South Carolina has a very large and amazing lake called Lake Murray. Lake Murray is 41 miles long covering 48,000 acres with a depth of 200 feet and 649 miles of shoreline. The vegetation that surrounds the lake supports both animal and plant life. There is also a great diversity of organisms in and around the lake.
Wetlands and aquatic habitats make up some of the ecosystems in and surrounding Lake Murray. Lake Murray is home to striped bass, blueback herring, largemouth bass, gizzard shad, white perch, threadfin shad, and white bass. There are some serious threats to the aquatic habitat. The white perch was mistakenly released into Lake Murray probably from someone’s’ fish tank. The white perch is a very invasive, competitive, and reproduce at an exponential rate. A South American Fish, red-bellied pacu, was introduced into the ecosystem in the same fashion as the White Perch. The Pacu has teeth similar to the prianna. They eat everything in sight to include other fish and reproduce in much the same rate as the White perch. Lake Murray is home the migrating Purple Martins and the beautiful Great Blue Herron.
There are many fresh water plants that make up the aquatic ecosystems. The most common plant species are water primrose, alligator weed, slender and southern naiads, slender pondweed and two types of macroscopic algae, musk grass and stonewort. The lake contains Hydrilla, Water Hyacinth, Common Reed, Water Lettuce, and Giant Salvinia, all of which are considered invasive and have caused major issues for the fish, animals, people, and electric generation from hydroelectric power. There is currently a South Carolina Aquatic Invasive Species management plan in effect to control the spreading of these aquatic plants.
SCEG has a Lake Murray conservation plan in place to improve water quality, reduce erosion and sedimentation along the shore line, and improve wild life habitats. SCEG notes “A naturally vegetated shoreline improves a lake's health, acting as lungs and kidneys, filtering out harmful pollutants, protecting and beautifying valuable property, and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat” (SCEG, 2004).
There is a great deal of human activity in and around Lake Murray. The area surrounding Lake Murray was originally settled by dutch, german, and swiss emigrants in the early 1750s. In 1916 a proposal was made for a hydroelectric plant on the Saluda River. William S. Murray reviewed the region and determined the best placement would be a dam across Dreher Shoals. The hydroelectric project began construction in 1930. The first day of opearation for the project was started in April 1927. Lake Murray came into existence in July 1930.The first day of production of electricity was on December 1, 1930. SCANA currently owns and is responsible for what is known today as Lake Murray. Lake Murray when completed was known to be the largesst man-made lake in the world for power production purposes and Dreher Shoals Dam was the largest earthen dam in the world.
The concentration of nitrates and phosphates were generally higher at upper lake stations compared to lower lake stations. In part, this was attributed to the change from rapidly flowing waters in the upper part of the lake compared to slow-moving waters in the lower of part of the lake.
Today ecology planning is very important in order to keep our environment at a health state. To have an effective plan, ecological planners must plan to protect what nature does best and prevent deterioration. Ecologists must know many things about the ecology in order to develop