April 2022

Welcome to the April edition of SMLA AHOY! March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion with some pretty windy and cold weather. This month’s SMLA AHOY is focused on keeping you informed about the accomplishments and ongoing initiatives of your SMLA colleagues in support of keeping our lake clean and healthy. Please remember that I am interested in your feedback so let me know what’s on your mind regarding what you like about what we do as well as ways we can improve SMLA.

The BOD has been busy in March. Following are a few highlights of what’s been happening.

Our 2022 first quarterly newsletter was published and sent out to all of you at the end of March. A special thanks to Gale Easter for her work on organizing and publishing the newsletter. In the newsletter you will find abundant information regarding:

  • SMLA volunteers along with Ferrum College monitor our water quality between March and October. In 2021, SML water quality was very good as reported by Tom Hardy, chair of SMLA WQMP.
  • John Rupnik stated that slots for homeowners, requesting the services of SMLA’s Buffer Landscaping Advisory Service Teams (BLAST), are going fast. BLAST team members provide a free service that gives homeowners advice on problem-solving designs for these important shoreline buffer gardens.
  • The 2022 SML Vessel Pump Out Program (VPOP), led by John Vidovich, will run again this year from May 21st through September 10th. Nothing could be easier than a no cost vessel discharge of untreated sewage, thus keeping our lake pristine.
  • In an initiative intended to grow SMLA membership and make new home owners aware of the work of SMLA, all new homeowners received a letter from our membership co-chairs, Gale Easter and Mike Streff, welcoming them to SML. This was the beginning of our spring membership drive which was described in the newsletter. You, our members, are critical to the recruitment of new membership to SMLA. There is no better method of recruitment than word of mouth testimony.
  • Our strategic planning group is off to a good start with the development of a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis for SML and SMLA. Mike Streff, who chairs this committee, stated the hope is to continue to declare in 2030 that the water quality at SML is very good.
  • The health of our watershed dictates the health of our lake. Geoff Orth, who chairs the Save Our Streams (SOS) committee, is asking for additional volunteers to staff this important work which utilizes biological testing methods to determine water quality.
  • One of the most important responsibilities of the SMLA is to support our Water Safety Council (WSC) in their work of promoting safe recreation on SML. Chairperson Pat Massa provides outstanding information regarding new season boat preparation and reminds us that free safety checks will occur on 21-22 May at Bridgewater Plaza and Crazy horse marina docks.
  • In addition to the newsletter, an article was published by Joanne Houpt, Septic Systems chair, educating all of us on the importance of taking care of our septic systems.

Oversight committee representatives from SMLA, TLAC and SMLRCC have met twice in March and organized a volunteer approach to the annual Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake (TPISML) clean-up during the month of May. The clean-up effort will mirror the program that was run in May of 2021. The website with the information to pre-register yourself along with your group is: https://takepridesml.wordpress.com/. Registration has to be completed prior to May 1st.

Nearly 200 volunteers participated in TPISML last year and we are hoping to increase this number and the 16 tons of debris collected last year. Please get with your community and sign up prior to May 1st.

SMLA and the SMLA WSC will have two side-by-side booths at the upcoming SMLRCC Business Expo on May 6th, Noon – 4 pm, at the Eastlake Community Church. Please drop by and say hello.

Thank you for your continued support of the SMLA. I look forward to hearing from you.

Bill Butterfield