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The James’Chronicles

Degray Lake Habitat Program as seen through my eyes.

I guess I should first say that I have been asking,begging,suggesting anything that I could think of to help Degray Lake for a pretty good while.Some of the AGFC guys would probably like to tell me to get lost but the have played pretty well with me.We have had numerous meetings,emails & phone calls over the past few years.

Last year the AGFC made a deal with the COE to refurbish some old greenhouses located at the COE maintenance building on Degray Lake,to be used to grow various plants to be replanted in the lake.

While the refurbishing was going on,AGFC got an aquatic habitat restoration specialist with the Corps of Engineers from Texas to come up to evaluate the facility,the lake & to make some suggestions.

At this time,there are 4 species of vegetation being planted,Eelgrass,Coontail,American Pondweed & Sago Pondweed.

The vegetation is being placed into enclosures similar to the one in the 1st photo.

On Monday,August 3,the AGFC Staff invited me to spend the day with them on a Degray Lake,putting out some new enclosures & checking on some that had been out a while.This was very interesting,actually I gained a wealth of knowledge as they did also ! We found 2 enclosures that the turtles had actually gotten into,who ever thought how destructive a turtle could be ?

Photo 2 is pots with eelgrass in them prior to being planted

Photo 3 is pots with eelgrass after the turtles had dinner

I really couldn’t be it !

2-3 years ago,grass carp & turtles were brought up in a conversation,with it being said that they could be the downfall to any vegetation plan,”I kinda laughed about it”but was I ever wrong.

Last year, AGFC placed 16 exclusion cages, split between four locations, on the lower end of DeGray. Each exclusion cage was 2 foot tall by 2 foot wide and placed on the lake bottom. At each location there were four exclusion cages,2 of them were totally enclosed,2 didn’t have a top on them,after a few weeks they went back to check them,the 2 that were totally enclosed we’re full of volunteer vegetation,the stuff that was there in the old days,the 2 without tops on the exclusion cages showed nothing but little nubs sprouting from the ground as in photo 3.

All in all,I can say that the vegetation process will be a long & slow undertaking ! There will be a lot of man hours involved in this process,the great thing Is,we have the right men on the job,I believe their in it for the long haul !

I would like to say thanks to Brett & Sean for taking me along & answering my 1,000 questions !!!

If you’re one of those that don’t think these guys do anything,just go out with them sometime !

O,I almost forgot,I also spent a day with these guys a few weeks ago,that day we were boat stocking over 100,000 Florida Bass fingerlings into Degray Lake.

It may take a while but things should start getting better on Degray Lake.

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