June 2022

Swimming Advisory on SMLA

Water Quality Monitoring Shows Issues at 5 Sites

On May 25th we received a report from Ferrum College who had sampled fourteen sites around the lake for bacteria levels.  Five of these locations exceeded the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) standard for recreational waters.  Thus we issued a swimming advisory on those five locations which included the following sites: 

  1. The head of Becky’s Creek near Bayside Marina and Yacht Club
  2. Fairway Bay, off the Roanoke channel just downstream from Becky’s cove
  3. Forest Cove, opposite the Smith Mountain Dam
  4. Palmer’s trailer Park Cove, in Little Run
  5. Near Ponderosa Campground, in the upper Blackwater River

VDH recommends you do not swim immediately after heavy rains, nor around ducks, geese and other birds, farm animals or wildlife.

The Smith Mountain Lake Association does NOT recommend swimming in those areas.  

The SML watershed area experienced very heavy rainfall in the days preceding the samples being taken.  During periods of heavy rainfall there is considerable runoff into the lake from the watershed area which contains both livestock and farming. 

In addition to this, the runoff of lawn fertilizer from properties bordering the lake pollute the water with nutrients that can promote the growth of bacteria and algae. 

Typically, the resulting spike in bacterial concentrations will last up to three days after a heavy rainfall.

The next bacterial sampling will take place on June 7th. The results of that sampling will be communicated as soon as they are available.

The SMLA wants to assure residents and visitors to the lake that while it is usually okay to enjoy activities such as swimming, skiing, and boating in most of the lake, we work hard with our colleagues at Ferrum College to monitor the lake and keep the public informed when conditions change. 

Water Quality Management Program

Kick-Off Meeting Held for SML Monitors

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On Tuesday May 17th, the WQMP group of water quality monitors gathered for the 36th annual kick-off meeting in the SMLA conference room.  

Tom Hardy, Director of Water Quality Monitoring, welcomed new and returning water quality monitors.  

Last year’s water quality was reviewed by the Ferrum College team and collection kits passed out to our lake volunteer monitors.  Our volunteers will be collecting lake samples, taking clarity and temperature measurements for the next 12 weeks with Ferrum College analyzing the samples.  

SMLA volunteers will continue into the fall collecting temperature and clarity data.  

Take Pride in SML

Report Your Results on our Web Site

We hope you and your family were able to participate in “Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake” (TPISML) clean-up efforts during this past month of May.  If you were able to get out and clean-up and area of the lake by yourself, family, neighborhood or other group, please report your estimated collection at: https://takepridesml.wordpress.com/debris-collection-form/.

SMLA at Business Expo

Talking about SMLA at the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

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On May 6th both SMLA and Water Safety Council (WSC) participated in the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (SMLRCC) business expo.  Our booths were side by side and there were 85 vendors present and approximately 600 attendees.  We were able to spend 4 hours during which we explained the work of SMLA and WSC and asked for support by joining with us to keep the lake clean and safe.  We also identified 4 new business partners and were asked to present at a local BNI meeting.

Vessel Pump Out Program 

Program Underway for Summer 2022

 The Smith Mountain Lake Vessel Pump Out Program (VPOP) has kicked off the season.  The program, a cooperative effort between the Virginia Department of Health, TLAC and SMLA, is FREE to boat owners at participating marinas around the lake.  To learn more or schedule a pump out for your boat, please call the TLAC office at 540-721-4400 or email pumpout@sml.us.com

Buffer Pilot Garden

Work on Pilot at Mariners Landing

  The pilot buffer landscape project at Mariner’s Landing 5th tee is progressing.  A full project plan has been created with numerous tasks outlined. Project to be completed by Spring 2023.   

SMLA Membership Drive

Help Spread the Word to Your Neighbors

Following their letter in April to “new” property owners on the lake, our membership committee was busy in May as they sent out a mailing to approximately 7,300 lake property owners describing the work and benefits of being a member of SMLA and asking them to join us.   Property values in and around SML continue to rise and studies demonstrate the correlation between property value, water quality and safe boating practices.  SMLA continues to focus its resources in making sure water quality and safe boating practices are at the forefront of our mission.  I hope you will join with us in our efforts to increase our membership by promoting SMLA to your friends, neighbors, and the local businesses you support

Subsurface Aquatic Vegetation

Smith Mountain Lake Eagle Article May 18th  

I hope you were able to read the press article in May from Joanne Houpt regarding the update on subsurface aquatic vegetation (underwater weeds) on SML. To quote Joanne, “In 2007 several patches of Hydrilla of varying densities were discovered in multiple lake locations.”  As a result, TLAC funded the stocking of 6,000 Triploid (sterile) Grass Carp into SML and they did their job of cleaning the lake subsurface vegetation.  SMLA along with AEP and TLAC will continue to monitor the SAV levels at SML.