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Does it make sense to keep draining the lake at Carolina Beach in the winter?

Q. the town of Carolina Beach routinely drains the lake during winter, saying it helps kills lake weeds before the warmer weather. This comes at a great cost to the natural habitat of fish, ducks, frogs, etc., that we all come to enjoy all year. Does this make sense? Draining the lake to kill the growth off weeds in warmer weather? Is there a better way to manage weeds than destroying the natural habitat annually?

A. The lake has been drained this way for roughly seven years for a variety of reasons beyond just weed control, according to Brian Stanberry, the town’s director of public works.

“It is beneficial as far as the aquatic weeds,” he said. “It’s a shallow lake, so they run rampant and in the summer, in the past, that lake has grown completely over, almost like carpet. It’s not just for that, though, it’s also for maintenance and repairs to things like the areas around the drainage pumps. We can’t get to where those suction lines go without the lake drained, so it gives us an opportunity to do that as well.”

Town workers always make sure to leave several pockets of deep water in the lake, so it’s never completely drained. This allows fish and other wildlife to survive, Stanberry said.

“We’ve never had any issues in years past,” he said. “We’ve not had dead animals or anything, to my knowledge, wash up, and we haven’t seen any fish kills.”

By contrast, allowing the weeds to run rampant would decrease oxygen levels in the lake during the summer, which frequently results in fish kills.

“We’ve had a lot of kills due to that,” he said. “Draining helps cut those down in the summer.”

RELATED LINKS:

How long is the path around Carolina Beach Lake?

Are there really alligators in Greenfield Lake?

User-contributed question by:
Mark Goddard

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