“Weeds make the lake look terrible! There is nothing worse than having to clear your fishing line on almost every cast.” These and other comments can be heard around Lake Roaming Rock in August of most every year. While aquatic vegetation can be burdensome and unsightly at times, it’s important to understand their importance to our lake’s ecology.
Aquatic plants perform some of the same roles in our lake as trees do in a forest. While most people are aware of the consequences of poor logging practices in a forest, most are unaware of what changes in the aquatic plant community will do to their lake. Like trees in a forest, aquatic plants provide structure and food for other organisms. They also stabilize soft lake bottoms and minimize shoreline erosion by dampening the effect of waves like trees hold the soil and block the wind in a forest. These plants absorb and use nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, making less available for algae. A healthy plant community in our lake also makes the lake less susceptible to the spread of exotic plants like Eurasian water milfoil. Lake vegetation provides food for waterfowl and habitat for small fish and provides shade which limits algae growth. We are experiencing significantly less algae growth this year, but as a consequence, sunlight reaches deeper into the lake and causes greater weed production.
You can probably see why your LMC appreciates aquatic plants that play such a vital role in lake ecology and water quality. However, we also know that that a balance is necessary as too many plants can limit swimming, fishing, boating, and, sometimes, aesthetic appreciation.
One way to control shoreline weeds is a lake draw down during the winter months. Your LMC supports lake drawdowns in an attempt to dewater and freeze nuisance plants close to shore. Drawdowns have not been particularly effective in recent years because of the warm, wet winter seasons we have enjoyed. Over the years the LMC worked with the Association Board to operate and maintain expensive weed harvesting equipment to keep waterways clear of vegetation so that access to the main body of the lake from all areas including coves is maintained. While this equipment cannot be effectively and safely used in shallow water areas, the LMC has encouraged residents to manually clear nuisance vegetation from specific areas around your dock using weed cutters and weed rakes. Do-it-yourselfers may be interested in the weed raking tools described in Dick Hurwitz’s “Got Weeds?” article (see Lake Management Committee section of our website). Several local contractors are available for this service to residents who need help with their dock weeds.
Our maintenance department, in addition to their weed harvesting duties, also must maintain the pools, beaches, equipment, structures, picnic and recreational areas, roads and culverts that serve the majority of residents. Weeds are something we have to put up with for a short time so we may enjoy our beautiful lake. With no weeds, harmful algae could become dominant and that is a condition very hard to reverse.
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By the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors received information showing that the e-coli bacteria levels exceed the Ohio states guidelines that requires notification. The water sampling, that was done at Beach 1 and Beach 2, on August 16, 2016 indicate that the e-coli level exceeds the guideline for the water at each Beach.
Notices have been posted at each Beach. Here is the notice:
No data has been generated for the balance of the Lake. Beach samples were taken in anticipation of the Labor Day Holiday Weekend, However, those results will now not be available to the Association until after Labor Day.
There are a number of websites concerning e-coli and swimming. There is information online that includes articles like the following:
Testing, like we have done, may not determine if the e-coli is dangerous. There is e-coli that is not dangerous. Online recommendations about dealing with e-coli range from avoiding the water entirely to rinsing off if in contact with the water.
General recommendations from these articles are:
- Not to ingest the water. Be especially aware of children.
- To wash off before handling or ingesting food.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. Just be aware.
Background: The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is conducting an investigation of methane dynamics in reservoirs. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is produced by microorganisms in reservoir sediments. The USEPA is supporting research to estimate the magnitude of methane emissions from reservoirs in the United States.
Lake Roaming Rock Work Plan: The USEPA will measure methane emissions from 32 reservoirs in Ohio, including Lake Roaming Rock, during the summer of 2016. Methane emissions will be measured from 15 locations in each lake using a device which captures methane rich bubbles as they rise through the water column toward the atmosphere (Fig 1). One device will be suspended from an orange buoy (11 x 15 inch) at each site. Buoys will be deployed on Sept 4th and will be removed within 24 hours.
In addition to methane emissions, many other indicators of lake water quality will be measured. These are listed in the table below (Table 1). The USEPA has stated that they would be happy to share the results of these measurements with the Lake Roaming Rock Board in the form of a written report.
If you see these buoys in the lake, please do not disturb them.
Table 1: Additional water quality measurements
dissolved organic carbon (DOC)
total organic carbon (TOC)
dissolved greenhouse gases
Please note that the lake will begin to be lowered on November 1st. Please make sure to have your boats removed from the lake before lowering begins.
From the Lake Management Committee:
This operation can result in a number of advantages for our lake. It can kill some nuisance aquatic plants by drying and freezing. It can, to some extent, protect shoreline structures from ice damage. It also gives the lake ample capacity to accept the potentially heavy spring rains without causing problems due to flooding. But also important is that with the water lower and all of our summer “toys” gone, we have an excellent opportunity to inspect our properties at the lakefront. Erosion is a constant issue and, over time, can degrade the integrity of a dock, rip-rap (rock wall) or seawall. Without proper protection from erosion, sediment can then enter the lake, causing build-up on the lake floor that can hamper the ability to properly utilize watercraft. Erosion can also result in a premature failure of the structure. 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.
If you suspect you may have a problem or have identified a problem, contact the Village office or the RRA to inquire about necessary permits and obtain a listing of approved vendors. Also, please consider the addition of rain gardens or buffer zones to your project to help control erosion and reduce nutrients from run-off. Previous articles have discussed each of these items and can be found on the RomeRock Association website under Lake Management. With proper attention, erosion of our shoreline can be controlled.
You look out at the lake or cove near your dock, beach, shoreline or seawall and see some, or maybe a lot of weeds and lily pads. You wonder what you should do about them. Should you try to get rid of them? The answer is “maybe.” Consider the following:
- Where they are growing, the weeds help to control or reduce the algae in the water. After all, the weeds need nutrients to grow—many of the same nutrients needed by algae to thrive.
- Unless they get too thick, weeds are good for fish and fishing. They provide shelter, oxygen, ambush points, and a smorgasbord of baitfish for the fish you might be “angling” for.
- But maybe you really need to clear the weeds so you, your family, and your guests can swim, or so you can dock and use your watercraft.
- Or maybe you just don’t like the way the weeds look.
So it’s really up to you to decide whether to leave the weeds, try to reduce them, or try to get rid of as many as possible. And if you do decide to go after the weeds, consider using one or more tools designed for the purpose and listed below. Be sure that whichever tool or tools you may decide to use, it is important to gather and remove weeds cut from the lake so as not to contribute additional nutrients (decomposing weeds) into the lake. Also, uncollected cuttings may root elsewhere and compound your weed problem. Collected weeds can go into your compost bin or be disposed of at the Village compost site. Suggested tools include:
- Weed rakes: these are designed to pull loose or growing weeds toward you so they may be removed.
- Weed cutters: these are designed to cut the weeds near the water bottom so they may be raked or gathered.
- Combo tools: these are designed to both cut the weeds and gather* them in one step.
An Internet search using key words such as “lake weed rakes” or “lake weed cutters” will yield many different tools at various price levels, but most will cost from about $70 to $200. Your Lake Management Committee has no specific product recommendations, but you can check out the following YouTube videos to get an idea of the different types of products and how to use them:
Decisions, decisions. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Hopefully this brief article will lead you to the answers that are best for you.
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Summer is upon us and those eight-legged creatures quickly found your house, dock and boat. Now what? Well the answer isn’t always easy. Spiders are very beneficial as they consume many other insects and an important component of the ecosystem. But having cobwebs and spider droppings all over your house, dock and boat can be unsightly. Brushing the cobwebs off and washing your boat and dock frequently with fresh water (yep water alone) is one of the easiest and most lake friendly ways of control.
Pest control products for around your home typically use one of the following active ingredients, Bifenthrin – Ortho home Defense MAX, Gamma-Cyhalothrin – Spectracide Bug Stop, Cyfluthrin – Bayer Home Pest and there are many others. They work well around your home but are extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and should never be used on your dock or boat near the water. Remember to always read the product label for application guidelines and precautions.
So what are we to do? Here are a few tips and tricks… Did you know, spiders smell and taste with their feet? So a home mixture of some essential oils sprayed on a surface will kill or deter spiders. Some of the essential oils to use are lavender, citronella, peppermint, tea tree oil, thyme and rosemary. You’ll be controlling spiders and adding fragrance to your home all at the same time. Be aware, you may have to apply this type of all natural control method more often to remain effective.
If you’ve tried the at home methods and a commercial product is what you are looking for then here a few alternatives. As times have changed so has the products available to consumers. Here are a few commercial products made with essential oils, making them completely eco-friendly, safe for your guests, your pets, children, and our environment. They are Essentria® IC3, EcoVia™ EC, Nature’s Element® Web Out® and Star brite® Spider Away. As with the home mixtures, you may need to apply more often since these are natural based products as compared to synthetic pesticides, but they are a much safer alternative for people, pets and the lake.
Remember to always spot test to ensure nothing happens to the surface you want to apply a product to and as always, remember to follow the product’s label.
We hope this article provides valuable insight into existing products and alternatives, which can help you, make informed choices for your own use and that of hired contractors.
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In past articles, the Lake Management Committee has suggested the use of zero phosphorous fertilizers for lawn care. A recent article has indicated that other states take this suggestion very seriously. Case in point, in 2010, New York enacted the Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law, which, as one of its provisions, prohibits the use of phosphorous-based fertilizers on lawns unless they are newly installed, or testing results show a low phosphorous content. One other interesting part of this law is that it restricts retailers in terms of how they can sell and display phosphorous-containing fertilizers. This recent article indicated that Lowes and Home Depot were fined $52,000 and $78,000 respectively for not properly labeling and segregating phosphorous containing fertilizers separately from non-phosphorous fertilizers. The article also indicated that Wal-Mart was also cited, but escaped fines by banning phosphorous fertilizers from their stores. This law was part of the state’s efforts to reduce the impact of phosphorous in runoff from lawns, which is said to have contributed to 70-100 lakes being impaired (i.e. negatively impacted for drinking or recreational purposes). Other states that have laws regarding the use of phosphorous fertilizers include NJ, MN, WI, MA and FLA.
Use of proper fertilizer applications can definitely impact the health of our lake. We therefore rely on those who do it themselves, as well as those that contract with a commercial service to use proper techniques and materials. Many states feel strongly enough about this to enact laws around this issue. But for us in Ohio, we rely on each of our residents to do their part to protect our lake. Do your part and help us all to…
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We are definitely seeing signs that the winter has left us and we can begin to enjoy our lake for yet another fun-filled season of swimming, skiing and kayaking. This also marks the start of the Lake Management Committee’s (LMC’s) efforts to monitor the water quality to insure that it is safe for these activities. In past articles, we have discussed the issues related to algae blooms and the toxins that may sometimes be present. The LMC coordinates testing for these toxins to make sure that water at the two beaches is safe to enjoy. These two areas are where the greatest number of people swim at any one time. It should be noted that no result from the past three years has ever exceeded the guidelines set forth by the OhioEPA. We hope that this season will be the same. It should also be noted that many private lakes only test their beaches for bacteria, and not algal toxins. Should the levels of toxins or bacteria be exceeded, signs will be posted to warn of high levels.
This year we will be adding an additional type of testing. If you have used the many public beaches across the country, you may have encountered signs warning of bacteria contamination. This is based on testing for the presence of fecal coliforms, which are bacteria commonly found in the gut of most animals. Some, but not all, bacteria of this type can cause illness in humans. The LMC has decided to conduct testing for bacteria to insure that the levels are safe, again focusing on the two beaches. For bacteria, the results will be reported as “cfu/100 mL”. These units are strange and do not have any real correlation with concentration. For those geeks out there, the units represent “colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water”. A volume of 100 mL is roughly equivalent to a third of a cup. The current OhioEPA guideline for posting advisories for bacteria is 235 cfu/100 mL. This type of testing is routinely done for Ohio’s many public beaches. On the Ohio.gov web site, you can see the results from surrounding public beaches in their BeachGuard section.
If you see these signs, it will be your responsibility to decide if it is appropriate to swim in the water or to “take a day off” and use the pools. As with the toxins, those at the highest risk are the young and the “more mature” residents. In addition, since one potential source for bacteria is from run-off, the levels are often highest just after a significant rain event.
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Many Roaming Shores residents take great pride in a beautiful lawn. This is a good thing! Not only does it add to the beauty of our village, but it also helps maintain or even increase the values of our properties. In some cases, however, a beautiful lawn may not be such a good things—if the beauty is a result of chemical applications that include nutrients which may be harmful to the health and safety of our lake. So if you would like a lawn that is, as much as possible, safe for the lake and beautiful as well, try some or all of these suggestions from the April 2016 issue of Reader’s Digest:
Wise Moves for a Lush Lawn
- Get tested. “Spending money on fertilizer without a soil test is just guessing,” says Paul Tukey. Good soil is key to a great lawn, and a soil test can tell you what’s in the dirt and what’s missing. For a test, call your county extension office (a national network of agriculture experts).
- Plant clover with your grass. Clover competes with weeds and fixes nitrogen in the soil. John Bochert, a lawn and garden specialist in York, Maine, recommends a seed mix of white clover, perennial rye (it germinates quickly), fescue, and bluegrass.
- Mow high, and leave the clippings. Taller grass provides more leaf for photosynthesis, develops deeper roots, and resists weeds. The clippings act as fertilizer. “Lawns mowed at four inches are the most weed-free,” Tukey says. “If you did only one thing, adjusting your mower height would be it.”
- Cut back on watering. Frequent watering leads to shallow roots, so “water once a week if at all,” says Tukey.
- Apply compost. “Weeds need light to grow,” Tukey says. “Spreading compost on a lawn in the spring prevents weed seeds from germinating.”
- Listen to weeds… “Weeds are nothing if not messengers,” says Tukey. “Dandelions are telling you the ground needs more calcium. Plantains are telling you the ground is too compact and needs aerating.”
- …and to insects. Beneficial nematodes, which are microscopic worms, eat some 200 species of insects, including grubs that become Japanese beetles; you can buy them from farm and garden stores. Mix them in water, and spray them on your lawn.
-Edgar Allen Beem
from Down East
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.
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