Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

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Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby bigsprig » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:32 pm

SWAN QUARTER, N.C. (July 25, 2017) —A recent study of the effectiveness of the aluminum flap gates at Lake Mattamuskeet shows that they produce no significant change in the flow rate of water as compared to the original wooden gates.
The Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge manages a series of one-way flap gates on each of the four canals that connect the lake to the Pamlico Sound. The gates prevent salt water intrusion back into the lake.

“The replacement or repair of the flap gates is a standard management practice that has occurred since the first set of gates were installed,” said Michelle Moorman, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The gates can start to leak as they age. This can increase salinities slightly in the canals on the lake side of the gates and in the lake itself, although it should be noted that records dating back to 1977 show that lake salinities have never been higher than five parts per thousand.”
The joint management team, comprised of representatives from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, decided to conduct the study based on mutual concerns about the actual water flow rates of the aluminum flap gates compared to the original wooden ones.
“Water levels in Lake Mattamuskeet are affected by the amount of precipitation and runoff flowing into the lake and the amount of water leaving the lake through evaporation and the four canals,” said Moorman. “The result of the study suggests that the change in materials from wood to metal, when the gates were replaced in 2003-2004, had no impact on the ability of the canals to move water or lake levels. The high-water levels we saw in 2015 and 2016 were caused by higher than normal precipitation.
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby KAhunter » Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:45 am

Has there been much change in their management of the lake this year?? I would be willing to bet that the increase in sound water allowed into the lake has a direct impact on the amount of grass and is the biggest cause of its decline. Yes there may be an increase in pollution to a degree, but I have seen first hand what water from the sound will do to very healthy aquatic grass in a (mostly) freshwater pond when it is allowed to flow into that pond. I hope they are managing that better.
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby Shurshot » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:45 pm

KA, they say they NEVER have had more salt than 5 ppt. Not a problem for wigeon grass and a lot of other SAV's. That's what the lake mainly consists of- SAV's, not moist soil. So the question is if salt intrusion doesn't appear to have a major impact on the SAV population, then what is the root problem for the disappearance of a substantial population of the lakes SAV's? Pollution maybe?
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby HydeMarsh » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:51 pm

here are several thoughts:
1. light for photosynthesis is the key to survival of sub aquatic vegetation. for the past few years the lake has been higher than normal. this has diminished light for the main grass there, wild celery, in the eastern half of the lake. the western half has been on a down hill slide for a long time (bacteria and slime) - feds not sure why but are studying it..
2. farmers near the western part have grown a lot more cotton near the lake. lots of toxic stuff used for that. many of the locals attribute the demise of bass fishing to cotton production. lot of those fields drain to the lake compared to the eastern part. they also use a lot of chicken manure for fertilizer. send a lot of nitrogen and heavy metals to the lake ; caused algae blooms and kills SAV.
3. one of the pre emergent herbicides used frequently in the area, atrazine, has been linked to the demise of SAV in the Chesapeake Bay.
4. there is an insane population of grass eating carp in the lake. they consume a lot of SAV and then the wind blows. since the lake is shallow is stirs up sediment and decreases the amount of light available for SAV. ( See point 1). the water gets vey turbid and that is not conducive to SAV. you have to see the carp schools to believe it.

the gates to keep sound water out are a relatively new thing in the long history of the lake. the lake used to be a lot more saline and it grew a lot of redhead grass. the gates caused the water to be less saline and there is much more celery (at least until the past few years there was)

regardless, most of the ducks at mattamuskeet live more of the time on Managed Impoundment 8,9,10 &11 than on the lake itself- there are ducks there by the hundreds of thousands. you cannot see them or access them but they are there. there are probably more migratory ducks now at skeet than any time in the past 50 years. they come out after LST and leave impoundments to go back right before LST.

In addition, something is changing about how the divers relate to the sound and the lake. this past year right at light we would see huge clouds of divers coming from the sound to the lake. near dark the divers would leave the lake and head back to the sound. I understand that diver hunting in the traditional places on the OBX was very slow this year. they were on a very different pattern than I have seen in the past.

We could all volunteer at the refuge, if the refuge manager would agree, to help control invasive plants like phragmites; we could volunteer to plant SAV like sago pond weed. it would attract divers and puddle ducks. however, if it flourished, waterfowl would never leave the refuge.
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby KAhunter » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:19 am

Im no biologist, though I do alot of work with plants, and another thing I have talked to with a local is the sound water messes with the pH and that hurts the grass as well. Like I said, I know of a pond near there that went from slam full of grass 3 years ago to nothing the last two year directly because of sound water intrusion. That was the only change.

Whatever they are doing it seems to be the birds are definetly not using the main body of the lake like they used to. There are alot of ducks in that area whether you see them or not. They just arent using the area where you can see them from the causeway like you used be able to.

Hopefully they will be able to figure out the problem and get more SAV growing again.
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby merg » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:31 am

Speaking of the sounds, has anybody else noticed how poor the water is/looks? I haven't seen the normal greenish blue color since hurricane Matthew last fall. Various shades of brown and slam full of sediment. It seems like we don't get showers or gentle soaking rains anymore- when it rains we get an inch or more. Lots of runoff.
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby HydeMarsh » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:23 am

merg wrote:Speaking of the sounds, has anybody else noticed how poor the water is/looks? I haven't seen the normal greenish blue color since hurricane Matthew last fall. Various shades of brown and slam full of sediment. It seems like we don't get showers or gentle soaking rains anymore- when it rains we get an inch or more. Lots of runoff.


I have noticed the color difference, are you seeing less shoal grass?
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Re: Mattamuskeet flood gate information by NCDNR

Postby ncbufflehead » Fri Aug 25, 2017 3:05 pm

HydeMarsh wrote:
merg wrote:Speaking of the sounds, has anybody else noticed how poor the water is/looks? I haven't seen the normal greenish blue color since hurricane Matthew last fall. Various shades of brown and slam full of sediment. It seems like we don't get showers or gentle soaking rains anymore- when it rains we get an inch or more. Lots of runoff.


I have noticed the color difference, are you seeing less shoal grass?
The water in the sounds is a lot fresher further down this year. It has the crabbing all out of wack.

There's more grass than usual in Roanoke and Northern Pamlico. Places that were white sandy bottom last year are covered in grass lumps and places that were grass lumps are solid grass bottom.

Our inlet is screwed up and doesn't let the water in or out like it used to. Everyone talks about how good things used to be, fish, crabs, oysters, grasses. The lack of fish and crabs is blamed on commercial fishing because it's a easy target. No one considers a changing environment. The creeks and canals on the south end of Roanoke Island use to have milfoil growing in them and bass and other freshwater species. Now those creeks are filled with ocean water on a flood tide. More than 500 yards of the shoreline is gone, look at the southend of the island on google earth and use the feature that goes back 15 or 20 years.

Look at how much the inlet has changed, how shallow it is and how narrow it is. Drive across the Bonner Bridge and look at the fishing catwalk on the north end. It's over dry land now.

Ride through Tyrrell County and look at the houses with water standing under them after a rain.

I don't think things are going to improve unless another inlet cuts through and the government leaves it alone.

Oh and farm runoff.......................
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