April 2024

April 2024

Greetings from SMLA President Bill Butterfield

I am excited to announce the creation of the Smith Mountain Lake Water Quality Alliance (SMLWQA). Volunteers, residents, businesses, professionals, and county and state agencies are working together to insure that the water quality focus at SML continues to be a top priority.

The goal of this working group is to have one unified community voice that addresses the water quality concerns of all stakeholders at SML. In doing so we will work to educate and advise residents and visitors on:

  • The history of Harmful Algal Blooms, or HAB’s, on Smith Mountain Lake
  • Steps in process to better understand and characterize the SML watershed
  • Prospects for future HABs
  • Best practices for keeping Smith Mountain Lake clean and safe
Moving forward, the SMLWQA will merge the work of the SMLA Lake Quality Council’s (LQC) HAB working group. 

The SMLWQA is co-chaired by me and Jeff Prowse, owner of Mitchell’s Point Marina. The group will work closely with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Ferrum College. 

Bill Butterfield, President SMLA


Lake Quality Council Update

Thanks to everyone who tuned into the webinar about the latest Water Quality Monitoring Report. You can access the report from the SMLA website.

We are currently completing training sessions at 20 dock locations for our Dock Watch Program and will begin sampling mid-April. https://smlassociation.org/dock-watch-program/

Our 40 Save our Streams volunteers are co-sponsored by SMLA and the Blue Ridge Foothills and Lakes chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists. We have seven fully certified trainers, the largest cluster of instructors in the western part of Virginia. We to hold a certification workshop every year for our own trainees plus volunteers from the New River Valley Master Naturalists and the Preserve Grayson naturalists.

The most recent event was held on March 16. The trainees completed the testing portion of their certification program by passing both hands-on and written exams on water testing protocol and macroinvertebrate identification. Ten new certified monitors successfully completed all aspects of the training, including Carolyn Briggs of Huddleston and Nancy Galvan of Moneta. Carolyn and Nancy are assigned to stream monitoring teams at Buck Run at SML State Park and both Craddock Creek and Mariners Run at Mariners Landing.

Veteran trainer Jean Borgman discusses riffle sites in the stream bed with two trainees from the New River Valley


Committee Updates

You are invited to A Day at the Lake on Saturday, June 8. This free interactive community event will be held at Goodhue Boat Company, Blackwater (formerly Crazy Horse Marina) from 11am – 4 pm. 

Building on the success of last year, this year’s event will be bigger, better, and more fun! New this year – a Virginia Tech drone demonstrating water monitoring, a dunk tank, and corn hole. There will also be children’s face painting, a scavenger hunt, and boats from the many organizations that work to keep SML clean and safe. 

Lake lovers of all ages, and their pets, are welcome.  


Business Partners

We recently upgraded the technology in our office to provide enhanced services and to lower costs. Superior Solutions joined SMLA as a Defender of the Lake Business Partner and helped us with product selection and installation. They also will provide ongoing technology support. Visit their website to learn about their service for businesses.


The migration to our new online membership tool is complete! More than half of our members are now using the website to join or renew. The automation is reducing administrative costs and these savings are being directed to our programs that help keep the lake clean and safe.

Questions? Know someone who should be a member? Contact membership@smlassociation.org.


Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake, SML’s annual cleanup initiative, will take place on May 4 at various locations around the lake.

Neighborhood groups, businesses, families, civic organizations and others are invited to participate in the organized event or plan their own cleanup anytime in May.

For more details, visit TakePrideSML.com.



Thank you for being a Steward of the Lake!