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7,800 Trees Planted at Sutton Lake

Submitted by: Progress Energy

Categories: Environment

Posted: Mar 01, 2001 – 11:00 PM EST

 

Mar. 01 /CSRwire/ - CP&L, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission planted 7,800 hardwood trees in and around Sutton Lake Feb. 26-28 as part of a long-term initiative to enhance the shallow-water fish habitat of the lake, located in Pender County near Wilmington.

Employees of CP&L and the commission planted 5,000 bald cypress and 2,800 water tupelo trees to introduce attractive, hearty trees that will benefit recreational fishing as well support operations for Progress Energy's Sutton Steam Electric Plant.

"The trees we planted were all saplings, but they eventually will provide additional habitat where small fish can hide," said Christian Waters, commission fishery biologist. "As the trees grow larger, they will also provide a surface area to promote the growth of microscopic organisms, which are the basis of the aquatic food web."

In addition to improving fishing in Sutton Lake, the mature trees will provide a barrier that will help stabilize and restrain large mats of nuisance weeds from floating into the plant's intake structure.

"In the past, plant operations were considerably hampered and plant shutdowns occurred when nuisance weeds jammed the water intake structure," said Doug Sullivan, Sutton Plant manager. "With Sutton's clear and shallow water, nuisance aquatic vegetation flourished and the excessive vegetation created a significant problem for plant operations as well as an impediment to boating."

The tree plantings are part of the Sutton Lake Ecosystem Management Initiative, a partnership between CP&L and the Commission to reduce nuisance aquatic vegetation, promote desirable rooted aquatic plants that improve fish habitat, and maintain efficient plant operations. As part of that initiative, a nuisance weed herbicide application and a cutting-and-cabling effort were carried out in 2000. During cutting and cabling, shoreline trees were cut and toppled into the lake. The felled trees were cabled to their shore-bound stumps, creating shallow-water, woody fish habitat.

The tree-planting component of the project introduces additional shallow-water habitat that will not only sustain itself for years, but actually improve over time as the trees mature and provide better habitat for fish.

"These aquatic trees will be good for all of Sutton Lake's user groups," said Reid Garrett, senior technical specialist with CP&L's Natural Resources Unit. "In addition to reducing the impacts to power plant operations, the bald cypress and water tupelos will enhance the beauty of Sutton Lake for nature enthusiasts and improve both fish and waterfowl habitat to the benefit of anglers and hunters."

The Sutton Lake Ecosystem Management Initiative is the latest in a series of collaborative projects between CP&L and the commission in Sutton Lake. Other joint projects have included the construction and installation of more than 15 deep-water fish attractors in 1989-1994, and research in 1999-2000 to assess the impact of a flathead catfish introduction. Fish biologists from the commission and CP&L annually meet to discuss research and exchange ideas.

"The commission enjoys an excellent working relationship with CP&L," Waters said. "We work together not only on Sutton Lake, but also Lake Julian, Lake Tillery, Blewett Falls Lake, Mayo Reservoir, Hyco Reservoir and Shearon Harris Reservoir, among others."

Future components of the Sutton Lake Ecosystem Management Initiative include construction of experimental aquatic vegetation plots and installation of additional deep-water fish attractors to supplement the attractors installed 10 years ago.

Sutton Lake was constructed in 1972 by CP&L to provide cooling water for the Sutton Plant. Since then, the Wilmington-area lake has become a popular location for local anglers.

Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN) is a Fortune 500 diversified holding company headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. Progress Energy is one of the top 10 generators of electricity in the United States with more than 19,000 megawatts of capacity and $7 billion in annual revenues. The company's diverse portfolio includes two major electric utility companies, CP&L and Florida Power, as well as NCNG, SRS, Progress Telecom and an important new organization, Energy Ventures, which has been created to manage wholesale energy marketing and trading, merchant generation, fuel properties, as well as barge and rail subsidiaries. These companies serve 2.8 million customers across the Southeast, providing electricity, natural gas, energy services and broadband capacity. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company's Web site at: http://www.progress-energy.com.

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