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

Vegetation Program

The Lake Gaston Association’s Lake Environment Committee will be starting their vegetation program for 2019 on June 11. We are in dire need of volunteers. Normally we look for at least a day of your time but will take what we can get. Please contact Wally Sayko: wasay1943@gmail.com or phone (434) 636-5393.

 

The project supports not only the male population but ladies are most welcome also. Some of the tasks do not require you to be in the water. If you have high school age children they are welcome and if they need Community Service Certification we do that through North Carolina State University. The schedule is as follows:

 

  • June 11th - 8:30 a.m. Granite Hall Shores
  • June 12th - 8:30 a.m. Poplar Creek boat ramp
  • June 13th - TBD
  • Lunch and drinks are provided
  • You will be working in waist deep water. Old tennis shoes or water shoes are recommended and gloves.
  • The more people we have the easier the job and also the quicker. Please consider volunteering.
  • If you reply: let me know day/days and location you prefer to work.

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.

 

New Lake Manager

We welcomed our new Lake Manager Jessica Bauman at our last meeting. Jessica is part of the NCSU Crop Sciences Dept. She brings years of working in the LKG area. She was part of North Carolina Wildlife Commission for a number of years. She has been a very busy person monitoring the Hydrilla and Lyngbya treatments via the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council. And now supporting training for the lake survey. Welcome Jessica. And of course we still have Steve Hoyle for his always excellent support.

 

News from the Lake Environment Committee

Lake Environment Committee is springing into action

We invite you to the May 1st LGA monthly meeting at the Lake Gaston Baptist Church (across from Subway NC Hwy 903) to hear firsthand from our Lake Manager, Jessica Baumann sharing results of the 2018 Fall Lake Survey and treatment plans for 2019.

 

Just a few data points to share with you...

  • Hydrilla: The 2018 survey reported 386 acres of Hydrilla vs 374 acres in 2017. So the trend is solid. Most of the Hydrilla was located in Upper Lizard Creek and Pea Hill Creek. Both areas received applications in August to help control the outbreak.
  • Lyngbya: Lyngbya showed up in 15% of the rake tosses by our volunteers in 2018 vs 16% in 2017. Lyngbya still remains the main focus for 2019. There will be minimal expansion sites for Lyngbya. The main reason is for the past two years the results of treatments have been very mixed. There has not been a process or product that will do great damage to the dreaded algae. Jessica is moving up the treatment schedule to begin earlier in the year. April is the targeted date.
  • Grass Carp: We will be inserting about 7,500 sterile grass carp into areas of the lake. At this time those sites are Upper Lizard Creek and Hawtree area. This is subject to change.
  • High Water and Muddy Water: The LGA has continually kept residents apprised of the ongoing levels on the lake. We want to thank Dominion Energy for providing us with regular updates. This has been somewhat of a historic rain period from last September to present. Dominion Energy has presented to the membership on 2 occasions during this time period. The muddy water is not very pretty but rain/snow events west of us all the way to Smith Mountain Lake are contributors to this high water and muddy water. So what we need is about 2 weeks with no rain in the Roanoke River Basin. Then perhaps it will clean up a bit.

The Lake Environment Committee is planning the Vegetation Project for 2019. Should happen about mid-June, so please think about volunteering.

 

 

~ Wally Sayko, Lake Environment Chair

 

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

Effective March 1 Dominion Energy 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 Energy 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.

 

To see the daily projected lake levels during spawning season click here .

 

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