Smith Mountain dredge prohibited between February 15 and June 15

The four-month ban on dredging within the Smith Mountain Project lake boundaries begins next month, the Smith Mountain Project informs.

The ban – which runs from February 15 to June 15 – helps protect the fish habitat during spawning season.

Property owners and contractors attempting to dredge within the lakes’ boundaries have until the end of January to contact Appalachian Power or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

“If contact is not made prior to the end of the month, property owners should plan to dredge after June 15,” according to the official statement.

Dan Wilson, fisheries biologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, said this policy is to protect fish spawning. Black bass, sunfish, catfish and other species use shallow shoreline habitats during the spring spawning.

“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, rearing – that encompass a fairly long period.”

Photo: Smith Mountain Project