Lake Management Articles

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What to Doo about Pet Waste

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

You have heard many statements linking manure from farm animals, and manure spread on agricultural fields to increasing phosphorous in our lakes and streams. But are you aware that waste from our pets can also be a source for nutrients as well as disease-causing bacteria and parasites that can get into our lake? In some articles, dog waste is cited as the third or fourth largest contributor of bacterial contamination in urban watersheds. Some estimates have an average dog generating a half to three-quarters of a pound of waste per day, or 270 pounds per year. Studies also indicate that 60% (or less) of pet owners pick up their pet’s waste. The EPA has indicated that 2-3 days of waste from just 100 dogs could generate enough pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous and bacteria such as E. Coli) to close a beach, and can affect the watershed for 20 miles.

In researching this article, I found some other interesting facts. Unlike manure from cows, who eat a grass-based diet, dogs are fed a protein-based diet, which results in a highly acidic waste that will kill the grass if not picked up. It is also estimated that dog waste can take up to one year to completely breakdown. The natural ecosystem can only process and absorb the waste from two average dogs per square mile. If the ecosystem cannot absorb the waste fast enough, the bacteria and nutrients will be carried by rain into the watershed, and ultimately any body of water nearby (like our lake).

What can you do? Pick up your pet’s waste. Even if the ground is snow covered, once thawed, the waste will still contribute to the problem. This is important not only on your yard but also in public areas (including RA lots), and on the street, where it can leach into the ditches along the roadways and end up in the lake. Remember, an unimproved lot is not an invitation for pet owners to skip the cleanup process. Once collected, most web sites recommend three options for disposal – flush down the toilet, bury in the yard, or dispose of in the trash. A “green” option often mentioned is composting. However, typical composting does not result in enough heat to totally destroy all harmful agents (bacteria, parasites) in the waste, so use caution. If the pet waste does end up in compost, it is recommended the compost not be applied to plants that will be eaten or are intended to be brought in to the home for decoration.

So if we “doo” the right thing, we can help reduce another controllable source of pollution to our lake. But don’t forget, a barking dog is a good deterrent for the Canadian geese that are also part of the problem.  Several articles have been written on this issue.


The Lake in the Winter – Part 2

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

A frozen lake is just one more sign that winter has come to Roaming Shores. It presents a snapshot in time of the beauty of the lake. Of course the lake does not completely freeze (thanks to the properties of water), and one never knows if we will even see the surface of the lake freeze this year. But if we do, you may be surprised at what goes on under the ice.

A lake’s “winter” season is often identified based on the dates that the lake becomes fully ice covered. Once the lake is frozen, the entire ecosystem changes to cope with the colder temperatures.

Of most importance to many of our residents is the effect on the fish population. Fish seek the warmer waters under the ice and can survive as long as the oxygen levels in the water are adequate. Since they are not warm blooded, their metabolism slows, including respiration, digestion and activity level. This state, called torpor, allows them to survive until the ice melts and the water starts to warm up again. Some amphibians survive in this state by first burrowing into the sediment along the lake bottom before “hibernating”.

Macrophytes (aquatic plants) can actually handle the winter better than their terrestrial cousins if they are protected under the water. Some will form nodules, which can store energy while they wait for the sun to reappear. Some may go dormant. Some may die back, but their root systems may survive to grow again in the spring. While the lake drawdown can kill even the root systems if exposed long enough to the cold air, hopefully many beneficial aquatic plants will survive as they compete with the algae for the nutrients in the spring and summer.

As far as microscopic organisms are concerned, they also adapt. Phytoplankton (photosynthetic organisms) such as cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), produce thick-walled cells much like a cocoon that will protect them in a dormant state until conditions are more favorable. Some species can survive by becoming cannibals and consuming other algae species for food. Zooplankton (microscopic animal that also eat phytoplankton) may also form a cocoon for protection.

Like some of us, the lake’s many residents slow down their activity level during the cooler winter months and wait for the arrival of spring.
(Some information presented in this article was extracted in part from Lakeline Vol 34, #4 (2014))


Our Beautiful Lake

By: Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Chairman, Lake Management Committee


How long has it been since you just stopped whatever you were doing to simply look out over our beautiful lake?  The winter snow may cause us some problems driving but it sure does paint a wonderful background for one of the most spectacular views along the shoreline of our lake.  Whatever problems occupied my mind a few moments before simply disappear when I stare out over the water.  I can’t think of another scenic view anywhere that rivals the one in our own backyard.

This time of year allows me to reflect on the past year of the many great memories we each create here in Roaming Shores.  Whether it’s jumping from a floating dock at one of the beaches, watching the wonderful fireworks over East Beach or laughing with neighbors while the sun sets behind the trees.   I give great Thanks to those committee members whom have donated precious hours to help better our community and lake through the Lake Management Committee.  I urge others to consider getting involved with the Lake Management Committee and sharing your skills and talents in the coming year.  From your RomeRock Association Lake Management Committee, we wish you a very happy, merry and safe Holiday Season.

Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible

The Lake in the Winter – Part 1

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

As Fall moves to Winter, we see more than the change in the color of the leaves. We see changes occurring on the lake – both natural and man-made. The first, which has already occurred, is the lake turnover. This phenomenon, generated as the lake water temperature equalizes top-to-bottom, results in mixing to temporarily eliminate stratification. A previous article was written which goes into more detail on this phenomenon.

The next change that you may see is the lake level lowering. If all is going as planned, the Village will proceed with opening the spillway to allow the lake water level to drop. As past years can attest, the success depends on the amount of rainfall we experience during the fall. Typically done to kill nuisance aquatic plants which we did not observe this year, it also accomplishes several other results. It removes some of the nutrient rich water, to be replaced with either clean snow melt or the spring rains. It also gives the lake ample capacity to accept the potentially heavy spring rains without causing problems due to flooding. If we can believe the long-range forecast for the coming winter, we may experience a warmer but wetter season. So, it may be a battle! If the models are wrong, lake lowering can, to some extent, protect shoreline structures from ice damage.

But also important is that with the water level lower we have an excellent opportunity for those of us with lakefront properties to inspect the shoreline. Erosion is a constant issue that, over time, can degrade the integrity of a dock, rip-rap (rock wall) or seawall. Look for holes or other types of damage in erosion control structures and seek remedies to reinforce them. Reinforcement of shoreline barriers, confirming clear drainage channels, and checking dock supports and surrounding areas safeguards your property as well as the other residents of Lake Roaming Rock.

With the water level low, it also gives the opportunity to do some self-dredging around your dock and seawall. However, make sure that you or your properly registered contractor has obtained the proper permits from the RRA before proceeding.

The next installment will go over what happens as the water continues to cool and ice forms.


Note on Advisory Signs

For those who visit our beaches, you will notice that the Algal Warning Signs are posted. These warning signs were posted due to readings taken on 8/21/17 which indicated algal toxin levels exceeded the EPA’s Public Health Advisory limit.

While the most recent tests indicated the algal toxin levels were well below the Elevated Advisory Limit, 2 readings under state guidelines are needed before the signs will be taken down.

Microcystin Algal Toxin   E.coli Bacteria
West Beach 1 East Beach 2   West Beach 1 East Beach 2
Results below early warning level Results above early warning level   Results below early warning level Results below early warning level

The Algal Toxin Levels from the Beach 2 slightly exceeded the EPA’s Public Health Advisory limit. However it is well below the Elevated Advisory Limit which would recommend no contact. All data can be found on the LMC section of the RRA website.

Current Conditions for Week of 8/28/2017: The current results for the testing program for the lake are summarized above. A green cell indicates that results are below the USEPA or OhioEPA criteria for recreational water. A yellow cell indicates that values have exceeded the limit and appropriate caution is advised. Your Lake Management Committee’s (LMC) water testing program for harmful algal blooms (Microcystin) monitors our two beach areas monthly during the hot, summer months and advises that all test results received so far have been well below any level of concern or alarm. In addition, the LMC is also having tests performed for the presence of E.coli bacteria weekly at the two beaches as is done in most public beaches. Should any of these test results approach the level of caution, the Board of Directors can request that caution signs be posted at the affected beaches for your safety. Of course, common sense tells us not to swim in any waters that contain unusual amounts of algae. Please enjoy our beautiful lake and have a safe summer.

What to Doo about Pet Waste

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

One of the actions we can do to protect our lake is pick up after our dogs. Some estimates have an average dog generating ¾ of a pound of waste per day, or 270 pounds per year. Studies also indicate that only 60% of pet owners pick up their pet’s waste. The EPA has indicated 2-3 days of waste from 100 dogs could generate enough pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous and bacteria such as E. Coli) to close a beach, and affect the watershed for 20 miles.

In researching this article, I found some interesting facts. Most pet owners know that if the waste is left on the lawn, it will not fertilize but will kill the grass. It is also estimated that dog waste can take up to one year to completely breakdown. The natural ecosystem can only process and absorb the waste from two average dogs per square mile. If the ecosystem cannot absorb the waste fast enough, the bacteria and nutrients will be carried by rain into the watershed, and ultimately any body of water nearby (like our lake).

What can you do? The most common option is to pick it up with a plastic bag (like a grocery bag) and throw into the trash. There are biodegradable bags available, but I found pros and cons to this approach. A “green” option is composting. Here again, use proper methods because the compost bin must generate enough heat to destroy the bacteria present in the waste. It is recommended the composted pet waste not be applied to plants that will be eaten or be brought in to the home for decoration.

So if we “doo” the right thing, we can help reduce another controllable source of pollution to our lake. But don’t forget, a barking dog is a good deterrent for the Canadian geese that are also part of the problem.


Want a Great Lawn?

By Dick Hurwitz – Lake Management Committee

Many Roaming Shores residents take great pride in a beautiful lawn.  This is a good thing!  Not only does it add to the beauty of our village, but it also helps maintain or even increase the values of our properties.  In some cases, however, a beautiful lawn may not be such a good things—if the beauty is a result of chemical applications that include nutrients which may be harmful to the health and safety of our lake.  So if you would like a lawn that is, as much as possible, safe for the lake and beautiful as well, try some or all of these suggestions from the April 2016 issue of Reader’s Digest:

Wise Moves for a Lush Lawn

  1. Get tested. “Spending money on fertilizer without a soil test is just guessing,” says Paul Tukey. Good soil is key to a great lawn, and a soil test can tell you what’s in the dirt and what’s missing.  For a test, call your county extension office (a national network of agriculture experts).
  2. Plant clover with your grass. Clover competes with weeds and fixes nitrogen in the soil.  John Bochert, a lawn and garden specialist in York, Maine, recommends a seed mix of white clover, perennial rye (it germinates quickly), fescue, and bluegrass.
  3. Mow high, and leave the clippings. Taller grass provides more leaf for photosynthesis, develops deeper roots, and resists weeds.  The clippings act as fertilizer.  “Lawns mowed at four inches are the most weed-free,” Tukey says.  “If you did only one thing, adjusting your mower height would be it.”
  4. Cut back on watering. Frequent watering leads to shallow roots, so “water once a week if at all,” says Tukey.
  5. Apply compost. “Weeds need light to grow,” Tukey says.  “Spreading compost on a lawn in the spring prevents weed seeds from germinating.”
  6. Listen to weeds… “Weeds are nothing if not messengers,” says Tukey.  “Dandelions are telling you the ground needs more calcium.  Plantains are telling you the ground is too compact and needs aerating.”
  7. …and to insects. Beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic worms, eat some 200 species of insects, including grubs that become Japanese beetles; you can buy them from farm and garden stores.  Mix them in water, and spray them on your lawn.

-Edgar Allen Beem

from Down East

2016 Dredge Operation Summary

Prepared by: Dan Mullins, Operations Manager

The 2016 dredging operation began April 16 right after the road band was lifted. The maintenance crew had the task of consolidating the material that was taken from the lake in 2015 to the dewatering site that was now dry enough for recollection, pictured below.

This task took approximately two weeks to complete, and involved using our bulldozer to re-pile the approximate 5700 yards of dewatered material. During the dredging operation over the summer the maintenance crew uses the bulldozer to keep spreading material as it is removed from the lake.

The dredging barges were launched at the beginning of the month of May. The maintenance crew moved the barges to Fishermen’s Cove to begin dredging where they had left off last season. Material began being removed from Fishermen’s Cove beginning May 18. The dredging operation continued in Fishermen’s Cove through mid June where another approximate 2500 yards had been removed from the lake. At this point the maintenance crew also had to start preparing for the summer activities and having the amenities ready for the season.

Utilizing our summer help to take care of most of the day-to-day work, general cleanup, trash removal and lawn maintenance allowed us to concentrate on our next area to dredge which was Nature’s Cove. A previous silt pond that was installed in the end of this cove had failed and blown out. This cove is the main inlet for a large agricultural farm on the west side of the lake. From mid June through mid July the maintenance crew removed approximately 1550 yards of material from Nature’s Cove.

Nature’s Cove

The dredging operation continued in July along with the preparation for our summer activities, 4th of July, and our 50th anniversary. It was a very busy summer. With Nature’s Cove complete, the dredging operation then moved to Sugar Creek Cove. Next to the south end of the lake, Sugar Creek Cove had the next significant amount of silt build up and was identified as a cove that has the most boat docks that are unusable due to silt build-up.

A staging area or take out point was installed at the inlet of this cove. The maintenance crew did try to remove material from the inlet of this Cove from land in December 2015 but was unsuccessful due to high water. A staging area or take out point was installed at the mouth of Sugar Creek near beach #2. This staging area had to be installed from land as it was too shallow to do from the water. This takeout point in Sugar Creek will now cut our turnaround time by two thirds. The dredging crew will return to Sugarcreek and keep dredging the south channel up to the takeout point at the east end inlet of this cove. The staging area at beach #2 will be used in 2017 as a takeout point for the fastest turnaround in this cove. The amount of material removed from Sugar Creek last year was approximately 2490 yards.

Below is a map of the lake showing the areas marked that have been dredged:

Looking forward to 2017, we will begin dredging in Sugar Creek. Our turnaround time in 2017 versus 2016 will be much faster with the addition of the staging area/takeout point added at beach 2. This will be a significant improvement in offloading the material. The amount of material still needing to be removed from Sugar Creek will determine the dredge operation for the season.

In conclusion, overall the 2016 dredging operation went very well removing 6,300 yards of material from the lake, fuel cost diagram below:

I would like to add the maintenance crew continuously looks for improvements to increase our efficiency for the dredging operation. I am also pleased to report for the 2016 season there were no injuries involved with the dredging operation or damage to any of the equipment. Within the maintenance department safety is our number one priority on all of the projects and tasks done here at Roaming Shores.

I would also like to mention that many residents took advantage of the topsoil and fill dirt that was made available to the residents free of charge that was located at the maintenance garage. Some residents came to pick up truckloads of material and other residents came with just a 5 gallon bucket to be filled. That service will be available again this year. We will keep material stored this season again at the maintenance garage free of charge for the association members. Looking forward to a successful 2017 season!

Spring Cleaning (Lake-Responsible Style)

By Dick Hurwitz – Lake Management Committee

Alright, so you’re looking out your window at the snow and cold and wondering when spring is going to come again to Roaming Shores.  Then—just maybe—you start thinking about all the cleanup chores associated with spring and you think Maybe a little more snow and cold won’t be so bad. You soon remember, though, how good you feel when your house and deck and dock are clean, and how proud you are when you hit the water with a shiny boat; and you actually start looking forward to some of those cleanup chores. This year, however, you also start thinking about our Roaming Shores’ Love the Lake campaign and ask yourself how you can make your spring cleanup as “green” and lake-friendly as possible.  The purpose of this article is to provide some answers to that question, to recommend some eco-friendly products, and to let you know where you can get more detailed product information.  So get comfortable, take another quick look at the snow and cold, dream again of spring, and read on.


There are a lot of cleaning products recommended for use with the powerwashers we use to clean our houses, decks, docks, watercraft, outdoor furniture, and probably other things as well.  A number of them claim to be “eco-friendly” or “environmentally safe.”  However, the labels also include directions for what to do if the products are ingested or get in your eyes; and they recommend you do not use them where the water they are mixed with may run off into a pond or lake.  In this case, the safe thing to do is use the powerwasher without any additional cleaning products.  Water alone, under the proper pressure and with the proper nozzle setting, should do a fine job.

General Cleaning

Look for products that are biodegradable, plant based, and free of phosphates, chlorine, and petroleum distillates to clean your outdoor things.  (It is probably a good idea to use them inside too!)  The following are a few recommendations:

  • Bon Ami Liquid Cleanser
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Glass Cleaner
  • Method Floor + Surface Cleaner
  • Bill by Eco-Me All-Purpose Cleaner
  • BOULDER® Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Sun & Earth All Purpose
  • Green Works Natural All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Advantage 20X Cleaner – all natural multi-purpose cleaner

For more information on these products, refer to the Lake Management link on the Rome Rock Association website (  Look for “Recommended Cleaning Products.”

Boat Cleaners

The following products are recommended for marine cleaning in a lake-responsible way:

  • EcoDiscoveries All-Purpose Boat Wash (removes dirt, salt, and stains from boats)
  • EcoDiscoveries Boat Seat Cleaner
  • M2 from EcoDiscoveries (for mold and mildew)
  • EcoDiscoveries Marine All-Purpose Boat Cleaner (designed to cut through grease, stains and other soils)
  • Spray Nine All Purpose Cleaner (for removing mildew or stains, preventing mildew, removing black streaks or marks from fiberglass and vinyl boat seats)
  • Simple Green Marine All Purpose Boat Cleaner (multiple uses)
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Crystal Boat Soap (for cleaning all marine surfaces)
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Hull Cleaner
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Nanotec Fiberglass Cleaner Wax
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Aluminum Pontoon Cleaner
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Citrus Bilge Cleaner
  • West Marine Pure Oceans Non Skid Deck Cleaner

Additional information on most of these products can also be found on the Association website.

Now it is up to you.  Make the decision to follow the recommendations in this article when you are planning and doing your spring cleaning.


Fertilizer Update – Annual Greening It Up

By: original by Pam Hoover and updated by Tim Langer – Lake Management Committee

Portions excerpted from ‘Green Up Your Lawn: Not the Lake’, by Betsy Washington, Lake Bancroft Assoc. website.  Click here for the full article

Finally! Spring is really just around the corner, and with it comes the annual rite of greening up the American lawn. And with the greening of the lawn, comes the inevitable “peculiar green sheen” around the edges of our lake. This green sheen is NOT the type of green we are aiming for! Excess fertilizer, particularly phosphorus and nitrogen, running into the lake from improper agriculture and residential lawn fertilization, causes it.

Excess phosphorus and nitrogen not absorbed by the crops and lawns causes algal blooms that reduce water clarity and decrease dissolved oxygen levels when the algae decompose. Decreased levels of oxygen can stress and even kill aquatic life. Algal blooms tend to coincide with the most common times of lawn fertilization in spring and early fall. In fact, improper or excessive fertilization of lawns is one of the main sources of nutrient runoff pollution.

So what can you do to make sure your lawn care does not harm or contribute negatively to our lake and health?  Follow these basic guidelines to green up your lawn, and not our lake.

1) TEST YOUR SOIL. Lawns do not automatically need fertilizing, so it is important to get a soil test to tell you if you need to fertilize or lime your soil. Every responsible lawn service should begin with this simple step, and should be willing to share the results of the test with you.   Test kits can be obtained at the Ohio State University Extension Office in Jefferson, Ohio.  Taking a soil sample is very easy.  The test results will give you specific recommendations for your lawns and save you money and guesswork.  The Extension Office will even assist in reading and interpreting the results.

2) USE COMPOST TO FERTILIZE. Feed your soil to feed your lawn. Healthy soils are full of soil microorganisms that partner with plants to break down and release nutrients efficiently and create rich, humus-rich soil. A healthy soil reduces or even eliminates the need for external fertilizer. Compost and organic mulches enhance the soil web and break down slowly, so that the soil microorganisms can release nutrients just when plants need them, eliminating the threat of excess nutrient runoff. Compost improves soil tilth by lightening heavy clay soils and bulking up light, loose soils. Get in the habit of applying 1/2 to 1″ of compost to your lawn each year.

3) NEVER FERTILIZE WHEN THE GROUND IS FROZEN OR GRASS IS DORMANT. Many lawn companies interviewed give “a little boost” of fertilizer and weed killers or pesticides for good measure in late winter/early spring and during summer when the lawn is dormant. Pre-emergent herbicide treatments are routinely combined with an application of fast release nitrogen and most of this will runoff straight into the lake. This is a harmful waste of money and harmful to our lake.

4) AVOID FERTILIZERS WITH PHOSPHORUS. Phosphorus has become “persona nongrata” in landscaping, especially near streams and lakes because of its harmful effects. If you choose to use fertilizer, use a granular slow release nitrogen fertilizer. Make sure that your lawn service follows this advice!

5) USE A FERTILIZER WITH SLOW RELEASE NITROGEN (N) that is released gradually over time, instead of all at once.  Slow release nitrogen is listed as WIN or water insoluble nitrogen.  You want a fertilizer with a high percentage of WIN.  Ask these questions of your lawn service, even those who claim to be “organic”.

Now it is up to you.  Make the decision to follow the recommendations in this article when you are planning and doing your lawn fertilization.  If you have a lawn service provider, ask them about the products they use, you may be surprised.

Remember to Love the Lake and BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE.

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Roaming Shores, OH
March 24, 2018, 6:04 am
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