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Hydrilla, an invasive species found in Lake Maumelle, is being eradicated by a water company



Maumelle, Arkansas – The water levels at Lake Maumelle are definitely lower than typical if you’ve visited there recently.

Central Arkansas Water employs this technique to get rid of Hydrilla, an invasive plant that can develop bacteria that shouldn’t be present in a reservoir holding drinking water.

In eight counties, Central Arkansas Water provides drinking water to nearly 500,000 Arkansans.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure the water coming out of this lake is safe for generations of Arkansans,” Douglas Shackelford with CARKW said.

According to Shackelford, it’s what can result from the Hydrilla plant rather than the plant itself that poses a threat to drinking water.

The species can support the growth of cyanobacteria and algae that can produce algal blooms.

Several dead bald eagles were discovered in or around DeGray Lake near Arkadelphia in the middle of the 1990s. According to Shackelford, it was discovered that the eagles were perishing after consuming fish that had eaten Hydrilla.

He claims that in the summer of 2022, Central Arkansas Water made the decision to start their strategy to eradicate Hydrilla.

The infrastructure development plan for Central Arkansas Water, which will cost around $150 million, includes that proactive strategy.

“This is going to be a big expense but the health of this reservoir which is the primary drinking water reservoir for half a million people is the most important thing,” Shackelford said.

As the Hydrilla is not spreading at this time of year, the goal of decreasing the Lake Maumelle levels was to expose the lake bottom to the winter cold.

According to Shackelford, the hydrilla plant is dormant but will start to emerge anew in the spring. Central Arkansas Water intends to use pesticides to eradicate the species if this occurs.

According to Shackelford, the $150 million is not solely for the eradication of Hydrilla. Central Arkansas Water will be working on projects at the lake, underground, and essentially a brand-new treatment plant throughout the course of the following ten years.