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About the SMLA Water Quality Monitoring Program
Monitoring the Waters of Smith Mountain Lake Since 1987
Photos of the Cedar Cabin at LakeAway Vacation Rentals on Smith Mountain Lake

Starting this summer SMLA will begin our 31st year of monitoring the quality of the water within the main lake in SML and also where the rivers and streams enter the lake. This is important to insure the water remains safe for everyone to use and enjoy. We have approximately 60 SMLA member volunteers monitoring 85 sites around the lake during the summer. It is easy, fun and rewarding to know that as a monitor you are good stewards of this beautiful lake as well as helping to insure that water quality remains healthy.

Actually the quality of the water in SML is remarkable for a fifty-two year old lake and showing little signs of change over the last 10 years. SMLA is proud of that fact and our water quality monitoring program. SMLA’s partners during the last 30 years of water quality monitoring are the many volunteers and Ferrum College. There many SMLA volunteers who have given freely their time and use of the their boat and gas to go out and check the clarity of the lake water and collect samples of the water at their prescribed sites around the lake six times during the summer. Ferrum College Professors, staff and student interns conduct additional monitoring and perform all of the analysis of the water and biological samples in their exceptional environmental sciences laboratory on their beautiful campus located in Ferrum Virginia. The resulting data is reported to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Health, the volunteers, SMLA members and the public. If there is an issue with the quality of the water SMLA promptly alerts our members, the public and respective agencies.

To be a Water Quality Monitor contact Larry Iceman at icemanle@gmail.com or call the SMLA office at (540) 719-0690. Please leave your name, phone #, and or E-mail address and state your interest and or question if no one is available to answer the phone. Ferrum College provides the monitoring equipment and training for the volunteers. No prior experience is required to be a monitor. It is a good family fun boating activity. Their will be a kickoff meeting in May. Please call or e-mail for details. You will need a boat, ice chest for water and the samples, sunscreen and sunglasses.

While boating and monitoring the water please wear your life jackets. It is your life you are protecting as well as any others on your boat. Your Safety comes first.

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Volunteer Monitors
Training and Duties
Water Quality Monitoring Volunteers on Smith Mountain Lake

Each monitoring season begins in mid-May with a training and organizational meeting hosted by SMLA and Ferrum College.  Over 80 volunteers monitor 50 sites by measuring water clarity using a secchi disc and collecting water samples from a boat every other week (6 - 1 hour events) until mid-August. Student interns from Ferrum College travel around the lake every other week to pick up the samples for analysis at the Ferrum College Water Quality Lab.

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Water Quality Monitoring Reports
Read the Results; Follow the Trends
SMLA Water Quality Monitoring Reports


SMLA Water Quality MonitorIng-- Summary 2017

As usual every year, water quality improves with proximity to the dam. In 2017, SML water quality improved from the upper channels to the dam, as indicated by decreasing total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and chlorophyll-a concentrations, and increasing Secchi depths. Compared to 2016 the average total phosphorus concentration in the lake unfavorably increased slightly in 2017, up 5.2 percent from the previous year, while the total nitrogen concentration improved falling 27.6 percent. In 2017, the average Secchi depth fell unfavorably 14.3 percent.

Average chlorophyll-a concentration , a measure of algae level in the water increased unfavorably by 48.3 percent in 2017 from 2016. However, the algal population levels in Smith Mountain Lake remained relatively low in the 2017 sampling season with the exception of higher levels of diatoms late in the season. Diatoms are one type of algae with distinctive, transparent cell walls made of hydrated silica and are not a major problem for water quality. This result is not likely a concern.

The Tropic State Index combined (TSI-c) is the overall best measure of water quality. In 2017 the average combined TSI-c was slightly above 50 (52.9), indicating that, on average, the lake is in the early stages of eutrophic conditions (meaning it has excessive nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, as these water bodies support an unfavorable abundance of aquatic plants and/or algae). The 2017 TSI-c did increase from the 2016 value of 48.8. More importantly is the comparison to the TSI-c 10 yr. average of 48.3 for which the 2017 TSI-c of 52.9 is 9.4% higher. The ten year graph tread line for TSI-c remains flat showing no adverse change.

SMLA is thankful for the 60 volunteers that give their time, use of their boats and gas to collect the water and algae samples used for this report. Their names appear in the detailed report. It is recommended that you at least read the executive summary section of the detailed SML WQM report found below.

Download 2017 Complete Final WQM Report

Download 2016 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2015 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2014 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2013 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2012 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2011 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2010 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2009 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2008 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2007 Complete Final WQM Report
Download 2006 Complete Final WQM Report

 

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LaSota Cottage Rates
Discounts in Fall, Winter & Spring; The beauty of the Lake is never discounted!
Rates Master
Occupancy 4 Occupancy is strictly enforced.  See Policies
 2015 Rates  
September 7th to  135 Daily -2 night minimum
December 31st 810 Weekly
Housekeeping 95
Damage Deposit 250 See Policies Page for details
Optional Linen Fee 110 Linens include: Sheets, Pillow Cases and Towels
Taxes (State + Local) 10.3% 5.3% Virginia Sales tax + 5% county occupancy tax
2016 Rates  
January 1st to 135 Daily - 2 night minimum
May 25th 810 Weekly
May 26th to 195 Daily - 2 night minimum
 June 25th 1,170 Weekly
June 26th to 220* Daily* available 2 weeks in advance
August 19th 1,320 Weekly Minimum - Saturday to Saturday
August 20th to  195 Daily - 2 night minimum
September 4th 1,170 Weekly
September5th to  135 Daily -2 night minimum
December 31st 810 Weekly
Housekeeping 95
Damage Deposit 250 See Policies Page for details
Optional Linen Fee 110 Linens include: Sheets, Pillow Cases and Towels
Taxes (State + Local) 10.3% 5.3% Virginia Sales tax + 5% county occupancy tax
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E-Mail CALL 540.719.0690