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.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE
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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.”
- Cut back on watering. Frequent watering leads to shallow roots, so “water once a week if at all,” says Tukey.
- Apply compost. “Weeds need light to grow,” Tukey says. “Spreading compost on a lawn in the spring prevents weed seeds from germinating.”
- 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.”
- …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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 (http://www.roamingshores.org/RRA1/). Look for “Recommended Cleaning Products.”
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.
Decide to BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE.
Portions excerpted from ‘Green Up Your Lawn: Not the Lake’, by Betsy Washington, Lake Bancroft Assoc. website. Click here for the full article http://www.lakebarcroft.org/community/environmental-quality/green-your-lawn-not-lake.
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.
A frozen lake is just one more sign that winter has come to Roaming Shores. It presents a frozen snapshot of the beauty of the lake that has an almost alien quality to it. But have you ever wondered what is going on under the ice? A lake’s “winter” season is not usually associated with December 21st to March 21st, but often based on the dates that the lake becomes fully ice covered. There are some indications that the length of this winter season is becoming shorter with time, although linking this with climate change is a subject of much debate. Regardless, 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. For a deep lake like ours, it is unlikely that it will become completely frozen. Even with the drawdown, there are ample areas in the lake that are deep enough so that the fish can find refuge. Since they are not warm blooded, they have several mechanisms to survive. Some can actually store fat and use it for energy. Also, their activity level decreases, requiring less energy to survive. This continues until the ice melts and the water starts to warm up again.
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. However, if they are exposed to the cold air, they may dry out and then freeze. Lakes, who perform a winter drawdown as we have done this year and last, use this behavior as a method to reduce nuisance plants.
As far as algae are concerned, they are once again shown to be very adaptable. Some species can survive at the cold temperatures by become cannibals and consuming other algae species for food they will not get from the sun. Cyanobacteria (aka. blue-green algae) are one group of algae that can actually form a “resting cell” or cyst, much like a cocoon, which will protect them in a dormant state until conditions are more favorable. Although they may survive the cold, the populations likely are reduced during the winter.
This winter is expected to be much colder and experience more snow than the El Niño we saw last year. This could extend the “winter season” seen for the lake. Even though this may result in more and thicker ice formation (if the almanac is correct), please follow the various ordinances (e.g. no snowmobiles on the lake) regarding activities on the lake for your safety.
Like us, the lake and its many residents slow down their activity during the cooler winter months. But the lake is still an active environment, even if we cannot see it.
(Information presented in this article was extracted in part from Lakeline Vol 34, #4 (2014))
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE
This time of year allows me to reflect on the past year. I have many fond memories of 2016 with respect to my personal life and my volunteerism. We each create special memories here in Roaming Shores. Whether it’s spending lazy days at Beach 1 or on your boat, plunging into the frigid waters during the Polar Bear Plunge, watching the wonderful fireworks over Beach 2 or laughing with friends and neighbors while the sun sets behind the trees. I give a heart felt Thank you to each of those committee members who donate precious hours and talents to help better our community and lake through the Lake Management Committee.
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
Fall in Northeast Ohio offers many beautiful and vibrant colors along the tree line. Often those colors create a scene that could easily be mistaken for paint on a canvas. Soon those beautiful colors paint the ground and so begins the yearly labors of picking up leaves before the first snow blows.
Some residents may be inclined to simply blow their leaves into the lake or culverts. When leaves are blown into the lake, the leaves accumulate on the water surface, especially in the backs of coves and along certain areas of our shoreline. As the leaves begin to decompose, the leaves will accumulate on the lake bottom around docks and places where people swim and fish. The decomposition of the leaves is what eats up dissolved oxygen (DO), which degrades water quality. It makes for a very rotten, squishy, unpleasant lake bottom.
The decomposition of those leaves in the lake contributes to;
- The depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO).
- Nutrient overloading, which later leads to algae blooms.
- Filling in of lake and cove areas.
What YOU can do:
- Not blow leaves or grass clippings into the culverts, street or lake.
- Mulch your leaves when mowing. Mowing more often will make it easier on you and allow your mulching mower to do the hard work. Think of the mulched leaves as tea leaves. When they are mulched into small pieces, the nutrients can be extracted much easier by water or rain and feed the soil reducing the need to use commercial fertilizer. And it’s free!
- Bag your leaves each fall before they blow into the lake.
- USE our COMPOST SITE. This is a great Roaming Shores resource! (keys available at the RRA office for property owners)
With the help of all our residents and continuing to act a stewards of Lake Roaming Rock, our combined efforts will continue to maintain and improve our water quality.
Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible
“Weeds make the lake look terrible! There is nothing worse than having to clear your fishing line on almost every cast.” These and other comments can be heard around Lake Roaming Rock in August of most every year. While aquatic vegetation can be burdensome and unsightly at times, it’s important to understand their importance to our lake’s ecology.
Aquatic plants perform some of the same roles in our lake as trees do in a forest. While most people are aware of the consequences of poor logging practices in a forest, most are unaware of what changes in the aquatic plant community will do to their lake. Like trees in a forest, aquatic plants provide structure and food for other organisms. They also stabilize soft lake bottoms and minimize shoreline erosion by dampening the effect of waves like trees hold the soil and block the wind in a forest. These plants absorb and use nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, making less available for algae. A healthy plant community in our lake also makes the lake less susceptible to the spread of exotic plants like Eurasian water milfoil. Lake vegetation provides food for waterfowl and habitat for small fish and provides shade which limits algae growth. We are experiencing significantly less algae growth this year, but as a consequence, sunlight reaches deeper into the lake and causes greater weed production.
You can probably see why your LMC appreciates aquatic plants that play such a vital role in lake ecology and water quality. However, we also know that that a balance is necessary as too many plants can limit swimming, fishing, boating, and, sometimes, aesthetic appreciation.
One way to control shoreline weeds is a lake draw down during the winter months. Your LMC supports lake drawdowns in an attempt to dewater and freeze nuisance plants close to shore. Drawdowns have not been particularly effective in recent years because of the warm, wet winter seasons we have enjoyed. Over the years the LMC worked with the Association Board to operate and maintain expensive weed harvesting equipment to keep waterways clear of vegetation so that access to the main body of the lake from all areas including coves is maintained. While this equipment cannot be effectively and safely used in shallow water areas, the LMC has encouraged residents to manually clear nuisance vegetation from specific areas around your dock using weed cutters and weed rakes. Do-it-yourselfers may be interested in the weed raking tools described in Dick Hurwitz’s “Got Weeds?” article (see Lake Management Committee section of our website). Several local contractors are available for this service to residents who need help with their dock weeds.
Our maintenance department, in addition to their weed harvesting duties, also must maintain the pools, beaches, equipment, structures, picnic and recreational areas, roads and culverts that serve the majority of residents. Weeds are something we have to put up with for a short time so we may enjoy our beautiful lake. With no weeds, harmful algae could become dominant and that is a condition very hard to reverse.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE
By the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors received information showing that the e-coli bacteria levels exceed the Ohio states guidelines that requires notification. The water sampling, that was done at Beach 1 and Beach 2, on August 16, 2016 indicate that the e-coli level exceeds the guideline for the water at each Beach.
Notices have been posted at each Beach. Here is the notice:
No data has been generated for the balance of the Lake. Beach samples were taken in anticipation of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, However, those results will now not be available to the Association until after Labor Day.
There are a number of websites concerning e-coli and swimming. There is information online that includes articles like the following:
Testing, like we have done, may not determine if the e-coli is dangerous. There is e-coli that is not dangerous. Online recommendations about dealing with e-coli range from avoiding the water entirely to rinsing off if in contact with the water.
General recommendations from these articles are:
- Not to ingest the water. Be especially aware of children.
- To wash off before handling or ingesting food.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. Just be aware.