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.
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
No substances, materials or products intended or applied for the removal, treatment, or control of aquatic plants or animals, including, without limitation, chemicals and aquatic herbicides, shall be placed, or caused to be placed in the waters of Lake Roaming Rock without the prior approval of the Board of Directors, and such approval may be conditioned upon or subject to such reasonable terms and conditions as the Board of Directors deems appropriate.
Violators of this rule will be fined $1000.00.
MORE DREDGING INFORMATION AND PLAN PROGRESS
Well, summer is now only a memory, and the fall season is now at its mid-point. Your Board of Directors and Lake Management Committee, and many involved RRA members, have continued to work toward what will be the most significant, the most well-planned, and the most needed program in the 46 year history of our lake, a dredging program that will restore our lake’s water quality to what it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
This is the third in a series of Lake Management Committee reports to give our members as much information as possible about the dredging program currently being planned. In our first segment, we discussed why dredging is needed. Last month, we reported on a very productive and informative LMC meeting held in early September during which Tom Grabow, the ODNR Regional Dredge Supervisor of ODNR’s canal lakes region (northwest Ohio), told us about what the State of Ohio is doing to restore water quality at Grand Lake St. Marys.
But before we report on recent progress, let’s revisit the dredging clock. Like our Federal deficit, the clock is running. With the rains of the fall season, nutrient-rich sediment continues to flow into our lake. On average, since our last LMC article, another football field sized area was covered with new sediment to a depth of 1½ feet, smothering our lake bottom and continuing to feed nutrient-rich sediment into our precious lake’s ecosystem.
Recap of September 29th LMC meeting. Your LMC chair, and Board President Barry O’Connell, teamed up to present the powerpoint program given previously by Tom Grabow, and to provide detailed cost projections of the planned dredging program. About 15 to 20 members attended. The re-presentation of Tom’s program gave those in attendance who were not able to attend the first presentation, some insight into what the State of Ohio is doing to improve the water quality of Grand Lake St. Marys. The State has determined that there is no alternative to dredging, and they currently have three hydraulic dredges operating on that lake. The program will probably run indefinitely.
Despite some nay-sayers in our community, Tom made it crystal clear that the State’s position is that the only way to effectively address the problem is to remove the source of the nutrients that feed the blue-green algae, that being the sediment that has accumulated on the lake bottom. Let’s stop pretending otherwise and stick with the facts.
Finances. Those who are promoting the dredging program understand that the cost of the program is on everyone’s mind. Barry’s presentation presented an overview of the finances. The cash flow projections indicate that at the favorable interest rates that have been negotiated, the capital costs of the dredging program can be paid off over a 15 year time frame, and there are no plans to increase the current Lake Management assessment. If interest rates increase, the time required to pay back the principal will increase, but the annual payments will not. Thus, the assessment can be held constant.
The financial projections indicate that the capital cost will be around $1.3 million, and annual operating cost will be around $100,000. The target startup remains September, 2013.
Recent Trip to Ellicott Dredging. Three Board members, Barry O’Connell, Rick Rumbaugh, and Tim O’Donnell, took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Ellicott Dredging’s manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. They met with Ellicott personnel, observed the fabrication of hydraulic dredges similar to what the Association is planning to purchase, and discussed such details as support equipment, fusing of pipe, pumping rates, booster pumps, and other items.
It has recently become clear that we need to be able to pump sediment up to 7500 feet, maybe more, and that a booster pump will be needed. There seems to be no way to avoid the need to incorporate a booster pump into the planning process. It has also become evident that an 8 inch dredge seems to be the optimum size. Going to a larger diameter pump will increase cost, but not eliminate the need for a booster pump.
Engineering Firm Engaged. Chagrin Valley Engineering has been contracted to design the DMRAs, determine the best means to return the clarified water to our lake, and work through the permitting process with the US Army Corps of Engineers. The LMC chair, and Board President Barry O’Connell, recently met with CVE to discuss details of the design plans and agree upon a strategy to see to it that the program speeds its way through the design, review, and approval process.
The plan is to have designs submitted to the Corps around the end of the year, and to establish a project schedule that will have DMRAs constructed on the former Manzo property in the coming months. In the meantime, the Board is also investigating other properties further south that would provide the opportunity to begin dredging the south end of our lake sooner than would have seemed possible only a few months ago.
Once again I state that to those impacted by poor water quality (that’s any member who is paying attention); to those who have been choked by the growth of invasive and noxious weeds; and those who have seen their formerly lakefront property turned into swamp-front property, take heart, speak up loudly, support what we are doing, and don’t let those few nay-sayers drown out your voice for high quality lake water in all areas. Let’s continue to work toward returning Lake Roaming Rock to a condition that we can all enjoy without being concerned about aesthetic or health issues.
Lake Management Committee Chair
Over the next year The Lake Management committee will be writing monthly articles for the Shores News to provide our members with as much information as possible about the dredging program currently being investigated and implemented. We will discuss:
- Why dredging?
- The cost of dredging
- Recent progress
- How you can help
- Our current schedule
- Equipment to be purchased
- Schedule of Saturday morning meetings for open discussion
In these articles, we will try to touch on each of these topics, but concentrate monthly on more thoroughly explaining one subject.
This month we concentrate on why we need dredging, and also comment on some of the things that have been accomplished to-date, so dredging can begin in 2013. We know that:
- About 32,000 cubic yards of sediment, about 24,000 tons, flows into our lake every year, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. That’s like having about 1200 huge dump trucks dumping sediment into our lake yearly. To put it another way, this volume, if spread over a football field, would fill the field to a depth of 20 feet! In one year! Multiply that by 46 and you begin to get an idea of the problem we need to overcome. Can you imagine that? A football field 20 feet deep! Every year! This information was contained in a 1991 study and report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture authored by James N. Wade, a geologist. Knowing this, how can anyone who cares about our lake, which is the focal point of the entire Village of Roaming Shores, question what we are trying to accomplish?
- Over the last 35 years, the Association has engaged three environmental consultants to advise us on water quality issues – the last of which was EnviroScience, Inc. in 2005. The purpose of all of these studies was to evaluate the relative quality of our water , and advise us on what we can do to restore the water quality to that which existed when the lake was impounded in the mid-1960s. All of these studies warned us about the increased amount of accumulated sediment and the degradation of water quality caused by nutrients trapped in the sediment. These nutrients, mostly products that came into our lake from the local farmer’s fields, are harmful and promote the growth of algae which makes our lake water green when the water warms in the summer and becomes depleted of its dissolved oxygen.
- We have evaluated during the past 3 years alternative ways to remove the accumulated sediment and have concluded, with the help of experts in their field, (not laypersons, but experts), that hydraulic dredging is the most cost effective method of removing the sediment and eliminating our water quality problem.
Despite the negativity coming from some folks, the majority of the Board has concluded that most members who have any concern at all about our lake intuitively understand the problem we are facing and are tired of our doing nothing about the problems. Do they like the assessment? Of course not, but they understand that a small investment now will pay dividends in the future. Thus, the Board’s job is to keep the assessment as low as possible, and find other ways to help fund this project by continuing to reduce expenses elsewhere. The Board should be congratulated on the steps they have taken during the last year or so to reduce unnecessary expenses, streamline operations, and free up funds for dredging.
Now, is dredging the only answer? Do we have other tools in our toolbox? The answer is no, dredging is not the only answer, and yes, we have other tools. But we need to begin by removing the majority of the accumulated sediment. Then, after sediment is brought under control, we can consider installing aeration in some areas, and constructing a siphon to better control the water level during times of high inflow and allow us to lower the lake level when needed.
Folks, think of this as a financial investment that will pay you dividends in the future. It really doesn’t matter if you own property on the main lake, on a cove, or far from the water’s edge. For an assessment of $100 or less per year, less than $2 per week, we can return our water quality to what it once was. Think for a moment of the impact that will have on property values! Ask any of our local realtors about the difficulties they face in trying to market a property or home in an area of our lake that has excessive weed growth, green water, and not enough water depth to dock a boat. Sadly, some members have given up even trying to put a boat in the water, and have sold their boat, skis, and everything water-related because they don’t believe the Association will do anything to improve the situation.
So what we have accomplished recently?
- We have worked to strengthen our relationship with our environmental consultant, Enviroscience, keeping the lines of communication open with them and relying on their expertise on an ongoing basis.
- Concluded that after we remove what has already accumulated, we need to continue annual maintenance dredging to remove the estimated 24,000 tons of sediment that flows into our lake every year. That’s why doing the dredging with our own personnel and equipment makes sense, as the problem is never ending.
- Spent a day with ODNR officials at Grand Lake St Marys who already have three hydraulic dredges in operation to clean up that lake, and to observe their dredging program.
- Studied properties around our lake to seek out possible sites for sediment disposal and have reached agreement on the first of those properties.
- Attended meetings with US Army Corps of Engineers, and sought input concerning engineering companies they would recommend to assist us with our plans.
- Met with a recommended firm, and discussed with them the steps required to develop engineering drawings.
- Finalized conceptual details such as dredge size and output, discharge piping, means and methods, etc
- Developed proposals for the purchase of equipment.
We are doing what virtually every other lake in Ohio has done or is doing. We are not reinventing anything but following standard, proven procedures to restore and protect our Lake.
We will review the projected costs of this project and how it will be paid for in next month’s edition of the Shores News. We will also start informational meeting on weekends in the near future to review our progress with you and try to answer questions.
The Lake Management Committee will be having their next scheduled committee meeting on Thursday, September 13th at the clubhouse. We have invited Tom Grabow who is the western Regional Dredging Manager for ODNR to explain the projects he is currently working on. He is in charge of dredging three lakes in western Ohio, and has a wealth of information and experience to share. Please spread the word to all so that everyone who has questions or concerns can have an opportunity to listen to Tom and have their questions answered. The meeting will start at 6:30 PM.
We need your help and your support. We are planning a project that is unprecedented in the history of our Lake, but one that is much needed, and much overdue.
If you would like to offer your support to this project and become either an active or corresponding member of the Lake Management Committee, please e-mail me at Petraus@sme-usa.com. If you are not interested in supporting this endeavor, ask yourself what you plan to do with your home or property if in the future, our water quality continues to degrade and word gets out that our lake is not safe for swimming, tubing, or skiing and we are following in the footsteps of what happened to Grand Lake St Marys. What will you do when your kids or guests want to go swimming, tubing, or skiing, and you need to tell them that the water is not safe?
This is not about scare tactics, nor an exaggeration of facts. It’s reality folks, 46 years of neglect and wishful thinking. Think about it. And also think about how many people would choose to purchase property or a home in this area if the lake wasn’t safe or a third of it turned into a shallow swamp?
Lake Management Committee Chair