Lake Management Articles

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Yep! It’s Here Again!

Winter brings slippery streets,parking lots and sidewalks.  Follow these tips to maintain safe surfaces while reducing the use of road salt that can damage our lake as well as environment. Excess road salt damages local surface waters as well as groundwater, vegetation, and infrastructure.  

Most ice is formed by the pressure of foot and vehicle traffic – so shovel early and often!  Clear the snow before applying any kind of salt/deicer.   Deicers are substances that melt ice or prevent its formation.  Road salt (sodium chloride) is the most common choice, but it doesn’t work well below about 15°F, no matter how much of the product is used.  Use just one pound of road salt per 250 sq. ft. of pavement.  One pound fills a typical coffee cup.  Overuse doesn’t improve effectiveness.

Salt should be scattered across the surface, with about three inches between granules.  If leftover salt crystals are still visible after salt has been applied, then you’ve used too much.  Sweep up the leftover salt and re-use it, or dispose of it in the trash.  Remember all salt applied in the winter will wash into our lake during the spring rains.  Switch to other deicing agents on very cold days, or apply a little sand in place of salt.  Sweep it up later to reuse throughout the season.

Remember shoveling is the most effective way to prevent ice buildup.  Minimize the use of road salt by paying attention to temperature and weather conditions to ensure you’re using the right substances and methods to manage snow and ice.  As always, Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible.

Leaves a Falling 2018

Fall in Northeast Ohio offers many beautiful and vibrant colors along the tree line.  Often those colors create a scene that could easily be mistaken for paint on a canvas.  Soon those beautiful colors paint the ground and so begins the yearly labors of picking up leaves before the first snow blows.

Some residents may be inclined to simply blow their leaves into the lake or culverts.  When leaves are blown into the lake, the leaves accumulate on the water surface, especially in the backs of coves and along certain areas of our shoreline.  As the leaves begin to decompose, the leaves will accumulate on the lake bottom around docks and places where people swim and fish.   The decomposition of the leaves is what eats up dissolved oxygen (DO), which degrades water quality.  It makes for a very rotten, squishy, unpleasant lake bottom.

The decomposition of those leaves in the lake contributes to;

  • The depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO).
  • Nutrient overloading, which later leads to algae blooms.
  • Filling in of lake and cove areas.

What YOU can do:

  • Not blow leaves or grass clippings into the culverts, street or lake.
  • Mulch your leaves when mowing. Mowing more often will make it easier on you and allow your mulching mower to do the hard work.  Think of the mulched leaves as tea leaves.  When they are mulched into small pieces, the nutrients can be extracted much easier by water or rain and feed the soil reducing the need to use commercial fertilizer.  And it’s free!
  • Bag your leaves each fall before they blow into the lake.
  • USE our COMPOST SITE. This is a great Roaming Shores resource!

With the help of all our residents and continuing to act a stewards of Lake Roaming Rock, our combined efforts will continue to maintain and improve our water quality.

Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible

Green lawn, healthy lake

By  Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

Nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, are key ingredients in lawn fertilizer.  When it rains, fertilizer applied to lawns can wash into nearby storm culverts and streams that flow into our lake.  Nutrients contribute to algae blooms, excess weeds, rob the water of oxygen, and threaten underwater life.

Best management practices for the health of your lawn and Lake Roaming Rock:

  • Skip the spring fertilizer, especially if your lawn is healthy.  Fertilizing lawns in spring promotes excessive top growth at the expense of roots.
  • Sharpen lawnmower blades.  A dull blade tears and weakens the grass, opening it up to disease.  Many local hardware stores or garden shops can sharpen your blade for you.
  • Raise the cutting height of the mower.  Taller grass shades out weeds and needs less water.  A three-inch cut length is ideal for most lawns.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn.  They provide free fertilizer all season long.

If fertilizer is necessary:

  • Follow the directions on the fertilizer bag.
  • Learn about soil testing.
  • Do not apply phosphorus to lawns unless a soil test indicates that it is needed.
  • Clean up any fertilizer on driveways or other impervious surfaces.
  • Keep fertilizer applications 10 to 15 feet away from waterways.
  • Do not apply fertilizer if heavy rain is expected.

Love the Lake and be lake responsible.

Goosebusters: Good job so far!

By Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

I have begun to see goslings hatching out around May 1st. We did a pretty good job neutralizing the goose nests that were located earlier thanks to the support and reports we received from many concerned residents. Now and through June is the time to be vigilant in watching for goslings and begin harassing them the day they show up. The longer you wait, the harder our job is to get rid of them.

According to Geoffery Westerfield of the ODNR, harassing the goslings is very important for limiting the number of resident geese on our lake during the rest of the year. Separating the goslings from their parents even for a short time is an effective form of harassment. Geoffery advises that whenever you can, try to separate goslings from the adult geese by stepping between them shooing the goslings away from the adults by waving your arms and making loud noises (do not make contact). If you harass the goslings and adults together it is less effective and can even be counterproductive. Your goal is to send the message to the adult geese that your property is not a safe place to raise their young and to the goslings that Lake Roaming Rock can be a scary place.

“Don’t stop anywhere short of the geese leaving your property”, says Geoffery. Simply chasing them to the water or the neighbor will not keep the geese off of your property (and is actually also counterproductive). Consistency and persistency is still key. Geese will “shift” around the property, especially those without goslings. Keep up the consistent and persistent harassment.

June 1st is an important date. Geese will begin to molt (i.e. lose their flight feathers) around June 1st. If you don’t harass them off the property by that date, it becomes very difficult to remove them and you will likely be stuck with the geese till mid-July.

Geese excrement is a contributor to the E. coli levels in our lake. In addition, it provides excess nutrients that feed the algae and weeds. We love our geese, but a few less wouldn’t hurt either. Thanks for being lake responsible!

What to Doo about Pet Waste

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

You have heard many statements linking manure from farm animals, and manure spread on agricultural fields to increasing phosphorous in our lakes and streams. But are you aware that waste from our pets can also be a source for nutrients as well as disease-causing bacteria and parasites that can get into our lake? In some articles, dog waste is cited as the third or fourth largest contributor of bacterial contamination in urban watersheds. Some estimates have an average dog generating a half to three-quarters of a pound of waste per day, or 270 pounds per year. Studies also indicate that 60% (or less) of pet owners pick up their pet’s waste. The EPA has indicated that 2-3 days of waste from just 100 dogs could generate enough pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous and bacteria such as E. Coli) to close a beach, and can affect the watershed for 20 miles.

In researching this article, I found some other interesting facts. Unlike manure from cows, who eat a grass-based diet, dogs are fed a protein-based diet, which results in a highly acidic waste that will kill the grass if not picked up. It is also estimated that dog waste can take up to one year to completely breakdown. The natural ecosystem can only process and absorb the waste from two average dogs per square mile. If the ecosystem cannot absorb the waste fast enough, the bacteria and nutrients will be carried by rain into the watershed, and ultimately any body of water nearby (like our lake).

What can you do? Pick up your pet’s waste. Even if the ground is snow covered, once thawed, the waste will still contribute to the problem. This is important not only on your yard but also in public areas (including RA lots), and on the street, where it can leach into the ditches along the roadways and end up in the lake. Remember, an unimproved lot is not an invitation for pet owners to skip the cleanup process. Once collected, most web sites recommend three options for disposal – flush down the toilet, bury in the yard, or dispose of in the trash. A “green” option often mentioned is composting. However, typical composting does not result in enough heat to totally destroy all harmful agents (bacteria, parasites) in the waste, so use caution. If the pet waste does end up in compost, it is recommended the compost not be applied to plants that will be eaten or are intended to be brought in to the home for decoration.

So if we “doo” the right thing, we can help reduce another controllable source of pollution to our lake. But don’t forget, a barking dog is a good deterrent for the Canadian geese that are also part of the problem.  Several articles have been written on this issue.

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

The Lake in the Winter – Part 2

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

A frozen lake is just one more sign that winter has come to Roaming Shores. It presents a snapshot in time of the beauty of the lake. Of course the lake does not completely freeze (thanks to the properties of water), and one never knows if we will even see the surface of the lake freeze this year. But if we do, you may be surprised at what goes on under the ice.

A lake’s “winter” season is often identified based on the dates that the lake becomes fully ice covered. Once the lake is frozen, the entire ecosystem changes to cope with the colder temperatures.

Of most importance to many of our residents is the effect on the fish population. Fish seek the warmer waters under the ice and can survive as long as the oxygen levels in the water are adequate. Since they are not warm blooded, their metabolism slows, including respiration, digestion and activity level. This state, called torpor, allows them to survive until the ice melts and the water starts to warm up again. Some amphibians survive in this state by first burrowing into the sediment along the lake bottom before “hibernating”.

Macrophytes (aquatic plants) can actually handle the winter better than their terrestrial cousins if they are protected under the water. Some will form nodules, which can store energy while they wait for the sun to reappear. Some may go dormant. Some may die back, but their root systems may survive to grow again in the spring. While the lake drawdown can kill even the root systems if exposed long enough to the cold air, hopefully many beneficial aquatic plants will survive as they compete with the algae for the nutrients in the spring and summer.

As far as microscopic organisms are concerned, they also adapt. Phytoplankton (photosynthetic organisms) such as cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), produce thick-walled cells much like a cocoon that will protect them in a dormant state until conditions are more favorable. Some species can survive by becoming cannibals and consuming other algae species for food. Zooplankton (microscopic animal that also eat phytoplankton) may also form a cocoon for protection.

Like some of us, the lake’s many residents slow down their activity level during the cooler winter months and wait for the arrival of spring.
(Some information presented in this article was extracted in part from Lakeline Vol 34, #4 (2014))

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

Our Beautiful Lake

By: Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Chairman, Lake Management Committee

 

How long has it been since you just stopped whatever you were doing to simply look out over our beautiful lake?  The winter snow may cause us some problems driving but it sure does paint a wonderful background for one of the most spectacular views along the shoreline of our lake.  Whatever problems occupied my mind a few moments before simply disappear when I stare out over the water.  I can’t think of another scenic view anywhere that rivals the one in our own backyard.

This time of year allows me to reflect on the past year of the many great memories we each create here in Roaming Shores.  Whether it’s jumping from a floating dock at one of the beaches, watching the wonderful fireworks over East Beach or laughing with neighbors while the sun sets behind the trees.   I give great Thanks to those committee members whom have donated precious hours to help better our community and lake through the Lake Management Committee.  I urge others to consider getting involved with the Lake Management Committee and sharing your skills and talents in the coming year.  From your RomeRock Association Lake Management Committee, we wish you a very happy, merry and safe Holiday Season.

Remember to Love the Lake and Be Lake Responsible

The Lake in the Winter – Part 1

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

As Fall moves to Winter, we see more than the change in the color of the leaves. We see changes occurring on the lake – both natural and man-made. The first, which has already occurred, is the lake turnover. This phenomenon, generated as the lake water temperature equalizes top-to-bottom, results in mixing to temporarily eliminate stratification. A previous article was written which goes into more detail on this phenomenon.

The next change that you may see is the lake level lowering. If all is going as planned, the Village will proceed with opening the spillway to allow the lake water level to drop. As past years can attest, the success depends on the amount of rainfall we experience during the fall. Typically done to kill nuisance aquatic plants which we did not observe this year, it also accomplishes several other results. It removes some of the nutrient rich water, to be replaced with either clean snow melt or the spring rains. It also gives the lake ample capacity to accept the potentially heavy spring rains without causing problems due to flooding. If we can believe the long-range forecast for the coming winter, we may experience a warmer but wetter season. So, it may be a battle! If the models are wrong, lake lowering can, to some extent, protect shoreline structures from ice damage.

But also important is that with the water level lower we have an excellent opportunity for those of us with lakefront properties to inspect the shoreline. Erosion is a constant issue that, over time, can degrade the integrity of a dock, rip-rap (rock wall) or seawall. Look for holes or other types of damage in erosion control structures and seek remedies to reinforce them. Reinforcement of shoreline barriers, confirming clear drainage channels, and checking dock supports and surrounding areas safeguards your property as well as the other residents of Lake Roaming Rock.

With the water level low, it also gives the opportunity to do some self-dredging around your dock and seawall. However, make sure that you or your properly registered contractor has obtained the proper permits from the RRA before proceeding.

The next installment will go over what happens as the water continues to cool and ice forms.

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

Note on Advisory Signs

For those who visit our beaches, you will notice that the Algal Warning Signs are posted. These warning signs were posted due to readings taken on 8/21/17 which indicated algal toxin levels exceeded the EPA’s Public Health Advisory limit.

While the most recent tests indicated the algal toxin levels were well below the Elevated Advisory Limit, 2 readings under state guidelines are needed before the signs will be taken down.

Microcystin Algal Toxin   E.coli Bacteria
West Beach 1 East Beach 2   West Beach 1 East Beach 2
Results below early warning level Results above early warning level   Results below early warning level Results below early warning level

The Algal Toxin Levels from the Beach 2 slightly exceeded the EPA’s Public Health Advisory limit. However it is well below the Elevated Advisory Limit which would recommend no contact. All data can be found on the LMC section of the RRA website.

Current Conditions for Week of 8/28/2017: The current results for the testing program for the lake are summarized above. A green cell indicates that results are below the USEPA or OhioEPA criteria for recreational water. A yellow cell indicates that values have exceeded the limit and appropriate caution is advised. Your Lake Management Committee’s (LMC) water testing program for harmful algal blooms (Microcystin) monitors our two beach areas monthly during the hot, summer months and advises that all test results received so far have been well below any level of concern or alarm. In addition, the LMC is also having tests performed for the presence of E.coli bacteria weekly at the two beaches as is done in most public beaches. Should any of these test results approach the level of caution, the Board of Directors can request that caution signs be posted at the affected beaches for your safety. Of course, common sense tells us not to swim in any waters that contain unusual amounts of algae. Please enjoy our beautiful lake and have a safe summer.

What to Doo about Pet Waste

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

One of the actions we can do to protect our lake is pick up after our dogs. Some estimates have an average dog generating ¾ of a pound of waste per day, or 270 pounds per year. Studies also indicate that only 60% of pet owners pick up their pet’s waste. The EPA has indicated 2-3 days of waste from 100 dogs could generate enough pollution (nitrogen, phosphorous and bacteria such as E. Coli) to close a beach, and affect the watershed for 20 miles.

In researching this article, I found some interesting facts. Most pet owners know that if the waste is left on the lawn, it will not fertilize but will kill the grass. It is also estimated that dog waste can take up to one year to completely breakdown. The natural ecosystem can only process and absorb the waste from two average dogs per square mile. If the ecosystem cannot absorb the waste fast enough, the bacteria and nutrients will be carried by rain into the watershed, and ultimately any body of water nearby (like our lake).

What can you do? The most common option is to pick it up with a plastic bag (like a grocery bag) and throw into the trash. There are biodegradable bags available, but I found pros and cons to this approach. A “green” option is composting. Here again, use proper methods because the compost bin must generate enough heat to destroy the bacteria present in the waste. It is recommended the composted pet waste not be applied to plants that will be eaten or be brought in to the home for decoration.

So if we “doo” the right thing, we can help reduce another controllable source of pollution to our lake. But don’t forget, a barking dog is a good deterrent for the Canadian geese that are also part of the problem.

BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE

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Roaming Shores, OH
December 10, 2018, 3:03 pm
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