Smith Mountain Dredging Ban Begins Next Month

Starting February 15, property owners and contractors are banned for four months from dredging and excavating at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes due to fish spawning, according to a news release from Appalachian Power.

The policy is necessary to support fish population growth, including sunfish, catfish and variations of bass, said Dan Wilson, a fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

“The four-month ban helps protect key spawning areas that are in shallow water, where most dredging takes place,” Wilson said. “Spawning temperatures vary among species, and there are several spawning stages – site selection, active spawning and rearing – that encompass a fairly long period.”

Companies constructing docks after February 15 are required avoid largemouth bass nesting sites.

The restriction also includes pile driving, the release said. Dredging and excavating may resume after June 15.

Anyone planning to dredge before the four-month ban must contact Appalachian Power no later than January 31, according to the release.