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:  Jeff Zimmer

 

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

Volunteers needed for Lake Environment Committee projects...

The summer is the busiest time of the year for the Lake Environment Committee. It involves our vegetation project, our ongoing water clarity and E. coli testing and preparing for the Fall lake survey. But much of the time is answering questions from our LGA members.

 

Most of the questions fall into two categories: Lyngbya and Water Willow. So let’s address these two issues up front:

  • Lyngbya: An algae that grows in shallow water for the most part and likes water that is in back of coves especially.

    The Lake Gaston Weed Control Council (LGWCC) has partnered with NCSU to do research, treatment and to determine the best process to rid our lake of this unwanted algae.

    Current treatment sites are for the most part same as last year and there are several different chemical recipes being tested. At a meeting last week it was noted that one product was having some success.

    So make sure you attend the August 7th meeting to hear our Lake Manager, Jessica Baumann, update us on the treatment effectiveness.
  • Water Willow: We know how to kill the plant but it is protected by Dominion Energy’s Shoreline Management Plan and is specifically pointed out in the FERC license. So if you need relief you will need to contact Dominion Energy. There is nothing we can do to override that part of the agreement with Dominion and the Federal Govt.
  • Grass Carp: 7,500 grass carp were put into the lake this spring. Two locations received them: Lizard Creek and Hawtree Creek. Each received half. Again the LGWCC in partnership with Dominion Energy is paying for the fish. Remember it is illegal to catch or shoot or have in your possession grass carp on Lake Gaston in both VA and NC.
  • E.coli Testing/Water Clarity: Al Potter is coordinating these programs. We have E. coli kits available for your use. Click Here for details or contact Al on his email: alpotter11@gmail.com
  • Fall Lake Survey: The plans for the survey are underway with the Lake Environment Committee and NCSU. Be sure to attend the August 7th LGA meeting to gain more insight into the final plan. Last year we had about 65 volunteers. We are hoping to get around 75 this year. If you can contribute 8 hours or more of your valuable time it would be most appreciated.
  • Comments: Wally Sayko's directorship with the LGA is over at this time. So this is his final report as chairman of the committee. He would like to thank all the LGA volunteers over the past 8 or so years for their support with their valuable time. To the members on the committee, each has done a terrific job of assuring our projects are completed on time and in a safe manner. We have several tasks that took time to resolve. The time all volunteers contribute is what makes Lake Gaston special.

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.