Fewer aquatic weeds found in Savannah River this year

Kelly Dabbs, the owner of Southern Aquatic Services LLC, sprayed for various grass and weeds in the Savannah River in 2011.

Last year’s use of herbicide to control aquatic weeds in the Savannah River for the first time appears to be successful, with fewer acres requiring retreatment this year.

“We had 35 acres that were covered when we did this last year, and now it looks like we have somewhere between 15 and 18 acres,” Augusta Port Authority Chairman Wayne Hawkins said. “It seems to be working just like we hoped it would.”

Four companies – from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama – evaluated the river’s downtown segment and submitted bids for this year’s round of herbicide applications, Hawkins said.

All four estimates confirmed fewer acres of infestation, and bids were significantly lower than the $15,000 spent last year.

The bids are being submitted to the city, with plans to award a contract next month to treat the areas again, he said.

The weeds in the river include invasive exotic species such as Brazilian elodea, which tends to spread rapidly and overtake shallow areas.

Although it is impossible to completely eradicate the weeds in the river, Hawkins said the authority hopes to arrange annual treatments to keep them under control.

If the program is continued from year to year, the costs are likely to continue to decrease, along with the infestations, he said.

Once a date is established for this year’s applications, a public notice will be issued to advise people who use the river for irrigation, he said.

 

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