September 2023

September 2023

Volume 9, September 2023

AHOY! Greetings
Labor Day has come and gone, but SMLA is just getting started. Our membership is growing, our social presence is increasing, our email open rates are rising and we owe it all to to you, our members. Your support keeps us strong!

This summer provided intense learning for our Lake Quality Council (LQC) and newly established Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Work Group. Responding to SML’s first HAB, and related Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Swimming Advisory, took us into uncharted waters.

Advocacy to protect the health of Smith Mountain Lake has never been more critical. SMLA can, and will, do more to insure our lake remains the Jewel of the Blue Ridge.

We invite you to ask your friends and neighbors to join us and support SMLA’s efforts to:

  • Expand lake water sampling and testing capabilities
  • Reduce the time to receive test results
  • Advocate for meaningful HAB fundin
  • Deliver informative updates to the community
    I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting on September 29th!

Shoreline Management Plan (SMP)

It’s time for Appalachian Power (APCO) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review the Smith Mountain Lake Shoreline Management Plan (SMP).

FERC is the federal agency that licenses and regulates operations of APCO with regard to the Smith Mountain Lake project.

Public records of most materials related to the oversight and licensing of projects are available for download through the FERC eLibrary. Each project is filed on a “docket”.

As a public citizen you can “subscribe” to most dockets on the FERC eLibrary. This subscription, once you have a profile set up on the FERC website, will send you automatically generated emails that contain a link where you can download filings when they are made.

You can also post comments to a docket through the eComment page on the FERC website.

Comments are generally submitted in a word document and are usually related to a specific topic, filing or document on the docket. For example, if a plan has been released for review by various technical review committees and/or by the public, you would make your comment through this portal. These comments become part of the public record on the docket and are reviewed by FERC staff. In some cases, FERC staff respond to comments personally.

How to Subscribe to a FERC Docket on eLibrary, visit:

This brings you to the FERC Online Homepage, where you select eSubscription. When you click on that you will be asked to register an account. Once you have an account, you’ll be able to subscribe to dockets.

The docket number for the Smith Mountain Project is P-2210. You will be able to search the docket in addition to receiving new filings, through the eLibrary page.

To submit a public comment to a docket, visit:

You will be directed to fill in a form, with your contact information, and a separate email will be sent to you with a link to file comments. When you visit that link and are ready to file a comment, you will again need the docket number P-2210. It is best to pre-draft a comment in a word document and then copy it into the comment box provided.

On September 11th, SMLA’s membership attended a Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC) sponsored SMP listening session for the 2024 Plan. Lorie Smith, TLAC’s President, chaired the session. Twenty-two members attended and spoke about their experiences with the existing 2014 SMP.

TLAC hosted other listening sessions and is collecting input from residents around the lake. Once all community feedback is received, it will be compiled and shared with APCO prior to final development of the 2024 plan.

APCO Sedimentation Report

Appalachian Power Company (APCO) filed another extension for the sedimentation report – originally due within six months of its August 2021 sedimentation survey. An extension was granted by FERC until June 30, 2023, and then another extension request was made for October 31st, 2023. As you can see, this report is long overdue.

Sedimentation has become a serious concern at Smith Mountain Lake. APCO has removed channel markers on the Blackwater due to low water concerns caused by sedimentation, island(s) have formed in Gills Creek, and at one-time, boaters could run power boats under the bridge on Brooks Mill Road. These are a small sampling of the sedimentation issues at SML.

We will keep you informed of the sedimentation news as it becomes available. APCO is required to submit their report to the Technical Review Committee – of which SMLA has representatives on five committees – water quality monitoring, sedimentation, recreation, habitat and invasive species.

Join Our Annual Meeting

Our annual meeting is Friday, September 29th at Trinity Ecumenical Parish. The agenda features guest speaker, Neil Holthouser, Senior Environmental Coordinator for Appalachian Power (APCO), a SMLA update on the health of Smith Mountain Lake (SML), and an opportunity to engage with the volunteers that help keep SML clean and safe.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with light appetizers, sweets, coffee, and educational displays. Interact with SMLA’s Lake Quality Council and Water Safety Council members and ask your questions about buffer landscaping, invasive species, recreational safety, septic management, vessel pump out, and water (lake and stream) monitoring programs.

You will also be able to speak with SMLA partners including APCO, Bedford Regional Water Authority, Ferrum College, Tri-County Lakes Administrative Commission (TLAC), Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), Virginia Master Naturalists, and Western Virginia Water Authority.

The Business Meeting begins at 6:30 pm with a welcome from SMLA’s President Bill Butterfield, followed by an APCO update from Mr. Holthouser. SMLA will recognize its Annual Award winners who help keep SML clean and safe. All attendees are eligible to participate in a raffle of door prizes donated by SMLA Business Partners.

This free event is open to the entire SML community. Trinity Ecumenical Parish is located at 40 Lakemount Drive in Moneta, VA 24121.

Bring a neighbor, or friend, who you believe is interested in keeping SML clean and safe.This is a text block

Annual Awards

Thank you for responding to our call for nominations. We received a number of outstanding nominees this year. Celebrate with us on September 29th as we recognize the significant contributions that these worthy recipients have made to Smith Mountain Lake and our community.

SMLA Water Safety Council

During this month’s Water Safety Council (WSC) meeting, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) reported there were three boating incidents on SMLA over the Labor Day weekend – a backing up collision at a marina, wake incident on Craddock Creek, and a boat hitting a channel marker. This brings the total unofficial boating incidents for the year to thirteen.

DWR also conducted two boating safety checkpoints and completed 64 vessel inspections over the holiday day weekend resulting in 30 violations and one OUI arrest.

In cooperation with local businesses, law enforcement and the lake community, our WSC produced a Public Service Announcement regarding life jackets. We believe you’ll agree the video is very well done and does a nice job promoting SML. Check it out!

Click Here to View the SML Safety Video

Volunteer Appreciation Celebration

Calling all SMLA volunteers. The 2nd annual Oktoberfest Volunteer Appreciation Celebration is Friday, October 20th at the Boardwalk Pavilion. Save the Date. You do not want to miss it!