Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are a modern success story for wildlife management. At one time, numbers of Canada Geese were in decline. However, time and the actions of various wildlife agencies have brought their numbers in Ohio to well over 100,000 individuals. Unfortunately, this dramatic increase in population has resulted in some negative consequences including contributing to excess nutrients and bacteria in our lake which encourage nuisance weeds and harmful algae.
Did you ever wonder how the geese that are congregating on our beaches and in your backyard are affecting the ecology of our lake? Considering each goose can produce 1 to 2 pounds of droppings each day, and a typical Canada Goose may poop 28 times a day, it doesn’t look good for homeowners – or our lake.
By April we have seen geese pair up to select nesting sites typically found near the lake within direct sight of the water. To limit geese production your Lake Management Committee notes these nest sites for a timely visit by ODNR-licensed individuals to addle the eggs. Addling is a humane process to prevent eggs from hatching while encouraging geese to continue incubating their eggs and not renesting. If eggs or nest are removed before the goose has satisfied the nesting instinct, it will simply build another nest and lay additional eggs.
Egg addling (through shaking, oiling or puncturing eggs) and nest removal are effective tools for reducing reproduction of Canada Geese in urban areas. Association residents that discover goose nest on their properties or nearby recreational areas could report the sites to the RRA Office (440-563-3170) to arrange for egg addling.
You will be hearing much more about geese conflict management and damage prevention strategies from your Lake Management Committee this summer including some techniques to help keep them moving along out of our area.
Love our lake and be lake responsible.
Canada Geese are a valuable natural resource that provides recreation and enjoyment to bird watchers, hunters, and the public. The sight of the distinctive V-formation of a flock of Canada geese always brings a special thrill. Their calls herald the changing seasons. 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.
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.
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 geese are paired and begin to set up nesting territories laying their eggs in early April and incubating the eggs late in the month. Goose eggs begin to hatch in May. In June adult geese begin their molting and, like their goslings, are unable to fly.
Flight feathers grow and mature on both adult and young geese enabling them to fly in mid-July. July is an important time of the year for us marking the beginning of our annual ‘Goosebusters’ campaign to harass the geese encouraging them to make their home elsewhere. Some geese find our lake too comfortable and safe and will, unfortunately, become “resident” geese forming flocks in August and September to stay for the season. Migratory geese move out of our area in October through December.
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.
Love our lake and be lake responsible.
You may have heard a lot of discussion lately on ‘developing a Lake Management Plan’. But just what is it? According to the North American Lake Management Society, “A lake and/or watershed management plan is a dynamic document that identifies goals and action items for the purpose of creating, protecting and/or maintaining desired conditions in a lake and its watershed for a given period of time.” No two plans are the same. In general they address some or all of the following issues – management of aquatic species, fishery, recreational activities and watersheds as well as protection of shorelines, and water quality. Many of these activities have actually been on-going since the creation of Lake Roaming Rock. You can read about some of those activities from Carolyn Tharp’s excellent history available on the RRA web site. These range from control of shoreline erosion by retaining wall requirements early in the life of the lake to the on-going dredging operations conducted by Dan Mullins and his team. There have also been a number of water quality studies done by several agencies over the years. This body of information allows us to understand many aspects of our lake from vegetation to sediment deposition to water quality.
So, where are we in this process? As in the past, the LMC continues to coordinate testing of the lake for bacteria and toxins. At the same time, the LMC, along with the Environmental Advocacy Club, are working with our consultants and other experts to investigate options to be considered for this plan, with the primary objective of a positive impact on the lake.
A management plan is not necessarily fast. When one is dealing with nearly 54 years of environmental and human impacts on the lake, it is not surprising that it will not be reversed in a few weeks or months. Also, every option has advantages and disadvantages and it is the balance that has the best chance for success. Just remember, we are talking about 2.5 billion gallons of water. With everyone working together, and understanding the importance of the process, we can move forward to ensuring that our lake is something to be enjoyed for years to come.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE
A frozen lake is just one more sign that winter has come to Roaming Shores. It presents a frozen snapshot of the beauty of the lake that has an almost alien quality to it. A lake’s “winter” season is not usually associated with December 21st to March 21st, but is often based on the dates that the lake becomes fully ice covered. Once the surface of the lake is frozen, the entire ecosystem under the ice changes to cope with the colder temperatures.
The microscopic animals (zooplankton) and photosynthetic organisms (phytoplankton) produce thick-walled resistant cells, which allows them to survive until spring. Some species of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can survive at the cold temperatures by become cannibals and consuming other algae species for food they will not get from the sun. It is unlikely that they will form blooms since the conditions are not ideal, although it is not impossible.
If the algae do not completely become dormant, they may actually produce oxygen, which would be beneficial to the fish, who also share this space under the ice. If not, fish normally seek the warmer waters under the ice and can survive as long as the oxygen levels in the water are adequate. They likely migrate to the sections in the lake that are the deepest, to have the best chances for survival. Since they are not warm blooded, their metabolism slows and their activity level decreases, requiring less energy to survive. This continues until the ice melts and the water starts to warm up again.
Aquatic plants can actually handle the winter better than their terrestrial cousins if they are protected under the water. The main body of the plant dies, but the roots can survive. Some will form nodules, which can store energy while they wait for the sun to reappear. However, if they are exposed to the cold air, they may dry out and even the roots can then freeze. Lakes who perform a winter drawdown use this behavior as a method to reduce nuisance plants.
The most important aspect of the lake in winter is ice thickness. Remember, it may look solid, but with 450 acres of surface area, conditions may differ from one location to another. Some residents may use “ice cutters”, resulting in open water even if the rest of the lake is frozen. If you do venture out on the ice, use extreme caution and don’t do it alone.
(Some information presented in this article was extracted from Lakeline Vol 34, #4 (2014))
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE And HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
A few weeks ago, the Lake Management Committee (LMC) asked the residents of Roaming Shores to participate in an on-line survey. The purpose of this survey was to get everyone’s opinion on issues that may be of concern regarding the health of our lake. To date, we have received 279 replies. First off, we would like to thank everyone who provide their input to this survey.
Of the respondents, only 20% were from residents who do not live directly on the lake. In spite of this, over 70% of those living off the lake still use it for some type of activity. So the importance of the lake is not just a lakefront issue.
Of greatest concern to the respondents was the presence of algae and toxins in the lake. The degree of concern varies based on location and length of stay in the community. Overall, the responses are not dissimilar with those appearing on the news across the country. A recent article in the Plain Dealer discusses the link between farming and manure with the increased appearance of blooms. In response to this, Governor Mike DeWine is implementing a multi-million dollar program – H2Ohio – to address this situation in the western Lake Erie basin.
We are currently evaluating the results of the survey, along with the comments more than half of you supplied. This will take some time. Once completed, the LMC, in coordination with the Board, and external inputs, will be developing a Lake Management Plan. We will keep everyone updated as to the progress towards this end. And, we will need your help as we move forwards.
If you wish to see the results from the Lake Management Survey, a copy will be available on the RRA website. Again thanks to everyone who participated.
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE
The Cleveland MetroParks Aquatic Invasive Species Program involves an assessment of around 200 bodies of water in Ohio’s Lake Erie basin. Our lake was selected as one of those locations. We have received the final report titled “2019 Aquatic Invasive Plant Survey at Lake Roaming Rock”. The intent of this report was to review the results of a survey completed on June 17, 2019 that involved identifying the plant species detected at 15 sampling locations throughout our lake. To get a perspective on this, in 2010, EnviroScience did an aquatic vegetation study which involved 190 locations. The MetroParks study focused primarily on the marina and Plum Creek Cove to the north and several locations south of Fisherman’s Cove. The purpose was to identify the spread of invasive aquatic plants throughout the Lake Erie basin.
On an average, 4.5 different plant species were detected at each location on our lake, the most found at the marina. Those plants present with the highest frequency were Eurasian water-milfoil [EWM] and coontail, both present at 93% of the locations. These same species were detected in the 2010 study, but the EWM was present at only a low percentage (<5%). Eighteen different species of aquatic plants were detected overall, showing greater diversity than seen in 2010 (ten species). Of those detected in the current study, three are considered invasive (including EWM). Hydrilla, the most difficult invasive species to remove from a lake, was not detected. Very good news!
The report does include several aquatic vegetation management options. They include the use of grass carp, continuation of the use of the weed harvester, and chemical control. It was clearly stated that the MetroParks program is not intended to advise as to a recommended course of action.
The last part of the report discussed prevention of further invasive species becoming an issue at our lake. They mentioned the Ohio Clean Marina Program with a Clean Boater Pledge. These programs are intended to reduce the chance for “hitchhikers” from entering our lake from other locations. They also mention that some local aquatic plant nurseries have been found to be contaminated with invasive species that are then used in decorative water gardens or rain gardens. So, due diligence is highly recommended should you use your boat at other bodies of water or plan on intentionally planting aquatic plants around your property. More will be coming with regard to this important issue.
While not a comprehensive study, the report gives us some valuable information. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found here.
[If you have any questions on this study or other issues for the Lake Management Committee, we now have a dedicated email address. Send your questions to email@example.com. We will get back with you with an answer.]
Lake Management is a complex process that blends knowledge of the lake with proven techniques to afford desired changes where necessary. Our lake has been “good” to us for several decades. As responsible stewards, we need to see if she needs help from us now. There have been many discussions over time regarding perceived issues with the lake. It is our desire to capture as many Association members’ thoughts as we can so that we, in coordination with experts and proven vendors, can focus our efforts in the areas of greatest concern to all residents of Roaming Shores.
Below is a link to a ten question Survey. We would like everyone to complete this survey, whether you live on or off the lake. We need your input. If you would rather not complete the survey on-line, copies of the survey will be available in the Association office. If you know of people who may not be receiving the E-blast, please let them know of the paper copies as well. Let your opinion be heard. Thank you for participating in this survey.
Love the lake and Be Lake Responsible.
The Five Ws are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving. The problem is how to keep our lake healthy. Let’s consider a tree canopy.
Who: You, who are reading this article. Your actions can keep our lake healthy.
What: Trees, a critical part of a Buffer Zone or Riparian Zone. Plant them. Keep our lake healthy.
Where: Here, at Lake Roaming Rock. Keep the trees that are there or if there are none, plant some. Keep our lake healthy.
When: As soon as possible. Today. Tomorrow. Keep our lake healthy.
Why: The tree canopy becomes part of the natural filtration system for our beautiful lake.
We must curtail removing them from our lots. Instead, leave as many trees as possible, as their roots become filters for nutrients and silt. Plant them, especially the ones that are part of our North East Ohio ecosystem. Even though warnings are out there that our climate change has already started to influence the types of trees that can be sustained in warmer weather. Here are some suggestions that do well: Bitternut Hickory, Black Oak, Black Walnut, Bur Oak, Eastern Red Cedar, and Scarlet Oak. I found this information on the Holden Arboretum web page. They list “New Neighbors” which will adapt to the weather changes. They also list the endemic trees that are in trouble. It’s also important to remember that trees not only release oxygen but also consume carbon dioxide.
Sometimes, a sixth item is included with the 5W’s.
How: Do not remove all trees from your lots. If possible plant trees as part of your buffer zone from the watershed that surrounds our lake.
[Chairman’s note: If you have vacant lots, remember that if you clear a lot, and you do not start construction within two weeks, you must plant grass, as stated in part of the Village Ordnance on erosion control.]
Love the lake and be lake responsible. And Keep our Lake Healthy.
Attention Boaters: This year’s lake lowering is planned to begin approximately at the end of October/1st week of November. Please make sure to have your watercraft removed from the lake before lowering begins.
Also, remember to grab your state registration off of your watercraft before winterizing. Registrations are required when registering your watercraft with the RRA.
Several of your Lake Management Members have already written to illustrate the significant value of buffer zones on our lakefront properties. Some residents have contacted me with the worry that their properties will not be attractive with natural plants. Creating and maintaining natural buffer zones along the shore does not mean your property has to look unkempt. Buffers and upland islands of trees, shrubs, and flowers can bring natural beauty to your yard. Additionally, tall native plants typically have deep root systems. They will slow erosion, decrease ice damage, increase rain infiltration, and act as a barrier to discourage geese from walking (as well as other things…) on your shoreline property.
Your shoreline is part of a larger community and ecosystem. Individual choices by many have cumulative impacts on a lake and its ecosystem. Your actions can restore or degrade the quality of the ecosystem. Restoring your lakeshore to a more natural condition is important, even if your neighbors are not restoring theirs, because it can help wildlife habitat, water quality, and fish. (Chairman’s note: You can see more examples of this idea on-line by searching for Aquascaping or Lakescaping.)
Love the lake and be lake responsible.