Yadkin Project (FERC No. 2197)

Invasive Exotic Plant Species

Final Study Plan

June, 2003


Alcoa Power Generating Inc. (APGI) is the licensee for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project.  The Yadkin Project is currently licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as Project No. 2197.  This license expires in 2008 and APGI must file a new license application with FERC on or before April 30, 2006 to continue operation of the Project.   

The Yadkin Project consists of four reservoirs, dams, and powerhouses (High Rock, Tuckertown, Narrows , and Falls) located on a 38-mile stretch of the Yadkin River in central North Carolina .  The Project generates electricity to support the power needs of Alcoa’s Badin Works, to support its other aluminum operations, or is sold on the open market.  

As part of the relicensing process, APGI prepared and distributed, in September 2002, an Initial Consultation Document (ICD), which provides a general overview of the Project.  Agencies, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and members of the public were given an opportunity to review the ICD and identify information and studies that are needed to address relicensing issues.   To further assist in the identification of issues and data/study needs, APGI has formed several Issue Advisory Groups (IAGs) to advise APGI on resource issues throughout the relicensing process.  IAGs will also have the opportunity to review and comment on Draft Study Plans.  This Draft Study Plan has been developed in response to comments on the ICD and through discussions with the Wetlands, Wildlife and Botanical IAG, to provide additional necessary information for consideration in the relicensing process.


The presence of invasive exotic plant pest (IEPP) species in the Project area and their potential impacts on natural terrestrial and aquatic plant communities is of concern to natural resource agencies.  The focus of this study will be on areas of concern including Uwharrie National Forest (UNF), Morrow Mountain State Park and Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) Conservation Zones (including islands), and on areas with impact potential on Narrows Reservoir and Falls Reservoir.  This study will also evaluate the current status of known aquatic IEPPs including Brazilian elodea and Hydrilla.


The following issues were raised during initial consultation regarding IEPP species at the Yadkin Project:  

§         The presence of IEPP species in the Project area and their potential impacts on natural terrestrial and aquatic plant communities in areas of concern.


On March 13, and April 25, 2003 the Wetlands, Wildlife and Botanical IAG met and discussed objectives for the IEPP species study.  Over the course of those discussions the following objectives were identified for the study.

§         Identify potential impact areas within the Project area and inventory for presence of IEPP species.

§         Evaluate the current status of known aquatic IEPPs i.e., Brazilian elodea and Hydrilla.

§         Evaluate potential impacts of IEPPs on natural communities in areas of concern.

Geographic Extent

§         The focus of IEPP identification and survey efforts will be in areas with the greatest impact potential including Tuckertown Reservoir, Narrows Reservoir (east arm), Narrows Dam/Powerhouse and Falls Reservoir.

§         The focus of the potential impacts analysis will be on areas where IEPPs have the potential to be of most concern including Uwharrie National Forest , Morrow Mountain State Park and SMP Conservation Zones (including islands).


§         Develop a list of priority species (approximately twelve) in consultation with the IAG and appropriate natural resource agencies based on considerations such as threat significance and known occurrence in areas of concern on Yadkin Project lands.

§         Prepare a plan and schedule for conducting the IEPP species survey.

§         Identify and place on a map areas with impact potential.

§         Conduct a field survey for IEPP species in areas of concern and in areas with impact potential.  The extent of invasiveness will be qualitatively assessed based on abundance and vigor of the IEPP population at a given occurrence location.  Photos will be taken at each location to document occurrence and extent of invasiveness.

§         Qualitatively assess relative level of threat to native species and communities at occurrence locations and surrounding environs based on proximity of the IEPPs and extent of invasiveness.  Photos will be taken to document impacts occurring to native plant populations.

§         Visit locations where Brazilian elodea and Hydrilla have been observed in order to note substrate, depth and other information on habitat characteristics.  Evaluate the potential for spread of these aquatic species. 

§         Conduct a reconnaissance level survey at likely locations based on habitat requirements along the shorelines of Tuckertown Reservoir, Narrows Reservoir and Falls Reservoir by boat.  High Rock Reservoir will be surveyed during other project related field work.  Locations of occurrences of Brazilian elodea and Hydrilla will be determined using GPS and mapped.

§         Identify appropriate IEPP management/control measures, if necessary.  


A draft study report will be prepared that will include the following information  

§         Review of existing information on invasive species in the Project area.

§         Discussion of the process used to develop the list of priority invasives including consultation with the IAG and natural resource agencies; description of the field survey plan and the criteria used to identify areas with impact potential.

§         Documentation of the field reconnaissance, weather and field conditions, etc.

§         Table of priority invasives, their extent of invasiveness and relative threat levels.

§         Discussion of results of IEPP species search, extent of invasiveness, relative level of threat to native species, potential for spread.

§         Discussion of any management/control measures that may be necessary.  

The draft report will be distributed to the IAG for review and comment, the comments addressed, and a final report prepared.  


§         Review existing information.

July–September 2003

§         Develop list of priority IEPP species.

October 2003

§         Prepare plan and schedule for survey, select field survey locations.

January–April 2003

§         Conduct field searches for priority IEPP species.

June–July 2004

§         Assess extent of invasiveness and relative threat levels, evaluate potential for spread.

August–September 2004

§         Draft report

October 31, 2004

§         Final report

December 31, 2004