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 very busy this time of the year. We did begin the Fall Lake Survey on September 1. So far about 10% of the lake has been surveyed by loyal volunteers. We thank you very much. We are still in need of volunteers on Pea Hill Creek and above the I85 Bridge. If interested please contact David Murphy at: Dmurphy3@centurylink.net / cell (703) 901-5900.

 

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

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.

 

Frequently Asked Questions / Answers about the training - Click Here.

 

Status Map showing the progress of this year’s Fall Lake Survey - Click Here.

 

Vegetation Project 2018...

Results of our June program to build and rebuild some of the vegetation cages seem to be going well. I have checked several on Poplar Creek and The Flats. The White Water Lilies were very nice. Pond Weed seems to be thriving in many locations. It is always nice to see that your efforts are being rewarded by nice growing plants.

Ecoli Testing 2018...

Al Potter is still in need of your E.coli test results and water clarity. The lake is now somewhat quiet compared to summer months. It is a great time to be on the lake. When you are just riding about look out for our vegetation cages and see what is growing. You can report to me via email what you find or any problems with the structures. Wasay1943@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.

 

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.

 

Current Issues

Happy New Year! from the Lake Environment Committee

The committee has been in recess since the November meeting. But we are still active. LadyBug Solar Farm: We had a request from some of our members to discuss the pending construction of a Solar Farm in Mecklenbug County in Virginia. We held a Lake Environment Committee meeting in late December to listen to their concerns. We value our membership’s involvement in community events and they brought up a number of questions that the LGA is not equipped to answer. These questions/concerns were forwarded to Cypress Creek Renewables for their response.

 

An action plan was put together by our President Mozine Lowe to assure our members’ questions were answered. In addition the LGA will have a public meeting on February 6 at our regular time and place and Cypress Creek will present their proposal at that time.

 

Lake Gaston Survey Results: The results of our lake survey will be discussed at the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) in February in Raleigh, N.C. Attending will be Wally Sayko and Pete Deschenes who is Chairman of the Lake Gaston Stakeholders organization. After that a plan will be developed and presented to the Stakeholders in March or early April for approval and then to the Lake Gaston Weed Control Council for their approval for activation for 2019. We want to thank the many volunteers for their effort this year you did a great job.

 

Trees/leaves in lake: We were asked by Dominion Power to assist in notifying residents that putting old Christmas trees and other debris such as leaves into the lake is prohibited by the Shoreline Management Plan. We had an instance of a home owner who had permission to add to their boat dock. After it was built the owner found several trees that were attached with nails to cinder blocks near the expansion and these were a dangerous hazard. His family was fortunate to not have anyone injured. These trees can also become a navigation hazard. So please refrain from putting anything into the lake.

 

We look forward to the spring and being able to enjoy warm weather. We will have our usual busy schedule and again request members to volunteer their time to our various committee activities.

 

equest members to volunteer their time to our various committee activities. So as we move from a Happy New Year we will wish you a great St. Patrick’s Day. If you need information on any of our activities or other please contact Wally Sayko: wasay1943@gmail.com., phone: 434 636 5393. Please leave your phone number since I do not have caller I.D. (I can hear the chuckles now..lol).

 

 

~ Wally Sayko, Lake Environment Chair

 

Update from the Lake Manager

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been 6 months since I’ve taken on the role of your Lake Manager! I want to take thistime to thank everyone for being so welcoming and for helping make this transition a little bit smoother!!

In the fish world, cooler weather means that we are gearing up for our field season of sampling fish with ne...

meaning long, cold days on the boat handling wet nets and slimy fish. I can honestly say I was looking forward to staying warm and dry this year. I figured working with plants would mean that cooler weather would bring on a decrease in work load…right? Ha Ha, Nope!

Right now I am busy analyzing data from over 6,000 sample points collected by volunteers last year during the fall vegetation survey and over 300 miles of shoreline sonar data to determine next year’s Hydrilla Management Plan. January also brings with it Hydrilla tuber bank sampling and continued water quality sampling. All this along with analyzing the effects of Lyngbya treatments have me quite busy right now! I look forward to sharing all our results with you in the spring!

Also, don’t forget it’s never too early to mark your calendars for the volunteer opportunities this summer (native vegetation planting) and fall (vegetation surveys)!

I can’t express how impressed I’ve been with the volunteer effort I have seen from this group!! You guys keep this boat moving forward and I sincerely Thank You!

(Jessica R. Baumann is the Lake Manager of Lake Gaston and works for North Carolina State University’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Aquatic Plant Management Program in Raleigh, NC.)

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.