Lake Management Articles

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Lake Treatment Update

The Vodaguard C treatment for lake algae control has been completed. We are pleased that all initial indications are it was a success. Lake Rome Rock is clearer and more algae free than it has been in many, many years. There have been no indications or reports of any fish issues and the native plant life was unaffected by this treatment. It is unknown at this time if a second application will be necessary. This will be determined as water sampling is performed in the next 30-45 days. We will keep Members informed as we move through the process. This treatment was part of the short term plan for the health of our most important asset, our lake. The long term plans are currently being developed and as details become available, they will be shared with everyone.

Thank you to the many people that were involved in getting it done. The Lake Management Committee (LMC), Environmental Advocacy Club (EAC), Enviroscience, AquaDoc, Lake Health Advisory Committee, Village of Roaming Shores and your Association Board all played important roles. Without each and every one, and the support of the Membership, this would not have been accomplished. It was a true team effort that started over a year ago and was finally implemented this past month.

This is the beginning of ensuring the long term health of Lake Roaming Rock. Exciting times for our community!

The Rome Rock Association Board

VodaGuard C Treatment – Update

Next Treatment June 28th

Last Tuesday, we had the South half of the lake treated by AquaDoc. The weather was perfect and they indicated the application went as expected. Anecdotal comments from residents in the area that was treated have been positive, with increased water clarity a common remark. 

As of this date, AquaDoc is planning on making the second treatment for the northern half of the lake on Monday, June 28. This date is subject to change due to the weather so stay tuned.  If this date is impeded by weather, the treatment date will be changed so the holiday weekend will not be impacted. Many of the same restrictions will be in place (see below). 

1. Please refrain from boat traffic on Monday the 28th and Tuesday the 29th to give the best chance for success. The Marina gate will be disabled during this time.

2. The lake drawdown last week was successful. Unless we get a lot of rain, a second drawdown may not be necessary. Keep an eye on the valve status on the RRA and the Village websites as we approach next weekend.

3. While there are no swimming restrictions, in an abundance of caution, please do not swim in the lake until 7/2. This will apply to kayaks and paddle boards. The Beaches will be closed during this time.

4. Please turn off all fountains and equipment that moves water on June 28th-29th.  Do not use lake water for lawns or irrigation until June 30th.

While it is regrettable that this needs to be done the week before the Holiday, all restrictions will be removed prior to the weekend. Any additional guidance will be emailed as necessary.

Important Information Regarding Algae Treatments

6/17/21 Update: Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this first round of algae treatments. Boating may resume at noon. Please refrain from swimming in the lake until Friday.

To Our Roaming Shores Neighbors,

We are pleased to be moving forward with lake treatments to mitigate the Harmful Algae Blooms we have experienced over the last several years. The first half of the treatment is planned for Tuesday, June 15th. The second half will be applied approximately 2 weeks later (this treatment will not affect the 4th of July weekend). The following will occur before and after all treatments:

  1. The lake valve will be open to lower the water by several inches as requested by the Ohio EPA. This will occur from Friday, June 11th thru Monday, June 14th.
    Please adjust your boat tie downs to accommodate the water level change.
  2. The first of two Vodaguard C treatments will be applied on Tuesday, June 15th with the second treatment approximately 2 weeks later.
  3. We are asking that there be no boat or jet ski traffic on the lake from Tuesday, June 15th through Wednesday, June 16th. Boat turbulence will risk the effectiveness of the treatment. Please stay off of the water until Thursday at noon.
  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 18th.
  6. The boat ramp will be closed during application on Tuesday, June 15th and Wednesday, June 16th.
  7. Do not water your property with lake water until Friday, June 18th

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

VodaGuard C Treatment Update

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

At the Board meeting on Saturday (6/5/21), we discussed the status of the treatment program for VodaGuard C. It was suggested that I send out an update as to where we were with this part of the short-term plan.

This is an EPA approved copper-based product intended for lakes and ponds for control of blue-green algae. The product is available at the vendor (AquaDoc), and partial payment has been made. We are awaiting application approval from the EPA. This process is being shepherded by EnviroScience and AquaDoc, who are interacting with the EPA on a regular basis. It is hoped that we will have approval shortly.

Once we have approval, the following is a rough outline of the next steps.

  1. The application will be scheduled during the work week. It is necessary to schedule it such that there is no rain predicted for two days prior to and following the application. We will provide as much prior notification as we can via E-blast. The application itself will be done in two partial-lake treatments, two weeks apart.
  2. During and for 48 hours after application, it is urged that all residents with aeration or fountain systems turn them off. They will interfere with the proper application of the product.
  3. For a similar reason, it is suggested that residents do not operate their watercraft on the lake during application and 48 hours afterwards. If you must use watercraft, please do not interfere with the application and operate at slower-than-normal speeds.
  4. While the product itself has no swimming restrictions, it is recommended that residents refrain from direct contact with the lake during and for 48 hours after application. The Beaches will be closed during this time.

If you have any additional questions, please contact me at romerocklmc@gmail.com.

Lake Management Short-Term Plan

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

The RRA Board recently announced the hiring of EnviroScience to act as our Lake Advisor. One of the functions of the Advisor is to develop both short term and long-term management plans focused on the improvement of the lake water quality.

The Short-Term Management Plan [SMP] was recently released and the major parts approved by the Board after consideration by various RRA committees. It was reviewed at the Annual Meeting and at a Lake Education meeting in early May. For those who could not attend either, this article details the major points of this plan. Note that this SMP is designed to bridge the gap between the current season and the time when a Long-Term Management Plan [LMP] can be properly investigated and developed.

The primary part of the SMP is to implement the treatment of the lake to control the growth of the blue-green algae. This will be done by AquaDoc using an EPA approved product known as VodaGuard C. This is a copper-based product similar to LakeGuard® Blue, which was used successfully at Chippewa Lake. Copper is an algaecide that will kill the blue-green algae. It is expected that this will be a short-term solution and will only be used as a ‘band-aid” until the LMP is ready.

Another area of interest is aquatic vegetation control. As was already announced, the AquaDoc treatment program has been approved for the summer of 2021. The program received high marks from those who used it last year. The SMP also made recommendations regarding the use of the weed harvester to limit its impact on the lake.

Dredging is also addressed in the plan. Dredging, while necessary to maintain navigation, can also negatively impact the lake by resuspension of sediment and the resultant release of nutrients. Such a nutrient spike can amplify Algal Blooms and thus interfere with the treatment mention above. Therefore, to minimize the impact on the treatment program, dredging will be delayed until after Labor Day.

Many know that the bacteria level at the beaches (last year, at Beach 1 in particular) has been an issue. Based on DNA testing, one likely cause is the geese population. Therefore, a recommendation was made to examine options for geese control. Some are currently in place with the Geese Deterrent program and a green laser that will be evaluated at Beach 1. Proper design of lakefront landscaping can also discourage the congregation of geese. One such option is a properly designed buffer zone adjacent to the water. A workshop will be scheduled later in the year to present options that can be done by each homeowner to not only deter geese visitation but also assist in controlling erosion and nutrient flows into the lake. A demonstration site is in the early stages of planning. The more we do locally, the better our chances for success. And each practice we follow represents a reduction in the efforts (and cost) of more comprehensive programs. Now, more than ever, it is the time to …

Be Lake Responsible

(The full SMP can be found on the RRA website under the Lake Management tab. Feel free to review the plan, as it gives an excellent justification and review of the criteria and options evaluated during the planning process. If you have questions, let us know – romerocklmc@gmail.com).

Canada Geese Deposits

By Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

 Canada Geese are a valuable natural resource that provides recreation and enjoyment to bird watchers, hunters, and the public. 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. You may have noticed our efforts throughout the year to harass and detour geese from our lake by using pyrotechnics (i.e. firecrackers, sirens, etc.) at dawn and dusk when geese gather on the lake.  

In January and February migratory geese are moving through our area with some of the breeding age geese breaking away from the flocks in early preparation of the nesting season.  These geese begin to pair up and separate themselves from the migratory flock.  By March resident geese are paired and begin to set up nesting territories laying their eggs in early April and incubating the eggs late in the month.  

Canada Geese deposit their feces anywhere the urge hits them.  They too often like the same areas we do – swimming beaches, lawns, docks, and boat launches.  During the day, a goose drops one pound of dung.  In addition to contributing to E. coli levels in the lake, geese are also major contributors of phosphorus and nitrogen in lakes and waterways that encourage algae and weeds to grow rapidly.  

Your Lake Management Committee thanks you for your efforts last year reporting nesting sites and harassing geese to move them along.  You’ve made a noticeable contribution to benefit our lake community.  Please continue to call the RRA Office at (440)563-3170 to report an unwanted goose nest on your property.

Love our lake and be lake responsible.

Nutrient Budget Model

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

In order to reduce the incidence of algal blooms, one must reduce the nutrient load that feeds it. But first you need to know where to focus your efforts.  That is where a Nutrient Budget comes into play, something we recently contracted for Lake Roaming Rock. This is basically a modeling study whereby the various sources of nutrients (primarily phosphorous and nitrogen) are characterized. This includes measurements for both the internal sources (mainly from legacy sediment), watershed sources (run-off and stream inflows) as well as waterfowl and precipitation contributions. The results indicated that the former two constitute the major sources.

The internal loading portion was determined by collecting surface sediment samples from three location in the deeper areas of the lake, followed by analysis of the types of phosphorous detected. The results found elevated levels of phosphorous bound to iron that can be released under low oxygen conditions such as observed for our lake. This means that by reducing this source of phosphorous we can substantially reduce the growth of algae. The overall load from the sediment can be used to make cost-benefit calculations for various remediation approaches available such as aeration, alum, and others.  Several recent articles discussed these approaches.  The data also showed that the organic content of this sediment was only 11-13%, considered to be low. This means that the level of lake “slime” (a term often used to describe the degrading mass of leaves, plants, etc. on the lake bottom) often targeted by some vendors, may not be as effective for our lake.

The external loading is primarily from the watershed. This represents over 40,000 acres of land, 86 times the size of the lake. Literature data indicates that 42% of the watershed is agricultural.  In more detail, this area is subdivided into 86 defined sub-watersheds. From the modeling data for each, it is possible to identify sections of the watershed showing higher nutrient loadings. In this way, we can focus our efforts for nutrient reduction. This is important as the estimates suggest that 62% of the total phosphorous load to our lake is from the watershed.

With the recent appointment of our Lake Advisor, plans are advancing for them to make recommendations for short-term treatments for 2021 as we move to the ultimate long-term goal of improving our greatest asset. This Nutrient model is one more tool to be used to select the one(s) best suited for our lake. Remember…

Be Lake Responsible

Lake Aeration for Nutrient Control

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

As many of you know, our lake is stratified. This means that below about fifteen feet, the lake temperature drops rapidly, as does the level of dissolved oxygen. Under these low oxygen conditions, the phosphorous normally bound to other minerals in the sediment, predominantly iron, is released into the water just above the lake bottom. During the spring and fall lake turnover, and other conditions of increased agitation, this phosphorous mixes with the water throughout the lake, resulting in a surge in nutrients. This can eventually result in an algae bloom. In recent article, we discussed the use of alum to cap the sediment, preventing the release of this phosphorous. Another method that can be used to minimize this release is aeration.

Aeration, also referred to as circulation, involves the use of compressors to force air through weighed tubes connected to bubblers situated on the lake bottom. The released air bubbles add oxygen and, with sufficient pressure, mix the lake water, disrupting the stratification.  The subsequent increased oxygen content restores the balance between phosphorus and the sediment minerals keeping it trapped. Also, an increase in lake bottom oxygen accelerates the breakdown of the organic matter (leaves, dead vegetation, etc.) by beneficial bacteria. The fish can also access the improved lake oxygen levels, which is beneficial to their health.

Aeration is best done on the deep areas of a lake where it is stratified, so this type of aeration does not directly impact the coves or the smaller inlets. Over time, aeration may be felt more broadly, as the lake reaches equilibrium.

This past fall, representatives from EverBlue Lakes visited our community to make a presentation, which included an overview of their system optimized for larger lakes. The presentation also included their systems for “muck” digestion and for watershed remediation.

In the past few articles, we have presented some of the options being evaluated for our lake. There are many more options out there. But to control algal blooms, which many consider as our main objective, the most common involve the use of chemicals to kill the algae or options to control the nutrients from the lake sediment using alum, and aeration.

Another option not discussed is to control the nutrients from the watershed. This is more complicated. However, remember that our property is part of this watershed. So, do your part so that you can say that you too are trying to ….

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

Lake Management Techniques – Nutrient Control

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

In a previous article, we discussed the use of algaecides to control algae blooms. One other option is to control the nutrients, primarily phosphorous, the major food source for the algae. One source of these nutrients in the lake is the legacy sediment, which has accumulated over the years. During rain events, high wind conditions, and other activities, the sediment in the shallow regions of the lake can be stirred up and release nutrients. There is little that can be done to control the weather conditions, but we can obey the no-wake buoys where excess speed can stir up this sediment. Dredging is one option being evaluated that can remove this shallow sediment, albeit at a rather significant cost.

In-lake sediment is also found in the deeper areas of the lake where it is difficult to remove. As we know, below about 12-15 feet, the lake is anoxic, meaning the oxygen level is very low. This allows the phosphorous in the sediment to be released into the water, which can mix with the lake during the spring and fall turnovers, or other intense mixing conditions. Two methods available to control this source of phosphorous are aeration and alum treatment.

Alum, or aluminum sulfate, can be applied to a lake, where it is converted to aluminum hydroxide, an active ingredient in several over-the-counter antacids. This forms a floc, which traps phosphorous in the water, tying it up and ‘dragging’ it to the bottom sediment layer. There, it forms a “crust”, trapping the phosphorous in the sediment and preventing it from being released in the water. As the floc sinks, it removes dissolved phosphorus and also traps sediment fines, helping to clarify the water. The effectiveness of this application can range from a few years up to fifteen or twenty years, depending on a number of factors. While there are some potential issues surrounding the use of alum in lakes, modern companies ensure that the application poses minimal risks.

A full inactivation treatment described above can be quite expensive, but another option is to use a ‘stripping’ dose of alum. This is a lower dose and traps the phosphorous in the lake as well as the fine sediment but does not fully cap the sediment in the lake bottom. Its longevity depends on the rate at which new phosphorous enters the lake.

Therefore, application of alum is just one of multiple methods that can be used to control the nutrients and ultimately algal blooms. Each of these methods must be evaluated in terms of effectiveness, longevity, safety and of course cost. If you have any questions concerning the various options being discussed in these articles, contact us at romerocklmc@gmail.com. In the meantime, remember to…

Be Lake Responsible

Lake Management Techniques: Erosion Control

By Gerald Dixon – Lake Management Committee

The brown color of our lake is the result of suspended bits of rock and soil in the water. This suspended material is called sediment. Sediment is generated by erosion, which is a geological process in which earthen materials are worn away and transported by natural terrestrial and aquatic forces, as well as human and animal influences. Lake sediment causes un-navigable waters, unwanted green algae blooms, and weeds among other unseen detriments to a healthy lake.  Shoreline erosion contributes significantly to our lake’s sediment and water quality issues.  Most homeowners will not dispute the fact that Rock Creek’s watershed is a carrier of sediment.  But another major contributor is our thirty miles of shoreline. Here are some of the aquatic forces that lead to our shoreline erosion:

Waves: Wave action can displace loose soil when the soil composition isn’t right for the area and natural vegetation has been removed.

Ice: When lakes freeze and then melt, sheets of ice are pushed up onto the shore. This is occurring more and more frequently as water levels rise and fall.

Storm Water: As storm water moves over loose soil, layers of the soil are removed in “sheets” leading to something called “Sheet Erosion.”

Flowing water: Run off from the lake’s watershed and flow of material contribute to the overall deposits.

Splash or heavy rains: Precipitation and storm water hitting loose soil cause heavy displacement depending on the slope of the property.

Human influences also cause shoreline erosion to happen. This is often referred to as “accelerated erosion” which happens much faster than natural erosion and is much more challenging to reverse. Sometimes, people who are trying to help control shoreline erosion are actually causing much more damage in the process. Removing vegetation in order to create more visibility and access to the water not only destroys many natural habitats, but gets rid of the natural erosion control that plants and tree roots offer.

Aquatic plant removal can have a similar effect. Shallow lakes, such as ours, tend to have more aquatic plants near the shore. These plants help protect the shoreline from erosion by reducing a wave’s energy before it comes in contact with the shore. When too many aquatic plants are removed, the ecosystem in the lake is not only damaged, but the full erosive force of waves is able to hit the shoreline and cause damage there too.

When home owners install impervious surfaces such as driveways or permanent structures, that surface area is now unable to absorb water from precipitation. This precipitation will therefore cause erosion instead of absorbing into the soil naturally. Paved sitting or observation areas beside the lake and long docks have a dramatic effect on the shoreline.

But the most severe erosion from human influence is created by watercraft.  When boats are design to create waves, such as those we wish to board behind without a line, the damage to shoreline is the greatest; fortunately, deep water waves are not as damaging as shallow water waves.  This is the principal reason our “No Wake Zones” were created.  Unfortunately, the majority of boat operators do not slow to minimum steerage speed as required by the regulation.

Again, what we do on our properties can affect the lake, so always consider it when you make changes, especially along the shoreline. We should all do our part to “Save our Lake” and as always…

Be Lake Responsible

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Lake Dam Status

Lake Level Updates: Normal.

Current Valve Status: Closed.

Reason:  N/A

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