Lake Management Articles

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.

Powerwashing

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 (http://www.roamingshores.org/RRA1/).  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.

Decide to BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE.

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 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.

The Lake – A Winter Wonderland?

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

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

Holiday Season – Lake Management Style

love-the-lakeBy: Tim Langer – Lake Management Committee

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

Leaves a Falling

love-the-lakeBy: Tim Langer – Lake Management Committee

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 – Friend or Foe?

love-the-lakeBy Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

“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

Bacteria Levels High at Beach 1 and Beach 2

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:

http://www.healthtalk.umn.edu/2014/08/11/meaning-of-e-coli-in-lakes/

http://wdtn.com/2014/07/16/e-coli-levels-dangerously-high-at-popular-ohio-lake/

http://www.10tv.com/article/swimmers-warned-ecoli-contamination-area-lakes

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.

USEPA Methane Emissions Testing Information

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.

Figure 1: Methane bubble collectors. One collector will be deployed below each buoy.

Figure 1: Methane bubble collectors. One collector will be deployed below each buoy.

Table 1: Additional water quality measurements

water temperature
specific conductivity
dissolved oxygen
pH
redox potential
turbidity
chlorophyll
total nitrogen
total phosphorus
dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
total organic carbon (TOC)
dissolved greenhouse gases

Lake to be Lowered – Nov. 1

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.

Got Weeds?

love-the-lakeBy Dick Hurwitz – Lake Management Committee

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-B2YFXrB-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6ZvFXVbjiA

 

Decisions, decisions.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.  Hopefully this brief article will lead you to the answers that are best for you.

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

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Roaming Shores, OH
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