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‘No easy answer’ for silt buildup

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Silt is building up so high in some areas of Claytor Lake that it’s not uncommon to find boaters stuck on silt bars, according to Pulaski County Administrator Peter Huber.

Huber, a pilot, flew over the lake during the recent drawdown to get some pictures of the silt problem to share with Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.

The areas of silt buildup were readily visible in the photographs since the water level had been lowered three feet to allow for shoreline maintenance. However, Huber pointed out the silt bars are normally not as easy to spot.

He said the primary problem begins above Lighthouse Bridge. “Boaters see wide-open water, but if they’re not familiar with that part of the lake, they’ll take off across that water and end up stuck in the mud, which is pretty difficult to extract yourself from,” he said.

As part of its re-licensing to operate the dam, Appalachian Power Co. is proposing to install new navigational buoys to help mark these areas of danger.

Huber said the proposal would mark the whole channel. “These high danger areas, for sure, need to be marked, but the rest would be beneficial if you didn’t know the lake,” he said. “The navigational buoys should help these particular areas.”

Without the markers, he said a boater that doesn’t know the lake well “could easily get in trouble.”

APCo’s proposed Aids to Navigation Management Plan would add 68 new navigational buoys at Claytor Lake, in addition to the 39 No Wake, No Boat, Swimming Area, Danger Rock and Mooring buoys already there.

“Siltation is the issue. There’s no easy answer to it,” Huber told the supervisors.

He said there are maps that show what is thought to be the lake bottom contours. However, he said, “that changes every year.”

If approved by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL) says APCo plans to install markers as a “test” in the Little Wytheville area this winter.

The markers will contain small strobe lights to help boaters navigate the lake at night.

FOCL has a copy of the plan on its website, www.focl.org, and is seeking feedback from the public.

 

Comments

comments

4 Responses to ‘No easy answer’ for silt buildup

  1. Lake Lover

    December 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Marking hazards is certainly warrented but marking smaller coves and the rest of hte lake is overkill and will create hazards in itself for already crowded ski areas. The draw of Claytor lake is the beauty and putting lighted blinking markers where they are not needed will detract from that.

  2. Capt Forest Pressnell

    December 6, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Probably a good idea to put the buoys in unless you are a Sea Tow operator!

  3. Richard

    December 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Defiantly a Bad ideal for these maybe and should around Rock or shallow water the silt problem YES but not in regular coves. could cause boat and ski problems…at night epically for Fishermen,,,,You put in at State park you go left or right you can’t get lost on this lake,,re think this ,,,kinda of a Bad idea……….

  4. Mike

    February 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    If they want to do something benificial for fishermen, create
    A ski/jet ski/ wakeboard/ tubing only zone at the lake where
    These indivisuals can stay without disturbing the fishwermen.
    Fishermen also pay for boat registration, tags at DMV for the trailer
    But also purchase a fishing license, that can only be used at night
    Because you cant fish in peace during daylight hours.

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