BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Appalachian Power is educating residents along Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake about proper guidance in removing vegetation along the shorelines.

“Appalachian Power is responsible for managing more than 600 miles of shoreline at the Smith Mountain Project to keep the lakes healthy and clean,” said Neil Holthouser with Appalachian’s shoreline management group. “But we don’t do this alone, we rely on lake property owners to do their part by maintaining their shorelines. As more lake-front property is developed over time, we want to make sure that property owners understand the value of shoreline vegetation and are aware of the permitting process for vegetation removal.”

The power company says vegetation is important to help in “filtering stormwater runoff, protecting against erosion, maintaining the lakes’ water quality, and providing habitat for wildlife.”

However, residents will need an Appalachian Power Vegetation Removal Permit — which allows residents to remove vegetation measuring 1/2-inch or greater. The permit allows residents to remove vegetation for the following reasons:

  • Provide for reasonable view of the water
  • Construct access paths to the shoreline and/or dock or pier
  • Construct erosion control measures along the shoreline
  • General maintenance to the vegetated area.

AEP states that if there are dead or dying trees to contact them immediately. They will then work with residents on ways to remove the threat.

“It’s best to keep mature, healthy native vegetation where possible,’ Holthouser said. “Where existing vegetation is removed, replacement vegetation is often required to maintain the function of the buffer. We encourage property owners to contact us early in their planning process so that we can work with them to achieve a balanced landscape design.”

If you have a question about vegetation removal or the permit application process call 540-985-2579 or you can email Shoreline Management here.