Utility group to talk remediation

Grass carp, erosion among topics at stormwater meeting

Establishing grass carp in the Rotonda River has been discussed by the West Charlotte Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee for years, according to chairman Hank Killion.

One of the food sources for the grass carp is the hydrilla, an invasive plant species and establishing the fish in the river would help control the destructive, non-native plant, he said.

“If we can have this work, we’d save money and not have to rely as much on chemicals (to kill the hydrilla),” Killion said.

The grass carp is one of a number of topics to be discussed at the West Charlotte Stormwater Utility Advisory Committee meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday at 18400 Murdock Circle in Port Charlotte.

According to the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants at the University of Florida, hydrilla has spread rapidly through portions of the United States and become a serious problem.

“Where the plant occurs, it causes substantial economic hardships, interferes with various water uses, displaces native aquatic plant communities and adversely impacts freshwater habitats,” said Kenneth Langeland in the report. “Management techniques have been developed, but sufficient funding is not available to stop the spread of the plant or implement optimum management programs.”

“We’ll be discussing placement and budget at the meeting,” Killion said. “We may get a sterile breed of grass carp so we won’t have any population issues.”

Or they may rely on man-made barriers to keep the fish within the waterway and feeding on the unwanted plants. Killion said the committee is also discussing two culverts at the White Marsh inlet to keep the carp from traveling elsewhere.    Killion said Johnson Engineering has drafted plans for carp barriers along Rotonda River.

“We want to make sure everything is correct before we put them in,” he said.

Another item the committee will be discussing is the erosion of sewer pipes under the Rotonda River.

“The pipes are 40 years old,” Killion said. “The ends, we know, are galvanized and they have deteriorated. After talking to Mike Dallenbach (Charlotte County Maintenance and Operations Road Superintendent) he recommended to realign the pipes rather than replace.”

Realignment would be less expensive than replacing the pipes, he said.

Judy Nothdurft, municipal service district representative with Charlotte County Public Works, said contractors at Johnson Engineering have completed 90 percent of the plans.

“There are concerns about the costs,” Nothdurft said. “When it comes to the erosion around the sewer pipes, public works maintenance and operations thought sodding might be the answer for stopping the erosion but we’re uncertain.”

Killion said the rainy season is stalling the progress of the Coral Creek Restoration Project.

“The committee is looking at the Coral Creek Restoration Project and wondering if the county is going to maintain the project after completion,” Nothdurft said. “Our foreman, Roy Slade, is going to look into that.”

Other items that will be discussed include an update on the Newgate Waterway spoil removal/vegetative removal, Oyster Creek budget for 2015, a herbicide program request for the San Domingo ditch and revisions to the draft West Charlotte Stormwater ordinance.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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