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))
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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!
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.
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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.
Background: The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is conducting an investigation of methane dynamics in reservoirs. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is produced by microorganisms in reservoir sediments. The USEPA is supporting research to estimate the magnitude of methane emissions from reservoirs in the United States.
Lake Roaming Rock Work Plan: The USEPA will measure methane emissions from 32 reservoirs in Ohio, including Lake Roaming Rock, during the summer of 2016. Methane emissions will be measured from 15 locations in each lake using a device which captures methane rich bubbles as they rise through the water column toward the atmosphere (Fig 1). One device will be suspended from an orange buoy (11 x 15 inch) at each site. Buoys will be deployed on Sept 4th and will be removed within 24 hours.
In addition to methane emissions, many other indicators of lake water quality will be measured. These are listed in the table below (Table 1). The USEPA has stated that they would be happy to share the results of these measurements with the Lake Roaming Rock Board in the form of a written report.
If you see these buoys in the lake, please do not disturb them.
Table 1: Additional water quality measurements
dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
total organic carbon (TOC)
dissolved greenhouse gases
Please note that the lake will begin to be lowered on November 1st. Please make sure to have your boats removed from the lake before lowering begins.
From the Lake Management Committee:
This operation can result in a number of advantages for our lake. It can kill some nuisance aquatic plants by drying and freezing. It can, to some extent, protect shoreline structures from ice damage. It also gives the lake ample capacity to accept the potentially heavy spring rains without causing problems due to flooding. But also important is that with the water lower and all of our summer “toys” gone, we have an excellent opportunity to inspect our properties at the lakefront. Erosion is a constant issue and, over time, can degrade the integrity of a dock, rip-rap (rock wall) or seawall. Without proper protection from erosion, sediment can then enter the lake, causing build-up on the lake floor that can hamper the ability to properly utilize watercraft. Erosion can also result in a premature failure of the structure. 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.
If you suspect you may have a problem or have identified a problem, contact the Village office or the RRA to inquire about necessary permits and obtain a listing of approved vendors. Also, please consider the addition of rain gardens or buffer zones to your project to help control erosion and reduce nutrients from run-off. Previous articles have discussed each of these items and can be found on the RomeRock Association website under Lake Management. With proper attention, erosion of our shoreline can be controlled.
You look out at the lake or cove near your dock, beach, shoreline or seawall and see some, or maybe a lot of weeds and lily pads. You wonder what you should do about them. Should you try to get rid of them? The answer is “maybe.” Consider the following:
- Where they are growing, the weeds help to control or reduce the algae in the water. After all, the weeds need nutrients to grow—many of the same nutrients needed by algae to thrive.
- Unless they get too thick, weeds are good for fish and fishing. They provide shelter, oxygen, ambush points, and a smorgasbord of baitfish for the fish you might be “angling” for.
- But maybe you really need to clear the weeds so you, your family, and your guests can swim, or so you can dock and use your watercraft.
- Or maybe you just don’t like the way the weeds look.
So it’s really up to you to decide whether to leave the weeds, try to reduce them, or try to get rid of as many as possible. And if you do decide to go after the weeds, consider using one or more tools designed for the purpose and listed below. Be sure that whichever tool or tools you may decide to use, it is important to gather and remove weeds cut from the lake so as not to contribute additional nutrients (decomposing weeds) into the lake. Also, uncollected cuttings may root elsewhere and compound your weed problem. Collected weeds can go into your compost bin or be disposed of at the Village compost site. Suggested tools include:
- Weed rakes: these are designed to pull loose or growing weeds toward you so they may be removed.
- Weed cutters: these are designed to cut the weeds near the water bottom so they may be raked or gathered.
- Combo tools: these are designed to both cut the weeds and gather* them in one step.
An Internet search using key words such as “lake weed rakes” or “lake weed cutters” will yield many different tools at various price levels, but most will cost from about $70 to $200. Your Lake Management Committee has no specific product recommendations, but you can check out the following YouTube videos to get an idea of the different types of products and how to use them:
Decisions, decisions. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Hopefully this brief article will lead you to the answers that are best for you.
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Summer is upon us and those eight-legged creatures quickly found your house, dock and boat. Now what? Well the answer isn’t always easy. Spiders are very beneficial as they consume many other insects and an important component of the ecosystem. But having cobwebs and spider droppings all over your house, dock and boat can be unsightly. Brushing the cobwebs off and washing your boat and dock frequently with fresh water (yep water alone) is one of the easiest and most lake friendly ways of control.
Pest control products for around your home typically use one of the following active ingredients, Bifenthrin – Ortho home Defense MAX, Gamma-Cyhalothrin – Spectracide Bug Stop, Cyfluthrin – Bayer Home Pest and there are many others. They work well around your home but are extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and should never be used on your dock or boat near the water. Remember to always read the product label for application guidelines and precautions.
So what are we to do? Here are a few tips and tricks… Did you know, spiders smell and taste with their feet? So a home mixture of some essential oils sprayed on a surface will kill or deter spiders. Some of the essential oils to use are lavender, citronella, peppermint, tea tree oil, thyme and rosemary. You’ll be controlling spiders and adding fragrance to your home all at the same time. Be aware, you may have to apply this type of all natural control method more often to remain effective.
If you’ve tried the at home methods and a commercial product is what you are looking for then here a few alternatives. As times have changed so has the products available to consumers. Here are a few commercial products made with essential oils, making them completely eco-friendly, safe for your guests, your pets, children, and our environment. They are Essentria® IC3, EcoVia™ EC, Nature’s Element® Web Out® and Star brite® Spider Away. As with the home mixtures, you may need to apply more often since these are natural based products as compared to synthetic pesticides, but they are a much safer alternative for people, pets and the lake.
Remember to always spot test to ensure nothing happens to the surface you want to apply a product to and as always, remember to follow the product’s label.
We hope this article provides valuable insight into existing products and alternatives, which can help you, make informed choices for your own use and that of hired contractors.
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In past articles, the Lake Management Committee has suggested the use of zero phosphorous fertilizers for lawn care. A recent article has indicated that other states take this suggestion very seriously. Case in point, in 2010, New York enacted the Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law, which, as one of its provisions, prohibits the use of phosphorous-based fertilizers on lawns unless they are newly installed, or testing results show a low phosphorous content. One other interesting part of this law is that it restricts retailers in terms of how they can sell and display phosphorous-containing fertilizers. This recent article indicated that Lowes and Home Depot were fined $52,000 and $78,000 respectively for not properly labeling and segregating phosphorous containing fertilizers separately from non-phosphorous fertilizers. The article also indicated that Wal-Mart was also cited, but escaped fines by banning phosphorous fertilizers from their stores. This law was part of the state’s efforts to reduce the impact of phosphorous in runoff from lawns, which is said to have contributed to 70-100 lakes being impaired (i.e. negatively impacted for drinking or recreational purposes). Other states that have laws regarding the use of phosphorous fertilizers include NJ, MN, WI, MA and FLA.
Use of proper fertilizer applications can definitely impact the health of our lake. We therefore rely on those who do it themselves, as well as those that contract with a commercial service to use proper techniques and materials. Many states feel strongly enough about this to enact laws around this issue. But for us in Ohio, we rely on each of our residents to do their part to protect our lake. Do your part and help us all to…
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