Lake Management Articles

Letter from Marty Hilovsky of EnviroScience

Dear Friends and Residents of Roaming Shores:

My name is Marty Hilovsky and I’m President of EnviroScience, a Stow Ohio environmental consulting firm. For the past ten years I’ve had the privilege of working for your community doing a variety of lake management studies and tasks.

I was asked to sit in on a public meeting held by the Association’s Lake Management Committee to discuss plans for dredging sections of the lake. There were a number of great questions from the public as well as a spirited debate among members and the Committee about the proposed dredging method.

During the meeting I was asked about several items, and I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of my comments. One of those questions had to do with a siphon system which could be utilized to withdraw high nutrient water from the lake depths and discharge it to Rock Creek. While I expressed the opinion that Ohio EPA would discourage installation of a siphon, such a system could have a dramatic positive impact on the overall water quality of Lake Roaming Rock. For this reason, I believe members of the Lake Management Committee should at least take the next step and explore the potential for a siphon directly with the Surface Water group at Ohio EPA in Twinsburg.

The other comment that I’d like to make involves my recommendations, or lack thereof, regarding the dredging methods being proposed. As most of the community is aware, the dredging technique being proposed has changed over the past year. It’s important to keep in mind the purpose of the dredging. I believe the primary reason to dredge is solely to improve lake access. Dredging is unlikely to improve water quality or the overall health of the lake, and for that reason, I’ve avoided making value judgments about the dredging that is being proposed. Questions discussed at the October 28th meeting like how much should we dredge, how much should we dredge, and how much can we afford are all questions that the entire community should weigh in on and which the Association’s Board of Directors must decide.

The most important point that I’d like to make is that I hope residents of Roaming Shores don’t lose sight of the fact that each of you is fortunate to live on such a beautiful and healthy lake. Despite the issues we all tend to focus on and the arguments that develop, the lake has better water quality than most Ohio lakes, and continues to provide you with excellent opportunities for swimming, boating and fishing. As you also know, it has a top notch fishery that 90% of other Ohio lake front owners only wish they had.

In closing, I would join with one of your neighbors who at the meeting expressed the hope that the community is able to put the divisive issues aside and come together to work toward the betterment of the lake.

The Annual Fall Turnover Algae Bloom

by Richard D. Gainar, CEBS
Chairman, LMC

Did anyone notice the huge algae bloom during the last week of October? That’s because the lake “turned over”. “Turnover” is an annual phenomenon in deep, stratified lakes like ours. Cold, dense water holds at the bottom of the lake during warm weather while lighter, warm water floats nearer the surface above it. The fuel that spikes the algae bloom is phosphorus, the primary enemy of good water quality. While there was only 28 ug/L in the surface water before the turnover, the bottom water contained a much higher 490 ug/L. Phosphorus is released from the organic lake sediment (decayed weeds, leaves, dead algae, etc.) by de-oxygenated water and is held during summer months at the bottom of our lake by the denser water. Every year when the weather cools the top water to a temperature below that of the bottom water, the lake “turns over” mixing all that phosphorus throughout the water column giving algae that annual shot-in-the-arm resulting in a major bloom.

At our November 7th Association meeting a resident provided some test results that seemed to indicate that algal toxin levels in the waters of three coves were well above acceptable levels. However, the subsequent testing of the same waters by our consultants using official Ohio EPA sampling protocol indicated no detectable levels of toxins. It may be that a difference in sample collection techniques accounted for the difference. Nonetheless, residents need to understand that higher toxin levels may be associated with algae scum and should avoid coming in contact with it when possible.

November Lake Management Committee Report

Lake Management Committee Report
by Richard D. Gainar, CEBS
Chairman, LMC

The Lake Depth Improvement Sub-Committee workshop meeting was held on October 28 in the Clubhouse to discuss the details of our Dredge Plan. Members of this committee made a formal presentation to approximately 75 residents in attendance that asked many good questions and commented on their concerns. The Committee’s slide presentation and handouts are currently available on our website for those who weren’t able to attend.

The Dredge Plan has 3 phases. In-lake sediment traps will first be excavated in the back of 10 major coves to first limit additional sediment from entering the lake. Professional lake studies have historically advised us to control incoming sediment before dredging for obvious reasons. This initial phase of the operation is currently underway and will be completed by this spring. The second phase involves dredging the river channels in major coves where river channel water depth is less than 5 feet. The third phase repeats this process removing sediment beyond the river channels. The total cost of phases 1 & 2 of the Dredge Plan is less than $350,000 and will be completed in about 2 years starting next spring.

Presentations by the committee members and our EnviroScience consultant, Martin A. Hilovsky, dispelled a number of misconceptions about the relationship between water quality and dredging. One of the most significant things residents learned at the meeting was that removing sediment from shallow coves, either hydraulic or mechanical, does little to improve water quality – it merely improves water depth. Your Lake Management Committee’s plans focus spending of your dollars on activities that actually improve our lake water quality. Accordingly, the presentation also included a discussion on activities of the other two LMC sub-committees that are charged with improving water quality (Lake Sediment/Nutrient Control Sub-Committee and the Lake Level Control Sub-Committee). The objective of our Dredge Plan is simply to restore lake access to those cove residents that once had such access.

Although the Dredge Plan presented was much less costly than the previous plan, it is also slower to remove sediment. Several residents were concerned about the mounting sediment buildup even though it doesn’t contribute to water quality issues. The Dredge Plan addresses this issue in its first phase of operations. Significant sediment traps are currently being dug from shore in all major coves and will be expanded during phase #2 operations within the lake. The goal here is to stop additional sediment from further accumulations. With incoming sediment controlled, we can take our time (and spend much less money) to remove sediment that has already entered the lake.

Another misconception discussed involved the fact that, due to liability concerns, no Association sponsored dredge operation, whether hydraulic or mechanical, should operate within 30 feet of any resident’s docks. Any movement of lake soil, either real or imagined, near the shoreline may inspire some residents to sue the Association for damages, and the Association is advised against accepting such a risk. That means that regardless of the dredging plan, residents will need to hire a contractor to clear sediment close to their dock. Some residents asked that if proper waivers were obtained from interested residents, could the Association act as an insured contractor using our scoop-dredging rig to clear dock areas. We will investigate this suggestion.

Although your current Lake Management Sub-Committees (19 current members) are only 3 months old, I’m sure you will agree that considerable planning and progress has already been made. In addition to being critical, these members also invest their time and best efforts to work on evidence-based solutions to water quality issues.

November Lake Level Control Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes

Lake Level Control Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes
November 13, 2013

Members present include Gil Kendrac, Dave Flaum, Dave Emick, Todd Gress, and Chairman Rick Gainar. Also present was RRA Board Member Dell Rogers.

Meeting called to order at 2PM at the Association Office.

Items discussed:
1. Discussed the recent lake turnover event that occurred on or about 10/24/2013 and the subsequent algal bloom. O2 and temperature data collected on 10/4/2013, while the lake was still stratified, was compared to data collected after the lake turnover on 10/24/2013. Before the turnover temperatures ranged from 21.5ºC at the surface to 12.5ºC at 31-foot level while dissolved oxygen ranged from 10.4 mg/L to 0mg/L at the 17-foot level and below. After the lake turnover temperatures remained constant throughout the water column at 5.2ºC. Dissolved oxygen was also nearly constant ranging from 1.6 mg/L at the surface to 0mg.L at the 29-foot level.
2. Lake turnover is an annual event at Roam Rock Lake. So is the subsequent, massive algal bloom that follows this event after a few days time. The lake turnover event causes the phosphorus that was released from the organic sediment but held at the lake bottom all year, to mix in the entire water column.
3. We discussed the model siphon that a team of committee members recently installed at the dam using a length of garden hose. Dissolved oxygen data is currently being collected from lake water 5-feet off the bottom. Phosphorus data collection will soon follow.
4. No report from the Lowrey/Martin work group on their investigation of the water/sewage lines that cross a cove near the dam. We will need to understand the effect a freezing, winter drawdown would have on these lines.
5. A discussion ranking 13 advantages of a siphon spillway determined that the committee felt that less phosphorus & nutrients, improved weed control, and ability to maintain lake level for emergency repairs were among the most important. A siphon design with the ability to keep up with 100% of expected water flowing into the lake would be necessary.

Our next meeting is scheduled on December 11, 2013 at 2:00PM. Our regular meeting date is the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Association Office so mark your calendars!

Meeting was adjourned at 3:45PM

by RD Gainar on November 14, 2013

Sept & Oct Lake Mangement Committee Report

Lake Management Committee
by Richard D. Gainar, CEBS
Chairman, LMC

August and September were very busy months for the Lake Management Committee (LMC). As you may remember, three sub-committees were created in August in order to 1) attract more residents so that work on several complicated subjects can be done simultaneously, and 2) take advantage of the many professional disciplines our residents have to offer. Significant attention will be paid to water quality on the Lake Sediment Control Sub-Committee and Lake Level Control Sub-Committee as well as to improving water depth in our back coves on the Lake Depth Control Sub-Committee. I am happy to report that a total of 19 residents are now working on the committees – a much larger number than the one or two member LMC’s of previous administrations. These committee members are from a variety of disciplines (including engineering, construction, biology, science, business, and many others) and are eager to work to improve our lake. Residents who are not able to attend these committee meetings can find each meeting’s minutes published on our web site and can direct any questions or concerns to the sub-committee chairmen at each Association meeting.

The Lake Sediment Committee worked to develop a methodology and a database to contain all professional collected information from previously commissioned studies and data in order to make good, evidence-based decisions. Their focus will be on excess nutrients and algae to start.
The Lake Level Control Committee decided to work on two projects in the coming months. The first involves creating a “model siphon” using a garden hose installed near the principal spillway in order to collect water samples from lake bottom. This project would allow samples to be tested all year, including through the ice, to obtain a full year’s data. This important data will provide evidence of the water’s chemistry before discharging from a siphon Spillway into the river below.

The Lake Depth Control Sub-Committee was busy designing a scoop-dredging rig we can use on the lake for many years. Already, two track hoes were recently purchased from available funds. In October’s meeting, the committee announced its plans for a 3-phased approach to dredging. Digging a basin to trap incoming sediment in the back of major coves is already underway. These sediment basins created in Phase #1 will be cleared on a regular basis. Phase #2 will begin this summer with the dredging of the channel in Fisherman’s Cove. There we expect to work the kinks out of our “scoop rig” operations (currently and successfully used at Lake Lakengrin) in Fisherman’s Cove before proceeding to the river channel in Rock Creek. All other coves river channels will follow the dredging of Rock Creek channel in order of need as defined in the 2010 EnviroScience Sediment Survey. This way, all cove residents will benefit from some improved depth before we move on to Phase #3 which involves returning to the larger coves in order to widen the area cleared in Phase #2.
In addition to the sub-committee meetings, our lake water testing program results were posted on the web site so residents can see the lab results. So far, the levels of various blue-green algal toxins were below any level of concern defined by the Ohio EPA.

Marty Hilovsky, our consultant from EnviroScience, on his second visit to our lake last month, met with our LMC leaders to discuss our lake management plans. He believes our program is “on the right path”. Marty tested the water’s clarity, sampled from various depths for algae toxins, phosphorus and other nutrients, and measured oxygen at various temperatures. These tests will be repeated by your Lake Management Committee and the results will be used by the various LMC sub-committees and for historic purposes.

Lake Depth Improvement Sub-Committee – Phase 1 Report

Phase 1 Report:

Preliminary Dredging Meetings

  • May
    • Grand Lake St. Marys: Shallow water State Lake in western Ohio currently undergoing a massive hydraulic dredging operation. Started in 1964.
    • Lake Lakengren: Private lake association in western Ohio currently undergoing a mechanical dredging operation. Met during OLCA (Ohio Lake Communities Association) conference.
  • June
    • Army Corp of Engineers: Met to learn which permits would be required for dredging.
    • EPA: Met to discuss dredging.
    • ODNR: Met to discuss dredging.
    • Roaming Shores Village: Met to acquire permits for Dredge Material Disposal Site.
  • July
    • Chagrin Valley Engineers: Designers for Dredge Material Disposal Site.
    • Ashtabula County Water & Soil Dept.: Met to learn rules regarding settlement ponds and Dredge Material Disposal Site.
  • August
    • EnviroScience: Performed depth study for dredging locations. Will use information from 2009 study which cost over $20,000 to perform.
    • Chagrin Valley Engineers: Plans finalized for Dredge Material Disposal Site.
    • ODNR: Registered for permission to build Dredge Material Disposal Site.
  • September
    • ODNR: Paid for permits.

This Dredging project will not increase Dues & Assessments any further. The project can completed without the need to take out a loan from the bank.

Phase 2 report will be in the December Edition of the Shores News.

2013 Algal Toxin Testing Program

Roaming Shores Lake Management Committee
2013 Algal Toxin Testing Program


Note: An orange warning sign will be posted at the beaches at 6.00 ppb.


Your Lake Management Committee is concerned with the unusual rash of erroneous information being disseminated concerning the levels algal toxins in our lake this year and cautions residents to be skeptical of information presented without supporting data.  Your Lake Management Committee’s water testing program monitors water quality at our two beach areas during the hot, summer months and advises that all test results received so far have been well below any level of concern or alarm.  The detailed results to date of this year’s algal toxin testing appears in the Lake Management section of the Association’s website (  Should these test results approach the level of suspected danger, we will post caution signs at the 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.

Lake Level Control Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes – August 14, 2013

Members present include Bud Trarp, Dave Emick, Louise Lowery, Gil Kendrac, Sally Flash, Walt Samson, Dave Flaum, and Chairman Rick Gainar.  Also present were RRA Board Members Del Rogers and John Martin.

Meeting called to order at 2PM at the Association Office.

Items discussed:

  1. Advantages of a bottom-withdrawal siphon spillway including improved weed control, less algae and sediment, clearer water, improved fishery, less wear on the dam, less risk of blockage to the emergency drain port, flood mitigation measures, scheduled drawdowns, less phosphorus and other nutrients and methyl-mercury buildups.  Disadvantages including impact on downstream waters and thermal instability were also discussed.  This open-ended discussion included a basic description of how a siphon works and some of the issues involved in coordinating the project with Roaming Shores Village.
  2. Need to create a work group to investigate the water/sewage lines that cross the cove near the dam in order to understand the effect a winter drawdown would have on the lines.  Louise Lowrey and John Martin volunteered to work on that project and report their finding to the committee.
  3. Need to create a work group to install a small 5/8” garden hose siphon near the principle spillway in order to begin sampling lake water from the approximate area in the lake where the actual siphon would draw water.  A history of the water quality will be sampled and recorded.  Rick Gainar and Dave Emick volunteered to initiate this project.

Members requested copies of the various lake studies and other background materials.

While meetings are regularly scheduled on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, conflicts required our next meeting to be rescheduled on September 25th at 2:00pm.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:45PM

Lake Sediment Control Sub-Committee minutes – August 14, 2013

Attendees:  Barry O’Connell, Carolyn Tharp, Louise Lowrey, Rick Gainar, Rachel Morris, John Martin, Dell Rogers

Meeting started at 7:00pm at the RRA office.

Item 1. Introductions and back grounds of attendee’s experiences.

Item 2. All attendees expressed concern regarding level of nutrients and sediment coming into the lake.

  1. A discussion of the different studies and, their sources with the group strongly recommending that every source of information be evidence based and authoritative.

Item 3. The need to define a methodology that will lead us to a solution that best fits our lake sediment and nutrient loading issues was discussed.

  1. Suggested process / methodology for going forward.
  • Create a data base of past and present relevant research related to sediment and nutrient loading of the lake.
  • Identify appropriate local, state, and federal resources including Universities, nonprofit organizations, extension offices related to clean water.
  • Identify sediment source
  • Map  and characterize sediment by analyzing
    • Chemical
    • Physical
    • Biological/Biochemical elements contributing to unacceptable lake conditions.

Thanks to:

  1.  Rachel Morris for her input and helping in defining the steps for our suggested process.
  2.  Barry Oconnell for input and insight to pass studies and flow rates.

Next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday September 11, 2013 at 7:00pm RRA Office

Meeting ended at 8:30pm

Lake Depth Improvement Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes – June 18, 2013

Members present include Ron Morris, John Ball, Jim Schwartz, Mike Ritter, and Chairman Ed Baitt.

Meeting called to order at 7:30PM at the RRA Clubhouse.

Items discussed:
1. Need to obtain a mechanical scoop-dredging rig similar in design to the one currently used at Lake Lakengren. The rig should be owned by the RRA since the ability to lower the lake level via a siphon spillway is still at least a year or more off and it will be used over the equipment’s lifetime. Use of this rig does not require the lake level to be lowered so dredging can begin as soon as it is in place. Other equipment can be used when the lake level can be controlled. The dredging rig would include 2 backhoes, 1 truck, 3 hopper barges, and 1 spud barge and would cost an estimated $200,000. Our own workboat can be used but will need a motor upgrade to a 60hp 4-stroke Mercury outboard motor. A bid was received and reviewed from B&R Construction, Inc. for building the spud barge.
2. The committee intends to dredge only the channel of each cove to allow property owners the ability they once had to boat to the main body of water. Accordingly, the committee will scoop out sediment from the channel near the back of several coves to learn how long it would take for the sediment to return. This may give us an idea of how often the coves channel would need to be dredged. RL50 and RL54 will be sample dredged first.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:15PM

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