TVA researching impact of double-crested cormorants on Lake Guntersville

TVA studying why migratory birds taking up permanent residence around Lake Guntersville
(Source: WAFF)
Updated: Oct. 1, 2018 at 6:08 PM CDT
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GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Tennessee Valley Authority is partnering with Mississippi State University and a number of regional and local groups to determine why double-crested cormorants are taking up permanent residence on islands around Lake Guntersville.

“They are in fact a migratory bird. They would come down from the north up into Canada and summer in the Guntersville area, but they have decided that is a great place to be,” said Malinda Hunter, a spokesperson for TVA.

2014 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Randy Howell, has been fishing Lake Guntersville for over 20 years and says the birds are a big problem for vegetation.

“Stay hear year-round. I see them all the time and totally kill off all the trees and the grass and you know all the life on the islands on the lake,” said Howell.

Howell says the birds are also detrimental to fish in the lake, “The toxic waste that they let out just goes in the water and I think it damages the fish habitat for spawning, not to mention they eat a lot of them.”

TVA is using several different approaches in their study.

“We're testing the water. We're comparing the vegetation. We've actually placed some trackers on the birds to monitor their patterns. To see how many are actually migrating and how many are sticking around,” added Hunter.

“If they can figure out what to do and how to control and maintain and kind of do away with this harmful process that's going on with these cormorants. Then more power to them, we're all behind them,” added Howell.

TVA will be reviewing the study over the next few months and work on a finalized plan for managing the birds within the next year.

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