October 2023

October 2023

Volume 10, October 2023
AHOY! Greetings
Greetings to all of you, our supportive SMLA membership. Our SMLA 2023 Annual Meeting was a huge success. We so much appreciated your coming out to attend our annual meeting and hope that you enjoyed it.

2023 SMLA Annual Meeting

Neil Holthouser was our annual meeting guest speaker and he did a great job of informing our attendees about the workings of the Smith Mountain Project. SMLP is a federally licensed hydroelectric facility consisting of two dams and two lakes. APCO is responsible for managing various operational and environmental aspects of the project as assigned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). They include Shoreline Management, Lake Levels, Water Quality Management, Sediment Monitoring, Aids to Navigation, Aquatic Vegetation, Cultural Resources, Habitat Management, Endangered Species, Recreation Management, and Debris Management.

Neil pointed out that the SMLP is a pumped storage hydroelectric project consisting of two dams and two lakes. As a result, APCO can generate 636 megawatts of electricity or approximately 10 times that of a conventional hydroelectric facility.

SMLA Annual Awards – Stewards of the Lake

Spirit of the Lake Award
2023 Winner: Travis Burke

This year’s winner is Travis Burke of the Ice Cream Boat for his contribution to the SML community. His jingle, smile and ice cream treats have been providing summer-time enjoyment for toddlers to grandparents on SML for over fifteen years.

Melvin S. Johnston Citizen Volunteer Award
2023 Winner: John Rupnik

his year’s winner is John Rupnik for his numerous contributions to the SMLA Board of Directors that spanned a ten-year period from 2014-2023. John served as Treasurer from 2014-2019 and President from 2020-2021. He most recently served on the Executive Board and currently Chairs the the Buffer Landscape Committee.

Karl Martin Water Safety Award
2023 Winner: Patrick Massa

This year’s winner is Patrick Massa for his numerous contributions to the SML Water Safety Council (WSC). Pat served as WSC Chair for ten years from 2012-2022. Under his leadership, WSC focus expanded from boating safety to include dock and shoreline safety too. Pat also oversaw the implementation of the July 4th Fireworks “No Wake Zone” and authored dozens of news articles about the risks associated with lake recreation

Clean Stream Award
2023 Winner: David Hurt

This year’s winner is David Hurt of Truman Hill Farm in Franklin County. David raises cattle and sells grass-fed beef. He has been the host landowner of our Gills Creek monitoring site since the inception of the Save of Streams program. Over the past fifteen years, David has installed fencing to keep cattle out of the stream and established a buffer zone along the stream to prevent erosion and ensure that manure and nutrients do not seep into the waterway. His pasture management focuses on rotational grazing to maintain fertility without commercial fertilizer applications, and he manages weeds without spraying pastures with herbicides.

Inviting all SMLA 2023 Volunteers

SMLA Water Safety Council (WSC)

The Water Safety Council (WSC) had a busy month.

  • US Power Squadron member, Randy Stowe, attended a cold water survival and a severe weather seminar.
  • SML Marine Fire and Rescue reported a boating death that occurred in September near Compass Cove. Causal factors appeared to be a boat at high speed that cut inside the channel marker and hit a downed tree near the shoreline.
  • The Bedford County Sheriff’s department held training with Marine Corps special operations unit on the lake. They also attended and spoke at boating safety classes at Staunton River Middle School.

In case you missed the Life Jacket safety video last month, the link follows. Please have a look.

SMLA Lake Quality Council (LQC)

The latest meeting of the Lake Quality Council included a presentation from Barbara Ferrell from the SML Sediment Community Action Group. She spoke to the LQC about the public comment this group submitted to APCO regarding the draft Sedimentation Survey Report released this fall.

Ms. Ferrell has assessed the draft survey report and has gathered public feedback from residents which was put into the public comment.

2021 Photo of Two Sediment Islands in Gills Creek

The HAB Working Group’s next meeting will take place the first week of November. A small bloom was reported in Union Hall earlier this week. Ferrum looked at a sample and identified cyanobacteria species. DEQ and VDH will not respond as the swimming season is all but over.

Next for SMLA and HABs will be Phytoplankton Monitoring Network. A SMLA program is being developed including budget, equipment, lab setup, volunteers, and scope. Training to occur February 21-23 (exact date to be determined).

Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP) has volunteers this fall collecting water temperatures to examine the lake turnover, thermocline, and water clarity measurements.

SMLA Habitat Committee reported that the habitat installations are tentatively scheduled for December. SMLA will reach out for volunteers who might be interested in assembling these structures.

Our SAV monitoring group reported that the dive teams from Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department completed their survey of 15 locations and little SAV was noted again this year. It may be time to do the full annual survey next year.

Save our Streams reported that 5 of the 20 streams they are sampling this fall have been completed with nothing unusual in terms of stream scores reported.