Lake Management Articles

The Lake in Winter

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

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))


Lake Management Survey Results

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

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.


MetroParks Invasive Aquatic Plant Survey

By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

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 We will get back with you with an answer.]

Lake Management Committee Survey

David Ernes – Lake Management Committee

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.

Take the Survey

Love the lake and Be Lake Responsible.


Maintaining a Tree Canopy

Cheryl Fain – Lake Management Committee

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.

2019 Lake Lowering

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.

Attractive Buffer Zones

By Richard D. Gainar, CEBS – Lake Management Committee

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.


Leaves a Falling

Edited by Dave Ernes – Lake Management Committee

Fall is in the air. So too are the myriad of leaves which end up covering every flat surface on your property. The question is: what is the best thing that can be done with them.

Some residents may be inclined to simply blow their leaves into the lake or culverts.  After all, Mother Nature does this on her own. However, unlike Mother Nature, you can be fined if you intentionally blow leaves into the lake. (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 important? Nutrients fuel algal blooms. ‘Nuff said? The Planet Natural Research Center web site states that 50-80 percent of the nutrients that trees absorb end up in the leaves. So, if you think that your tree is helping to reduce the nutrients ending up in the lake, make sure that the leaves don’t end up there or you have defeated the purpose.  

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.

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. Make sure culverts are clear if you choose this option.
  • 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.  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.  And it’s free!
  • The old answer of course is to bag your leaves each fall. Or you can always have your landscaper do it for you. 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 Association Compost Site rather than the trash. This site is a great Roaming Shores resource! (A key can be obtained from the RRA office 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

History of Concerns About Water Quality, Erosion, or Dam Safety 1966-2016

RRA Member Carolyn Tharp compiled a report on lake management to highlight moments during the first 50 years of The Shores when lake management and concerns were mentioned. This report was approved to be posted here on the website at the Sept 5th meeting of the Board of Directors. It is linked below and is also listed under LMC Reports on our Lake Management pages.

Algal Toxins and Pets

By D.Ernes – Lake Management Committee

Some of you may have seen the recent articles in the paper and on the news about pets (mainly dogs) dying after exposure to algae in lakes and ponds. I want to relay some information I have found on this issue.

First, the articles are talking about exposure to toxins that can be released from cyanobacteria [CB], which most people refer to as blue-green algae. As an organism, CB has been around as long as water has been on earth. It is present in a great many lakes in Ohio including ours. But why is this an issue with dogs?

Unlike us, dogs cannot read beach warning signs, or e-blasts and have no issues drinking water that has green swirls in it. The EPA website says “When in doubt, keep pets out”. Additionally, dogs (and other animals as well) may be more susceptible to the toxins that may be present. The most common toxin, microcystin, can cause liver damage that can be fatal in dogs. Here are some things that you should know.

1. This is not something new. There have been reports of animal deaths related to ingestion of lake water as early as 1878. It has become very visible in our 24/7 news environment.

2. Symptoms of exposure include: diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, weakness, seizures and breathing difficulties to name a few. If you notice these symptoms, take your pet immediately to the vet. Exposure can be fatal after a few hours to several days depending on the size of the pet and the quantity ingested. There is no cure, but treatments have been shown to be successful.

3. The Veterinary Merck Manual indicates that the greatest effect is from ingestion of a concentrated bloom. The amount of water ingested that can be fatal can vary from a few ounces to several gallons. For those of you with a health background, it states that the toxins have a steep dose-response curve where as much as 90% of a lethal dose can be ingested without measurable effect.

I have been unable to find any references regarding exposure limits for pets to toxins like there are for humans. So, if you see that there is a bloom on the surface of the water (often seen in the early hours of the day), keep your pet away from it. If they go in, don’t panic. Just get them out, rinse them off and keep an eye out for symptoms. If you send them outside, make sure they drink clean water before they go out, so that they are not thirsty. Have clean water available to them when they are outside so they are not tempted to drink from the lake. Take care of our furry friends and …


Lake Dam Status

Lake Level Updates:

Current Valve Status: Open

Reason: Lake is being lowered a couple inches for algae treatments the week of June 14th

More information

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