Lake Environment Committee

  • Meets:  3rd Wednesday of each month at 8:30AM at the Kitchen Table Café, 4111 Gasburg Rd, Gasburg, VA 23867
  • Email:  Environment@LakeGastonAssoc.com
  • Chair:  Wally Sayko - (434) 636-5393

 

Committee Mission Statement / Function

Mission...

To maintain the environmental well being of the lake and surrounding areas in balance with recreational use and enjoyment of Lake Gaston. Represents the LGA on Stakeholders Group; monitors, encourages and supports sound environmental efforts with the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council.

Primary Function...

Participate, research, monitor and communicate findings concerning Lake Gaston’s environment; including water levels, water quality, biological impacts, and general aesthetics on land and water. Keep informed and maintain rapport with all appropriate groups and agencies involved in the decision-making process for each of these issues, obtain approval from the LGA Board for positions on major issues, and report progress to the LGA members through the LGA Newsletter, Website, and other means of communications.

 

Current Projects

The Environment Committee is involved in several issues that have, or could have a serious impact on the Lake Gaston Environment:

Vegetation Project 2018...

Work was completed on a number of locations on the lake: The Flats, Beechwood, Poplar Creek, Lyons Creek, Stonehouse and Stillhouse. This year the LGA volunteers contributed 136 hours of time. And NCSU and NCWildlife and VADGIF carried most of the load. I want to thank all of those who participated.

 

We did have a young man who is a Scout, Dillon Cook who assisted on all of the days, thank you Dillon. We had a number of new volunteers this year which was very refreshing to see new faces. Special thanks to Steve Hoyle from NCSU and Kirk Rundell from NCWildlife for their leadership in accomplishing all of the work.

Fall Lake Survey 2018...

The Lake Gaston Association (LGA) needs help in the annual environmental data sampling of Lake Gaston starting this September 2018.

 

The object of the annual Fall Lake Survey is to ascertain where Hydrilla & Lyngbya & other nuisance aquatic plants are located along the shoreline so NC State University’s Aquatic Crop Science Dept. and Lake Gaston Weed Control Council can determine where treatments should be done in the following year i.e. 2019.

 

Clean lakes with healthy natural shorelines are good for everyone. They provide aesthetic value, recreational opportunities, higher property values, jobs, and a higher tax base. Studies have shown that higher quality of lakes are linked to higher property values.

 

So, we are gearing up for our annual Fall Lake Survey, a project that is invaluable to determining water clarity and what aquatic plants, good and bad, are growing in and around Lake Gaston. We need help to get this project done as we survey the entire shoreline of Lake Gaston every year.

 

The lake survey will commence on September 1 and run thru the end of October. Training will be available in the month of August at various locations. The survey process is fairly simple; a team up to 3 or your choice of people will survey a portion of the lake shoreline. A rake toss is utilized to bring up any vegetation. Then it is documented on a Tablet. Most teams have a driver, a data entry person and rake thrower. However, others do it in a kayak or wave runner.

 

Training is available in two formats: If you are a veteran of the survey in the past, there is an online presentation that will remind you on the process and any changes: Click Here. . If you are new or need a refresher then the following training sites are scheduled which will take about 1 hour to complete.

 

We have two new coordinators from the Lake Environment Committee in Bruce Johnson’s absence. David Murphy and Judy Waters are hard at work getting the programs loaded and testing all the Tablets for proper functions. We are planning on 3 or 4 training locations around the lake at this time. The initial locations (subject to change) will be the Long Bridge VFD, 1678 Eaton Ferry Rd, Littleton, NC 27850; the Central Lifesaving & Rescue Squad, 5736 Gasburg Rd., VA 23857; and a location in Bracey. We are planning one of those to be on a Friday in the early evening to see if those from out of town can make the training.

 

By then we will have a new Lake Manager from NCSU. We will need volunteers to pick up the workload that Bruce always was nice enough to do. I am assuming this will be in the triple digits in terms of time. So please do the following: consider extending the area of survey you did last year, ask your friends, neighbors and HOA’s to assist because this project is very critical to our planning for 2019.

 

If interested please contact: David Murphy. dmurphy3@centurylink.net. Cell: 703-901-5900. Dave is refining our technology and will be able to plot your area with your name. So we know who did what. Judy will be assigning and scheduling the equipment for the project. Training will begin in August. Please consider increasing your participating efforts this year.

Ecoli Testing 2018...

Ecoli and water clarity testing are ongoing projects. Please forward your information to Al Potter. potter11@gmail.com.

Sedimentation...

The Committee has successfully resolved two sedimentation issues with state governments. In Virginia, a tobacco farmer whose property has allowed runoff to dump unacceptable amounts of sediment into Poplar Creek has planted natural barriers between his crop and the creek and has stopped planting tobacco in favor of soybeans. In North Carolina, our efforts concerning excessive runoff and sediment entering Stonehouse Creek from a Motor Cross track on Hwy. 903 has resulted in the track being closed and natural vegetation is re-growing that will effectively stem runoff. If you are aware of a sedimentation/runoff issue, contact the Committee at environment@lakegastonassoc.com.

Weed Control...

Respondents in our 2015 LGA Membership Survey told us that water quality is the number one concern of lake property owners. Although the Committee remains convinced that Lake Gaston is one of the cleanest lakes in North Carolina and Virginia, this spring we will begin an ecoli testing program in about 20 locations in our coves and creeks which are not regularly tested by state water quality authorities. Volunteers will take monthly water samples throughout the summer and test results will be reported to both North Carolina and Virginia.

 

There are additional points that the Committee would like to test, especially on the southeast side of the lake. If you are interested in volunteering for one or more test points, contact environment@lakegastonassoc.com. To learn more about using the test kits, there is a series of four training videos on YouTube. The first video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c59nedG9So. The others will be listed in the right column.

 

Water Allocation

The Committee is a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Management Stakeholders Group and participates in weekly water management teleconferences representing the issues and concerns of LGA members. We will notify members when lake levels may be higher or lower than normal levels (199 – 200 feet) for extended periods through email and this web site.

 

Current Issues

Lake Awareness for the Fall...

In this season of winterizing water toys and raking leaves we would like to remind you NOT to rake or blow leaves or other yard debris into the lake.

 

Yes... leaves fall into the lake all the time - its nature; but nature is a delicate balance and additional leaves stress the lake in many ways.

 

Decaying leaves consume oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive and releases excess nutrients that contribute to undesirable aquatic plant growth i.e., hydrilla, lyngbya and other noxious algae. This is especially true in coves with lower water levels. It creates dirty water in shallow areas.

 

Not abiding by this requirement we become our own worst enemy by adding additional nutrients to the water pool.

 

We should also be aware that most land around the lake is elevated this allows any chemicals from lawn fertilizing or weed control to wash into the lake. You should take precautions when applying any product to your lawn.

 

Please note that putting grass clippings into the lake is also an activity that is prohibited. This adds phosphorous and nitrogen into the water with significant effects on nutrient levels in the lake.

 

Lastly, intentionally putting leaves in the lake is a violation of Dominion Power's Shoreline Management Plan (the same document that regulates boat docks and other activities on the Dominion right-of-way) and subject to enforcement action.

 

During this Holiday season let's remember to give thanks for the privilege of living on this beautiful lake and do our part to preserve and protect this wonderful natural resource.

 

The Lake Gaston Association works closely with Dominion Power and other agencies around the lake to make our residents aware of good practices for lake care.

 

~ Wally Sayko, Lake Environment Chair

 

Lake Gaston water level change - Fish Spawning season March 1 thru June 15...

Effective March 1, Dominion is operating under fish spawning operations. This means that Lake Gaston can be raised an extra foot (199-201 feet) to provide storage in support of spawning flows as necessary. Dominion has stated that they don’t expect to raise the water level much more than a couple inches over 200 feet.

 

Nevertheless, experience has taught us to be prepared. We know that once we get above 200 feet we begin to encroach on many of our docks. You are reminded to make sure that any items that are on your docks are securely tied down including canoes and paddle boats. Items sitting on the floor of boat house sheds should be moved up to prevent the possibility of water damage. Boats in docks should be securely tied and boats in lifts should be raised and tied.

 

For reference, in the past several years, the number of days the water level has exceeded 200 feet during the months of April, May and June are:

 

  • 2005 - 12 days
  • 2006 -  23 days
  • 2007 - 17 days
  • 2008 - 27 days
  • 2010 - 65 days
  • 2011 - 76 days
  • 2013 - 84 days

The greatest depth reported during this time was 200.6 feet. In summer months, Dominion tries to maintain levels below 200 feet on weekends.

 

Dominion will operate under spawning conditions until June 15. If you have questions, email environment@lakegastonassoc.com.