PDRA Lake Norman Quarry – CLOSED until further notice
Today (September 21, 20023) the PDRA cooperated in an investigation by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission at Lake Norman Quarry. There was a complaint filed that there were zebra mussels in the quarry. A team of 4 divers and 2 support folks were on-site all afternoon.
They did find zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) which are considered an invasive species. The jurisdiction of the Wildlife Resources Commission gives them the right to close the quarry. If you are curious about this you can read section (d) of Statute NCGS 113-292.
Since this is the first time that this species has been found in North Carolina there are a lot of unknows at this time. Please be patient as the PDRA and NC Wildlife Resource Commission plan out next steps. I do not believe it will be a quick process. We have over 1,000 members and it will not be possible to reply to everyone that has a particular question. I ask that you please respect the authorities assigned to this as well as the PDRA board which will do everything we can to get back to diving at Lake Norman Quarry.
We will also be provided some gear decontamination information that I will send as soon as we have it. One thing is to be sure all your gear has fully dried for 7 days if you have been diving in Lake Norman Quarry before you dive in another body of water. Something else to keep in mind is that the larva can live for 72 days out of water. I am not going to speculate on where the mussels came from or if they are in the other two quarries that the PDRA owns. Please be mindful of your gear if you are traversing from bodies of water with a known mussel population and our quarries in North Carolina.
Dear Members — October 18th, 2023
I know you have been anxiously awaiting for additional information regarding the closure of Lake Norman Quarry as well as the condition of the two quarries (American and JMR/Blanche) that remain open.
Let’s start with good news: The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission (NCWRC) supervised dives at American and JMR over the past two days and found no physical evidence of zebra mussels. A collection of water samples will be analyzed over the next two weeks and I will share the results after they are revealed to us.
The bad news: Lake Norman Quarry remains closed at this time. Additional water samples will be taken and analyzed to determine the concentration of the zebra mussels and locations within the quarry and water column. This will be needed in order to develop an irradiation plan. The quarry will remain closed until we get the all clear from the NCWRC which may take upwards of a year or more.
I am the primary contact between the PDRA and the NCWRC. Members may direct questions to email@example.com. Questions may not be answered individually, but will be collected and answered in future communications. The NCWRC will not accept calls from PDRA members and will redirect those back to the PDRA. Do not take it upon yourself to reach out to the NCWRC as you may jeopardize any cooperation that they are providing. The NCWRC has a vested interest in irradiating the zebra mussels from Lake Norman quarry as well as protecting all the PDRA quarries from future infestation.
The NCWRC has published a lot of information on Aquatic Nuisance Species on their site at www.ncwildlife.org. There are links that will take you to a chart for decontaminating gear and equipment, zebra mussel fact sheet, and guidance for SCUBA divers. It is important to be vigilant in cleaning gear especially when traveling between the PDRA quarries and other bodies of water. Thoroughly cleaning and drying your equipment before and after diving is everyone’s responsibility to protect the quarries.
You may be wondering if renewing your PDRA membership for 2024 is a good investment and let me tell you why it is. The PDRA operates for the sole benefit of our members. The leadership is all volunteers and we’re all divers that love the advantage of having a place to train and dive 365 days a year. Granted that drive to reach your local quarry may take longer in 2024. Membership dues are the only source of funds and if you’ve been a member for a few years, you know that the PDRA invests those dues directly back into the quarries such as aerators at all the quarries to improve visibility and reduce thermoclines, new dock and gear up benches at JMR, the big assembly building at American and more.
There will be additional traffic at American and JMR and this in and of itself will put a strain on those quarries. The PDRA board is already discussing how we can make some quick improvements such as additional parking and adding gear up benches for the additional divers. Luckily there is some time before spring diving season starts to make space to accommodate more members.
I hope to see you out diving at American or JMR in 2024!