In an effort to improve fish habitat and reduce shoreline erosion, Alabama Power employees recently brought water willow plants into Smith Lake.
Environmental Affairs staff sunk some 360 square feet of water willow, anchored with chicken wire and cinder blocks, near the Clear Creek Recreational Area in Winston County.
“Unfortunately, Smith Lake has relatively little aquatic vegetation,” said Josh Yerby, manager of Alabama Power’s Aquatic Vegetation Management program. “We hope this water willow takes root and spreads. It will provide an excellent fish habitat for all aquatic organisms, starting at the bottom of the food chain. This should in turn attract larger organisms all the way up to the bluegill and largemouth bass.”
Yerby said water willow helps stabilize the shoreline and curtails erosion.
“We realize the actual area covered by these plantings is small, but we hope it is successful and we can continue to do this for years to come,” Yerby said.
Water willow was chosen because it is a native plant that has many desirable characteristics that aquatic organisms prefer and it does not have aggressive growth. The plant has proven capable of surviving winter drawdown on other Alabama Power reservoirs.
“Our main goal is to gradually increase the amount of beneficial aquatic vegetation and provide habitat for aquatic organisms,” Yerby said.