Lake Management Articles

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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…

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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 ….


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 In the meantime, remember to…

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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…

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Lake Management Techniques: Algaecides

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

In an upcoming series of articles, the Lake Management Committee will be presenting a brief overview of the mitigation options we are investigating for our lake. The purpose of these options is to reduce the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HAB). The techniques can be summarized as being mechanical, biological or chemical in nature.

Algaecides are one example of a chemical option. While they kill the algae population, they are not retained in the water column. Instead they either sink to the bottom and become mixed with the sediment or breakdown to a form that is no longer effective. As such they must be applied at a frequency that is determined based on the characteristics of each lake (e.g. nutrient sources). It is important to realize that the effectiveness and longevity observed for one lake is unlikely to be predictive for another lake, like ours.

The two most common types of Algaecides used for HAB’s are based on either copper sulfate or hydrogen peroxide. The former has been used for years and is highly effective at killing cyanobacteria. While most people have heard that copper can be toxic to fish, plants and other species, this side effect largely depends on the form of copper used and its dosage. There has been a lot of discussion lately related to the use of a new copper-based product, LakeGuard Blue, which was used successfully at Chippewa Lake. They reported no adverse effects. Since the product allows the copper to stay suspended in the water column for up to 24 hours, a lower dose can be effective.

The RRA Board, as well as members of the LMC and EAC, recently attended a Zoom call with representatives from Chippewa Lake. We also hosted a representative from BlueGreen Water Technologies, the manufacturers of the product, at our lake. Both spoke highly of the product, and its efficacy. However, there is no guarantee that we would see the same success or longevity. The supplier also advocates testing to be used in conjunction with the product for the best outcome.

The second product, often referred as SPC, or PAK 27, breaks down in contact with water forming hydrogen peroxide. The released peroxide destroys cyanobacteria and has the added effect of also breaking down the toxins that can be released when they die. SPC does not accumulate, rather it further breaks down to water and oxygen. The disadvantages are a higher cost, and the fact that it is not as effective as copper on HAB. BlueGreen has a product, LakeGuard OXY, with the same suspension properties as the Blue product and is currently being evaluated in Florida.

Overall, these products are suitable for their intended application. However, as stated above, they are not a long term solution and have some disadvantages. In fact, where copper was used on a lake over a number of years, they saw the need for increasingly higher doses to achieve the same desired effects. And the longer it is used, the greater the chance for the buildup to cause negative effects.

These are just two of the options being investigated. Their advantages and disadvantages will be compared with the others. Then, in conjunction with the results of the Nutrient Budget, and the advice of experts, we will work to develop both short and long term plans for our lake.

Be Lake Responsible

Leaves a Falling

Edited by Dave Ernes – Lake Management Committee

Once again it is time for the annual falling leaves article. By the time this article is published, we may be days or weeks away from the time when the trees become a painting of fall colors. The problem starts once they fall.

Every year, it is a good idea to remind residents that blowing their leaves into the lake is wrong, and that you can be fined. (The fines range from $100 for first offense to $300 and loss of membership rights for the third.) This also applies to grass clippings and other lawn debris.

Why is this the case? Because leaves are high in nutrients. The Planet Natural Research Center web site states that 50-80 percent of the nutrients that trees absorb end up in their leaves. If the leaves end up in the lake, they will decompose, releasing their stored nutrients that are then available in the fall or next spring to trigger algal blooms.

If you think this is an issue just for those living on the lake, leaves accumulating in the drainage culverts in off-lake properties can breakdown and the resulting high nutrient “tea” will flow into the lake through fall rain events.

What you CAN do:

  • Some articles suggest leaving leaves on the lawn as it becomes dormant during the winter. However, too thick a mat could result in mold formation and thick mats can smother the lawn when it tries to awaken in the spring.
  • Most articles suggest that you mulch your leaves when mowing.  Mowing more often in the fall will allow your mulching mower to do the hard work for you. When they are mulched into small pieces, the nutrients can be extracted much easier by water or rain and become absorbed by the soil (not the lake!) reducing the need to use as much commercial fertilizer in the spring. And it’s free!
  • The old answer of course is to bag your leaves each fall.  You can always have your landscaper do it for you, or a young student looking for some quick cash. Whoever does it, they should all follow the guidelines of the Association.
  • If you do collect the leaves, and don’t want to use them to protect your plants or to produce compost, you can dispose of them, along with other fall debris, in the Village’s Compost Site rather than the trash. This site is a great Roaming Shores resource! (A key can be obtained from the RRA office or Village Hall during normal hours. Special arrangements can be made to keep the key during off-hours.)

With the help of all our residents continuing to act as stewards of Lake Roaming Rock, our combined efforts will eliminate one more threat to the health of our biggest asset.

(Original Article written by Tim Langer)

Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible

Lake Management: A Nutrient Budget

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

As we have stated before, reducing algal blooms is the primary focus of the LMC in this phase of our overall Management Plan. The two common ways to do this are either through the use of algicides or though the reduction of nutrients. Chemical algicides are effective and fast, and are being investigated but they are a band aid and are not a long term solution. And they have some drawbacks that must be understood. The best solution is the control of excess nutrients. Nutrients come into the lake from several sources such as the legacy sediment deposited on the lake bottom over the 50+ years of its life, or from the watershed (via run-off from yard fertilizers and agricultural operations or the streams and tributaries).  With a  Nutrient Budget or Water Quality Model we will establish the percentage that each source contributes to the overall nutrient load for the lake. And from that information we can focus on the mitigation practices that have the best chance of success. (A Budget is also one of the common features one sees in any successful Lake Management Plan.)

The RRA Board has approved the requisiton of a Budget for our lake. At the same time, the LMC is researching various mitigation techniques that address the algae blooms. Once the Budget is completed, we can select those techniques that will have the greatest impact both short-term and long-term while being financially responsible. And once the nutrients are better controlled, we can then move on to other issues such as aquatic vegetation control.

As we wait for the results, we are also looking at simple changes that can impact our lake. One such change approved by the Board was a combined effort by the LMC, the EAC and the RRA maintenance department to alter the mowing practices of the RL lots. In those areas adjacent to the water’s edge or bordering the neighboring farmland, the native vegetation will be allowed to grow unimpeeded, creating a Buffer Zone to absorb nutrient runoff.  This does not cost anything to implement and will actually help the maintenance department. Creation of Buffer Zones is a practice we have often suggested that homeowners can adopt where feasible. Therefore, it is suggested again that you examine your lot and see where you could incorporate a similar practice. Several recent articles have addressed this option. The search for other  “quick hit” options will continue.

 We are moving forwards, and with everyone’s help and patience, we all will continue to…


Lake Management: What’s Happening

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

No one can deny that this has been an unusual year with the Global Pandemic affecting every part of our lives. As consequences of this situation, it has not been possible to report on the activities of the Lake Management Committee (LMC) normally done at the monthly Board Meetings. Therefore, we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the activities being conducted in the interim in anticipation for a time when things can get back to ‘normal’.

The first item is that we contracted for the generation of a Bathymetric Survey of the lake. This creates a depth profile of the lake along with a vegetation distribution and hardness evaluation. (Note: This survey was approved and authorized prior to the start of the Pandemic.) This survey yielded significant information for a number of activities. The depth across the lake, in combination with a sediment depth survey conducted last year, can be used to select areas for dredging. The total lake volume that was also measured is necessary to determine dosing levels for any whole-lake chemical remediation efforts, should they be necessary. The resulting three-dimensional map will help to locate optimum sites for the placement of aeration systems, or fountains – two options being evaluated. And the depth can help to illustrate the reason for adherence to no wake areas since a boat’s wake can extend up to ten feet below the water’s surface. It also helps to point out the need to maintain the 75-foot distance from the shore for any boating activities. And our fishermen can locate optimum spots for their excursions.

Second, we continue to monitor the level of bacteria, and algal toxins at the beaches to assess the safety of on-lake activities. The results are reported weekly in the Monday E-blast.

Next, while whole-lake vegetation management is a long-term goal, it is not possible to move forwards on this until the nutrient levels responsible for algal blooms have come into control. This is the reason for the AquaDock program; a more focused program contracted between the company and the individual lot owners. We will be evaluating its positive and negative issues later in the fall once it is competed.

Lastly, we are currently starting a process to evaluate different mitigation efforts for the lake to manage nutrients and reduce algal blooms thereby improving the appearance of our lake. We hope to be issuing articles in the coming months describing these practices, some of which were mentioned above. These articles will present each alternative without any determination as to whether they would (or should) be implemented on our lake. The only criteria is that they have shown to work in the intended application. In conjunction with other resources, we will then evaluate each one, looking for the best option for the long-term health of the lake while being financially responsible.

Now is also a good time to look at your property to make sure you are a good steward for the community as a whole. Also pay attention to your behavior on the lake while boating to insure that all residents can enjoy this unique advantage. So as always…


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 sure that COVID is helping that by allowing folks to chase geese when they normally would be at work, but
I am also 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.

Be Lake Responsible.

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