Lake Management Articles

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2022 – LMC Year in Review

Dave Ernes – Lake Management Committee

This article summarizes the Lake Management activities that were completed this past year. This is a brief overview, with more information available in previous articles available on the RRA website.

Algae Control:  One of the main focuses of the Lake Management Plan (LMP) is to control the appearance of harmful algal blooms or HABs. In 2021, this was accomplished with the use of VodaGuard C, a copper based product added to the lake to kill the cyanobacteria responsible for the HABs. This was continued this past year. Unlike 2021, we did not see the reappearance of the blooms later in the summer. While there are several reasons for this, one was that we had fewer storms.  Nutrients continued to be released from sediments in the lake bottom, but the lack of rain events prevented it from being mixed throughout the water column. As a result , a second treatment was not needed. The in-lake testing program conducted by EnviroScience, and reported in their recent report, verified that this year’s water quality was improved over last year. As we evaluate the data year-to-year, we can learn more about how our lake behaves and better plan for issues as they develop.

Watershed: External sources of nutrients arrive by run-off from the watershed which enters the lake from our individual properties, as well as via the various streams. The largest of these is Rock Creek to the south. We investigated this source in a number of activities. First, we hosted representatives from the Nature Conservancy and Ashtabula Soil and Water. They did an on-site evaluation of a section of the Rock Creek watershed and found that there are areas where a wetland has developed which is nature’s way of reducing nutrient inflows. In addition, we had testing of Rock Creek from Route 322 to the Route 6 bridge. It showed that during a “wet” period, the area identified as wetland did reduce the nutrient flow originating at 322. During dry periods, the area tested showed a consistent nutrient load. While the wetland reduces the nutrients from the south, background level of nutrients of Rock Creek is still the highest of the other watershed inputs.

Weekly Testing:  The beaches are tested weekly for the presence of bacteria (E.Coli) and at a different schedule for algal toxins. Overall, the bacteria results this past year were lower than they had been in the previous two years, and with fewer results above the EPA target levels. Some of this may be attributable to the use of lasers to discourage geese from frequenting this area. The goose droppings are a source of bacteria (and nutrients) in the beach area, as well as throughout the lake. The algal toxin levels measured were at the lowest level observed in recent years, with all well below the EPA Advisory Limit. This reflects our ability to control the algal blooms discussed above.

Fish Survey:  This year we had a fish survey conducted by Jones Fish. Overall, the fishery was stated to be healthy. There is a wide assortment of species from bluegill and sun fish to the preferred largemouth bass. While the latter were found to be healthy, the results did show a population “hole” in the two-three year olds. The cause was not identified but was suspected to be due to weather-induced issues during spawning. The most recent generation did not appear to show this decrease. We anticipate following up on this again in a few years.

In summary, the year 2022 was a good year for our lake as a whole with regard to water quality. This does not diminish the fact that some areas still have issues. It is not possible to predict what we may see in 2023, but we have experts available to monitor the lake water quality and make recommendations should they see any issues develop. You too can help by reporting anything of concern at romerocklmc@gmail.com. Our thanks to those of you who are helping us by following many of of the best practices we have reported.  As we move forwards, we can all be successful as long as everyone does their part to …

Be Lake Responsible

2022 Fish Survey Overview

Dave Ernes – Lake Management Committee

A Fish Survey was conducted on Lake Roaming Rock on September 12-13, 2022 by Jones Fish. Briefly, boats equipped with electrofishing apparatus travel throughout the lake. At each location sampled, the fish are stunned, collected, and assessed by measuring the length and weight. The fish are then returned to the lake unharmed. This process is done in as many areas as is feasible but is not intended to determine the population throughout the entire lake, especially one the size of our lake. This snapshot will give us an unbiased assessment of the current condition of the fishery. It should be noted that the survey was conducted two days after the Bass Tournament and the effect on the survey was expected to be minimal.

Based on the report, Jones Fish believes the overall condition of the fishery is very good. The largemouth bass (bass), the most often sought species, were found to be healthy. The overall food web including both predator and prey species is said to be diverse. The only issue identified is a low number of bass in the 5–9-inch range, representing fish 2-3 years old. The fish representing year-one were found to be good. This gap was not noted for the other species identified in the lake. The cause of this gap has not been fully defined but was speculated to be related to weather conditions during the spring spawning seasons. A link to the full report can be found at the end of this report.

            In addition to the specialists from Jones Fish, a member of the Lake Management Committee was also present for the survey. Their input, as well as follow-up questions submitted to the author, were used to evaluate the results.

            The health of the bass is measured by a Relative Weight Index. This compares the weight of each fish greater than ten inches in length to one that is considered normal. A value of 100% indicates that the bass are of normal size. The average for our lake was 97.5, which indicates that the bass are of average size with no indications of malnutrition. Another measurement of the bass population is Proportional Stock Density, which is a ratio of the number of “quality” fish versus “stock” fish. This was not presented in the report but was calculated by the author from the data submitted. For bass, a PSD of 40-70 is considered well-balanced, with our lake showed a value of 65.

            One other parameter discussed was the distribution of the various fish species throughout the lake. In general, a more significant distribution of fish was observed in the two major coves (Plum, Sugar), and in some of the small coves north of Sugar Creek and along the eastern shoreline. There appeared to be an inverse correlation with the number of fish caught and the density of the vegetation. For example, fewer fish were collected in the southern areas where the weeds tend to be thicker and those that were collected were considered non-prime species (i.e. suckers, catfish).

            One area that the report discusses is the level of “structure”, representing features such as submerged logs, that the fish will use for spawning and to avoid predators. They felt the level of structure in the shallow areas was good, but that the deeper areas may benefit with additional structure. (Please note that anyone who considers adding structure on their own would be violating the rules of the Association and can incur fines starting at $1000.)

            The LMC and the Board will continue to monitor the fishery as we move forwards and will evaluate adding structures and stocking suggestions as time and budget considerations warrant.

Be Lake Responsible

Lake Algaecide Treatment Update – Part 2

This past week, we informed you about a recommendation by AquaDoc and EnviroScience for a second treatment of the algaecide. While the conditions on the lake showed no algae, the satellite data did indicate that a potential algal bloom may be forming. This was the basis of the recommendation.

This week, AquaDoc again reviewed the lake, and still found no evidence for the Harmful Algal Bloom suggested from the satellite data. Therefore, it is the current opinion that we delay a second treatment until conditions on the lake warrant the expenditure. The lake will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and a decision will be made based on the conditions on the lake as we go forwards. We will keep you updated if conditions change.

Lake Algaecide Treatment Update

This past week, both AquaDoc and EnviroScience were on the lake evaluating the conditions related to Cyanobacterial blooms. Based on their assessment, and the approaching Labor Day weekend, they have recommended that a second whole-lake treatment be scheduled as follows.

  • The Southern half of the lake will be treated during the week of August 8th.
  • The Northern half of the lake will be treated during the week of August 22nd.

Stay alert for further announcement as we approach the week of August 8th. We will evaluate the lake level to determine if additional lake lowering is necessary, as well as fix the exact dates for the application. The same restrictions for boating and swimming will be in effect and will be repeated with subsequent notifications.

Geese Update

By Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

 Well, the summer is here, and I’m soon expecting to see the grass start turning brown.  But what I haven’t seen much of yet is the familiar sight and sound of our Canada Geese flying overhead.  There are a couple reasons for this.  The goslings have grown out their first set of feathers and the adults have completed another molt and are not yet ready to fly.  Early flights will be quite short for a couple months while the goslings develop the strength necessary for the long migratory trip.

Geoffrey Westerfield, ODNR Assistant Wildlife Management Supervisor, reports that in Ohio, both statewide and in NE Ohio, he is seeing fewer geese complaints this year.  “Our nest permit and roundup permit numbers were also down.”  Geoff says “I am assuming that folks are figuring out the right tactic for their location to keep geese moving.  Farm complaints are up a bit with good timing between crops going in the ground during goose molt season.”

I also feel that we’ve be doing a good job here at Lake Roaming Rock to keep geese moving too.  Goose management techniques for the next few months ask us to commence harassment as soon as geese can fly again.  Again, 3-4 days of consistent harassment will get the geese to move on.

Love the lake – be lake responsible.

When You Feed Geese

By Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

 The Canada Goose is one of the most beautiful animals in the world.  But in recent years, flocks of local-nesting or “resident” geese have become year-round inhabitants of our recreational areas, waterways, and residential areas, where they can cause significant problems.

When you feed geese, you convince them that Roaming Shores has a year-round supply of free, easily-accessible food – too nice a place to leave.  Thus some of these migratory birds have literally stopped migrating.  Winter food shortages used to induce their yearly flight south, but free food handouts from naive citizens and their guests–who think they’re doing the geese a favor–can short-circuit millions of years of evolutionary instinct compelling the geese to stay put.

In actuality, you aren’t doing the geese any favors when you feed them (or any other wildlife).  Bread and popcorn are incredibly harmful to both individual animals and entire populations.  Filled up on junk food, the birds won’t seek out the natural, protein-rich staples of their usual diet, leading to widespread malnutrition and wing deformity in goslings.  Further, biologically unsustainable population spikes lead to the quick spread of Enteritis, Aspergillus, and Avian Botulism, diseases that have killed scores of birds across North America.

Hand-feeding doesn’t just hurt birds.  Unwieldy bird populations are also potentially harmful to humans: goose feces contain E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Cryptosporidium.  Exposure to contaminated droppings can also cause Swimmer’s Itch and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.  Feeding (and pooping) usually occurs in the most accessible areas, making a mess of heavily used walkways, lawns, boat ramps, docks and parking areas.  In the Shores, goose poop is everywhere. 

The long-term answer is acting responsibly when we interact with our environment – do not ever, under any circumstances, feed a Canada Goose.  And if you see someone doing it, politely inform them that despite their good intentions, they are actually harming the animals by malnutrition, increasing disease vectors, and preventing them from migrating.  Be Lake Responsible.

No Wake Zones – Benefits Our Lake

By G. Dixon – Lake Management Committee

“No Wake Zones” help keep our lake safe and provide lower impact to the enriched sediment.  It is important to understand the consequences for not maintaining a minimum steerage and the impact this has on increase costs to correct the algae blooms as well as the costs to maintain a healthy lake.  Watercraft all have a means of moving the vessel through the water.  Whether it is a jet, propeller, oar, or paddle,  they all rely on some means to push the vehicle forward, or in reverse. This action creates a wake which moves the water down as well as horizontally away from the vessel.  In our lake, the nutrients that are suspended in sediment particles are stirred up into the water by this wake, bringing nitrogen and phosphorus to the warm surface and feeding algae blooms.  Picture a snow globe: shake the globe and snow is resuspended in the water, let it settle and the snow returns to the bottom.  So, it is the same with our lake, especially in the shallow areas like the south end of our lake when a boat is traveling through the water.

Traveling at idling speed in “No Wake Zones” is the best prevention.  Rule of thumb is to look behind your boat; If you are unable to see any disturbance of the water, you are traveling at a speed with low water movement.  Some think that maintaining a certain speed like our roadways is important, but it is truly up to the pilot of the vessel to determine the minimum speed of their boat for safe travel.  While we state a maximum speed limit, the faster one goes, the greater the wake and the greater the damage. And in those areas so designated, you must maintain “No Wake” limits. And remember, this includes within 75 feet of the shoreline.   If your boat is designed to create a wake then it probably would be prudent to avoid the “No Wake Zones” with your boat.  If your boat is traveling faster than necessary in the “No Wake Zone”, or any where on the lake for that matter, there is an equal amount of water traveling in the other direction, causing shoreline erosion, stirring up the nutrients and thus contributing to the algae blooms.  Please use good judgement and Save Our Lake!

Be Lake Responsible

2nd Half Algae Treatment 6/27/22

The 2nd half of algae treatments is planned for Monday, June 27th.

  • Due to the current lake level, it should not be necessary to open the dam’s valve.
  • We are asking that there be no boat or jet ski traffic on the lake on Monday, June 27th and Tuesday, June 28th. Boat turbulence will risk the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • The boat ramp will be closed during application on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Boat traffic may resume on Wednesday the 29th.
  • Please turn off all fountains and any equipment that moves water both on top and under the water surface.
  • Although deemed safe for human contact, we request that there is no swimming in the lake until Thursday, June 30th.
  • Do not water your property with lake water until Thursday, June 30th.

Our first round of treatments showed noticeable improvement. Thank you all for your cooperation and for giving these treatments the best opportunity for success.

RomeRock Association Board of Directors

Algae Treatments Planned Week of June 13th

To Our Roaming Shores Neighbors,

After assessing the lake this past week, AquaDoc advises that we move forward with lake treatments to mitigate the Harmful Algae Blooms before they become a problem. The first half of the treatment is planned for Tuesday, June 14th. The second half will be applied approximately 2 weeks later. The following will occur before and after all treatments:

  1. The lake valve will be opened to lower the water by several inches as requested by the Ohio EPA. This will occur beginning tomorrow, Sunday, June 12th.
    Please adjust your boat tie downs to accommodate the water level change.
  2. The Vodaguard C treatment will be applied on Tuesday, June 14th.
  3. We are asking that there be no boat or jet ski traffic on the lake on Tuesday, June 14th and Wednesday, June 15th. Boat turbulence will risk the effectiveness of the treatment. Please stay off of the lake until Thursday the 16th.
  4. Please turn off all fountains and any equipment that moves water both on top and under the water surface.
  5. Although deemed safe for human contact, we request that there is no swimming in the lake until Friday, June 17th.
  6. The boat ramp will be closed during application on Tuesday, June 14th and Wednesday, June 15th.
  7. Do not water your property with lake water until Friday, June 17th

We expect to have a second round of treatments later in the season, depending on lake conditions. Thank you all for your cooperation and for giving these treatments the best opportunity for success.

RomeRock Association Board of Directors

Avoid Aquatic Hitchhikers

By D. Ernes – Lake Management Committee

The other day my wife and I were visiting a local MetroPark when we encountered two individuals wading in a pond along the shoreline. Always the inquisitive person, we asked what they were doing. They indicated that they were looking for evidence of tubers (root system) from Hydrilla. Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant that is prolific. For those Star Trek fans, think Tribbles on steroids. They can take over a water body, and strangle all other natural plants, also causing issues with fishery and recreation. You may recall that a few years ago, our lake was part of a MetroPark survey looking for the incidence of Hydrilla. Luckily none was found.

As the conversation continued, we asked how it got into the pond. The answer was from cross-contamination, mainly by people boating on a lake that is infested and then bringing their boat to another lake without proper cleaning. They even mentioned that their weighters were cleaned as the root systems can end up in the soles and be transferred. A single tuber a few inches long is enough to cause it to spread and take over a waterbody. Once it is present, it requires a massive effort (and money) with chemicals and other means to rid the infestation.

We are ramping up our boating season, with Memorial Day just around the corner. It is imperative that, if you use your boat at other lakes, that you diligently clean all exposed surfaces and any wet wells to ensure that nothing gets into our lake. One small hitchhiker could be a disaster for our lake. We already have some invasive species on our lake. Believe me, we do not want this one. Tell your friends especially if you know that they visit other lakes. This is definitely one of those times that we all need to …

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

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