Over the next year The Lake Management committee will be writing monthly articles for the Shores News to provide our members with as much information as possible about the dredging program currently being investigated and implemented. We will discuss:
- Why dredging?
- The cost of dredging
- Recent progress
- How you can help
- Our current schedule
- Equipment to be purchased
- Schedule of Saturday morning meetings for open discussion
In these articles, we will try to touch on each of these topics, but concentrate monthly on more thoroughly explaining one subject.
This month we concentrate on why we need dredging, and also comment on some of the things that have been accomplished to-date, so dredging can begin in 2013. We know that:
- About 32,000 cubic yards of sediment, about 24,000 tons, flows into our lake every year, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. That’s like having about 1200 huge dump trucks dumping sediment into our lake yearly. To put it another way, this volume, if spread over a football field, would fill the field to a depth of 20 feet! In one year! Multiply that by 46 and you begin to get an idea of the problem we need to overcome. Can you imagine that? A football field 20 feet deep! Every year! This information was contained in a 1991 study and report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture authored by James N. Wade, a geologist. Knowing this, how can anyone who cares about our lake, which is the focal point of the entire Village of Roaming Shores, question what we are trying to accomplish?
- Over the last 35 years, the Association has engaged three environmental consultants to advise us on water quality issues – the last of which was EnviroScience, Inc. in 2005. The purpose of all of these studies was to evaluate the relative quality of our water , and advise us on what we can do to restore the water quality to that which existed when the lake was impounded in the mid-1960s. All of these studies warned us about the increased amount of accumulated sediment and the degradation of water quality caused by nutrients trapped in the sediment. These nutrients, mostly products that came into our lake from the local farmer’s fields, are harmful and promote the growth of algae which makes our lake water green when the water warms in the summer and becomes depleted of its dissolved oxygen.
- We have evaluated during the past 3 years alternative ways to remove the accumulated sediment and have concluded, with the help of experts in their field, (not laypersons, but experts), that hydraulic dredging is the most cost effective method of removing the sediment and eliminating our water quality problem.
Despite the negativity coming from some folks, the majority of the Board has concluded that most members who have any concern at all about our lake intuitively understand the problem we are facing and are tired of our doing nothing about the problems. Do they like the assessment? Of course not, but they understand that a small investment now will pay dividends in the future. Thus, the Board’s job is to keep the assessment as low as possible, and find other ways to help fund this project by continuing to reduce expenses elsewhere. The Board should be congratulated on the steps they have taken during the last year or so to reduce unnecessary expenses, streamline operations, and free up funds for dredging.
Now, is dredging the only answer? Do we have other tools in our toolbox? The answer is no, dredging is not the only answer, and yes, we have other tools. But we need to begin by removing the majority of the accumulated sediment. Then, after sediment is brought under control, we can consider installing aeration in some areas, and constructing a siphon to better control the water level during times of high inflow and allow us to lower the lake level when needed.
Folks, think of this as a financial investment that will pay you dividends in the future. It really doesn’t matter if you own property on the main lake, on a cove, or far from the water’s edge. For an assessment of $100 or less per year, less than $2 per week, we can return our water quality to what it once was. Think for a moment of the impact that will have on property values! Ask any of our local realtors about the difficulties they face in trying to market a property or home in an area of our lake that has excessive weed growth, green water, and not enough water depth to dock a boat. Sadly, some members have given up even trying to put a boat in the water, and have sold their boat, skis, and everything water-related because they don’t believe the Association will do anything to improve the situation.
So what we have accomplished recently?
- We have worked to strengthen our relationship with our environmental consultant, Enviroscience, keeping the lines of communication open with them and relying on their expertise on an ongoing basis.
- Concluded that after we remove what has already accumulated, we need to continue annual maintenance dredging to remove the estimated 24,000 tons of sediment that flows into our lake every year. That’s why doing the dredging with our own personnel and equipment makes sense, as the problem is never ending.
- Spent a day with ODNR officials at Grand Lake St Marys who already have three hydraulic dredges in operation to clean up that lake, and to observe their dredging program.
- Studied properties around our lake to seek out possible sites for sediment disposal and have reached agreement on the first of those properties.
- Attended meetings with US Army Corps of Engineers, and sought input concerning engineering companies they would recommend to assist us with our plans.
- Met with a recommended firm, and discussed with them the steps required to develop engineering drawings.
- Finalized conceptual details such as dredge size and output, discharge piping, means and methods, etc
- Developed proposals for the purchase of equipment.
We are doing what virtually every other lake in Ohio has done or is doing. We are not reinventing anything but following standard, proven procedures to restore and protect our Lake.
We will review the projected costs of this project and how it will be paid for in next month’s edition of the Shores News. We will also start informational meeting on weekends in the near future to review our progress with you and try to answer questions.
The Lake Management Committee will be having their next scheduled committee meeting on Thursday, September 13th at the clubhouse. We have invited Tom Grabow who is the western Regional Dredging Manager for ODNR to explain the projects he is currently working on. He is in charge of dredging three lakes in western Ohio, and has a wealth of information and experience to share. Please spread the word to all so that everyone who has questions or concerns can have an opportunity to listen to Tom and have their questions answered. The meeting will start at 6:30 PM.
We need your help and your support. We are planning a project that is unprecedented in the history of our Lake, but one that is much needed, and much overdue.
If you would like to offer your support to this project and become either an active or corresponding member of the Lake Management Committee, please e-mail me at Petraus@sme-usa.com. If you are not interested in supporting this endeavor, ask yourself what you plan to do with your home or property if in the future, our water quality continues to degrade and word gets out that our lake is not safe for swimming, tubing, or skiing and we are following in the footsteps of what happened to Grand Lake St Marys. What will you do when your kids or guests want to go swimming, tubing, or skiing, and you need to tell them that the water is not safe?
This is not about scare tactics, nor an exaggeration of facts. It’s reality folks, 46 years of neglect and wishful thinking. Think about it. And also think about how many people would choose to purchase property or a home in this area if the lake wasn’t safe or a third of it turned into a shallow swamp?
Lake Management Committee Chair