Canoeing at Lake Martin Dam

Dam Anatomy: Part Two

Sunrise reflecting off the lake’s unstirred morning surface. Water lapping along the dimly lit shoreline at dusk. The fragrant smell of summer renewal carried by a cool breeze from far banks.

For lake residents, these are just a few of the sights and sounds that draw them to life on the banks of the state’s beautiful waters. These environmental treasures are invaluable resources Alabama Power strives to protect and preserve through the ongoing studies and efforts of field research and shoreline management teams.

Shoreline Protection

Some of the most sensitive of these environmental riches can be found close to home for lake residents. As a bridge between water and land, lake shorelines are vital ecosystems for countless plants and animals.

DSC_1948In some cases, the natural characteristics of an area make shoreline crucial habitat for federally protected species. Other times, the separation between land and water blurs in the presence of biologically diverse and protected wetland habitats. Perhaps less known, steps must be taken to document and protect artifacts and historically important resources that may be uncovered by washing waves, seasonal lake levels and shoreline development.

To protect all of these considerations, various teams are employed to study, document and carefully manage activity in these crucial ecosystems.

Wildlife Enhancement

Both in water and on land, Alabama Power has a responsibility to protect and study species that rely on the lakes’ unique ecosystems.

On land, this responsibility includes wildlife population and nesting surveys, habitat protection and habitat creation for species including bald eagles, osprey, red-cockaded woodpeckers and waterfowl. It also means studying habitats – like those of the flattened musk turtle – and partnering with federal agencies to serve as an informational resource for homeowners on how best to protect these habitats.

In the water, Alabama Power is focused on improving conditions for aquatic species by establishing and maintaining fish habitat.

Vegetation Control

Most lake residents realize controlling vegetation in the reservoir is crucial for recreational activities like fishing, swimming and boating.

But even more important, vegetation control is crucial for maintaining well-balanced aquatic ecosystems and fighting invasive species – like hydrilla or lyngbya algae. Left unchecked, these species can disrupt natural habitats and harm native species populations.

Winter drawdowns – along with helping control flooding from heavy spring rains – help control vegetation by exposing plants that grow quickly in sunlit, shallow water to freezing temperatures.

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