Lake Environment Committee

  • Meets:  3rd Wednesday of each month at 8:30AM at the Tammy's Place at 239 Hwy 158 in Littleton, NC 27850
  • 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 Issues

Lake Survey Volunteers Needed...

 

It's August all ready and I'm getting ready for the Lake Gaston Aquatic Plant Survey. Some people refer to this survey as the Hydrilla survey, but this documents all the plants in and around the lake. Hydrilla is now considered "in control", but Lyngbya is now considered the "bad guy".

 

This is the most important survey we conduct on the lake, because it, along with NCSU’s aquatic survey, determines where we treat the Hydrilla, where the Lyngbya is concentrated, if we put in more grass carp, and where we can re-vegetate to add native plants to the lake.The LGA is looking for support again this year, and new volunteers as well.

 

We plan to have the important training on Thursday, 24 August at 9 a.m. and on Saturday, 26 August at 9 a.m. at my house. If you can't make one of these training sessions, "not to worry", we ended up with 4 training sessions last year, and as always, the LGA will work with you on a "one to one" training session.

 

What’s involved - Volunteers sample the complete shoreline of the lake every 200 feet. It takes over 6,000 samples to accomplish this task. Between September 1 and October 31, volunteers will spend one or more days on the lake tossing a rake, and documenting what they find on the rake. Tools are provided.

 

Can’t wait to start? … Please contactBruce Johnson at brucejohnson659@gmail.com if you can spare a day or two out on the lake. Get your neighbors involved, and let Bruce know if you can help out this year.

 

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.

 

 

Current Projects

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

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.