Lake Gaston Association Executive Director

The LGA added the Executive Director position to its staff on July 1, 2005. It is the only paid LGA position, part time at 20 hours/week, and was established primarily to provide continuity of effort and resident expertise for the Board of Directors who, as volunteers, experience considerable turnover.

Moira Underwood has held the Executive Director position since its inception and is considered the glue that holds the organization together on a daily basis.

Early into her tenure, she established a permanent LGA office in the Town Center in Littleton, NC giving the LGA its first ever base of operations. From there, she is effectively able to respond to queries and concerns from members and other lake property owners, as well as administer her many other duties and responsibilities. She was also able to eliminate the need for a separate Communications Committee by assuming responsibility for publication of the bi-monthly LGA Bulletin, oversight of the organization’s web site, and providing timely communication with the LGA’s members through pertinent emails, letters, a monthly newspaper column, and numerous public service announcements.

Additional duties include oversight of the membership data base, preparation and mailing of member renewal letters and reminders, preparation and mailing of solicitations for new members using county tax listings, preparation of displays for use at meetings and area festivals, development and administration of member surveys, and administrative and advisory support of the LGA Board and its Committees. The Executive Director reports directly to the President in the execution of her duties. She may be reached (252) 586-6577 or toll free at 1-888-586-6577, or at email address execdir@lakegastonassoc.com or info@lakegastonassoc.com.

Moira was born and raised in England, where she met her husband Jack at her work location at IBM’s Hursley Laboratory. They subsequently married, and she emigrated to the US in 1982 as Jack returned from assignment. They continued their careers with IBM in Raleigh. Both worked with colleagues who talked (especially Monday mornings) about their weekend homes on Lake Gaston. Moira saw the movie ‘On Golden Pond’ and she had to see Lake Gaston. They became weekenders in 1983, full-timers in 1995 and Moira joined Jack in retirement.

A year later with time on her hands Moira answered an ad for a columnist with The Littleton Observer, a weekly newspaper in Littleton. After two columns, she took the offer to become a reporter, and started her second career! Besides writing her column, news and feature stories, covering bake sales etc, her duties included typing copy, laying out the newspaper on boards with wax, and subsequently becoming editor of the newspaper. She was enjoying a second retirement when the LGA opportunity presented itself.

Moira has been a performer at Lakeland Theater Company, Mosby Ave., Littleton since 1997; has had a weekly radio program called “Moments with Moira” on 90.1 & 90.5 FM since 2000 thanks to her air sponsor Lake Gaston Supply; volunteers at the John 3:16 Center as the after school piano and guitar teacher; and when she met Jack in England, Moira was still competing in track and field events – discus and shot put.

From the Desk of the Executive Director...
 

The film, “On Golden Pond,” and the fact that both my husband and I had colleagues where we worked who would spend weekends at Lake Gaston, prompted us to take a ride to Lake Gaston to see for ourselves. Subsequently we bought two lots in a cove in September 1983 with plans to build at a later date

We had already bought a secondhand boat that we were towing to Falls Lake in Raleigh for evening and weekend jaunts, so when we bought the property at Lake Gaston, the boat went there instead. We actually started out in a two-man tent, with our boat conveniently tied fore and aft to two fir trees on the bank. After being surprised by a pack of hunting dogs running by our tent at dawn one morning in November, we decided that it was time to ‘break camp’ and come back in the spring.

The following year we did build a home, several years later we added on to the house because we decided to move to the lake permanently. And we had two boat docks, one for my husband’s fishing boat and one for the pontoon boat. I remember Lake Gaston being drawn down in 1988 (I believe it had to do with hydrilla being really bad at that time) to where we had no water at all in our part of the cove and on the main lake the water receded from the banks, but on the bright side we were able to apply to Dominion for permission to move a couple of stumps from the floor of the lake from when Lake Gaston 'was made.'

We survived Hurricane Fran. I remember when we checked our property for damage we stood on our dock and the lake was almost to our knees, both boats were gone from their lifts but we could see them in the cove. Our pontoon boat had a canopy drop down roof that was always down. Two of our neighbors with pontoon boats had hardtop roofs and because of the height of the water the hardtops were damaged.

In those days I only knew about Lake Gaston as a lake. It wasn’t until I became the Executive Director at the Lake Gaston Association in 2005 that I got to see the big picture. Lake Gaston is part of a system of lakes with the Roanoke River running through those lakes. The Roanoke River is formed in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Montgomery County, VA, makes its way east, goes through Smith Mountain Lake, then continues as the Roanoke River then enters Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston, Roanoke Rapids Lake (all three lakes are joined by dams) and then the Roanoke River continues down to the Albamarle Sound.

The US Army Corp of Engineers located at Kerr Lake is in command of the system of lakes in North Carolina and declares how much water will be sent down the river each week. Dominion receives those orders from USACE and carries them out for Lake Gaston & Roanoke Rapids lakes.

Property owners on Kerr Lake have floating docks because their lake levels fluctuate a lot, I’ve seen pictures of the public areas where water has risen over the picnic tables, and water is half way up a stop sign.

Dominion’s federal license allows for Lake Gaston levels to go as high as 203’ above mean sea level during flood operations, but it has an agreement with The Lake Gaston Association that efforts will be made during flood operation to limit lake levels to 201.5’ (normal range 199’ – 200’). During severe flooding the USACE can if needed give instructions to go to 204’ msl. Due to variations in width and depth and certain constriction around the lake, Lake Gaston levels can vary from site to site depending on flows, local rains and wind.

Roanoke Rapids Lake regularly fluctuates as much as 5 ft. a day – there are homes and permanent docks there too.

Rain water also drains off the land surrounding the lakes, that’s on top of what is coming through the lakes. The big question is why not let all the extra water out at the Roanoke Rapids dam and keep the lakes at a normal level every day. Well, that could flood the lands on either side of the Roanoke River where farmers have crops, cattle can be grazing and there are homes too, particularly if there has been a lot of rain downstream.

Also in the spring fish come from the coast up the Roanoke River to Weldon to spawn and they are protected from March 1 thru June 15. This will mean that "normal" lake levels at Lake Gaston can be raised an extra foot (199-201 ft.) to provide storage in support of spawning flows as necessary. We will send an email out to our members and information will be in our April/May 2019 Bulletin.

This is definitely the longest column I have ever given you all to read but I hope it helps you better understand the big picture for why/how the water goes up from time to time in Lake Gaston.

Moira