They say, 'Try not to get in it today, just so it won't dissipate,'" Smith said. "Other than that, they're supposedly pretty safe."

For an individual homeowner, it costs $300 for two treatments, which keep the hydrilla away for about six weeks.

Smith said residents of his subdivision got a group rate on the treatment.

Experts say no one knows for sure how the hydrilla spread to Kerr Lake. One theory is that it flowed down the Roanoke River basin from lakes in Virginia.