News and updates from the SMLA President

Our Mission: SMLA’s mission is to protect the water of Smith Mountain Lake and promote safe recreation.

Volume 2, March 2023
AHOY Greetings

January and February have flown by with no snow and unseasonably warm weather. Fishing boat activity continues to pick up and soon pleasure boating will follow. We have a lot of news to share with you so let’s get started.

A Day at the Lake

Kick-off the summer season with SMLA on Saturday, June 10th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at Crazy Horse Marina. A Day at the Lake is a community event that is all about a clean and safe SML. The day includes free interactive, educational and fun activities for children and adults. And of course, food. Bathing suits are not required, but encouraged! Stay tuned for more details.

Save our Streams (SOS)

We are excited to announce that SMLA has developed a new annual award to recognize land owners and land managers whose actions have improved water quality in a stream monitored regularly by our SOS staff. The award will be presented in early fall at our annual Membership meeting.

Our SOS program held a spring workshop for new volunteers. Four trainees from the SML watershed and six guest trainees from Grayson County (who have no certified trainers in their home area) participated in an all-day classroom session and stream orientation at the Jack O’Lantern Creek. Thank you to our five volunteer instructors and all the trainees (pictured above).

SOS will again partner with Western Virginia Water Authority (WVWA) to support sixth grade science teacher, Callie Angle, at Benjamin Franklin Middle School during Creek Week on April 24th and 25th. SOS will provide six certified members to cover Creek Week activities focusing on biological testing and macroinvertebrate testing in the stream while WVWA focuses on water quality. This fantastic program introduces students to stream and water quality.

SMLA Website Updated with Water Quality Monitoring Gauges

Work to redesign our website continues with the addition of water quality monitoring gauges. There are three benchmarks against which we compare the results of our water quality monitoring program. The benchmarks provide us with some context to which we can compare the current measurements of Secchi Depth, Chlorophyll-a concentration, and Phosphorous concentration. For a complete view of the gauges including the data they represent, visit our homepage.

Demonstration Buffer Garden

SMLA, Mariner’s Landing and Appalachian Power Company (APCO) have joined hands to create a demonstration Buffer Garden on the 5th hole at Mariner’s golf course. Shown here is the condition of the 5th hole and, in contrast, an existing buffer garden design that better protects the lake. For more information about this initiative click here.

Water Safety Council (WSC)

Minutes from the recent WSC meeting reported
The Power Squadron continues to give Boat America courses and on deck education for boat owners on their boats.
The new home for The Marine Fire and Rescue Department is nearly completed.
Laker Weekly has been discontinued and the WSC wishes to thank Jason Dunovant for all his work in helping us keep SML safe.
For a list of Virginia Boating Safety Education Classroom Courses at SML, visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website.

Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP)

SMLA and Ferrum College have monitored the water quality of SML for 35+ years. Each summer, SMLA volunteers join Ferrum College faculty and students to monitor the lake water for nutrients, bacteria, and algal blooms. Stakeholders and local health departments use collected data to inform the community of any concerns.

Join the experts on March 15th at 4:00 pm for a free webinar to learn about the results of last year’s water monitoring program and plans for the 2023 season. Watch the replay for the webinar by clicking here.

Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake (TPISML)

Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake, SML’s annual cleanup initiative, will return to a hybrid model in 2023 with structured events planned on May 6, May 13 and May 20 at various marinas around the lake. In addition, neighborhood groups, businesses, families, civic organizations and others may participate in any of the organized events or plan their own Take Pride cleanup for any date in May. For more information, visit the TPISML website.

Earth Day at Bethlehem Church, April 22, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

SMLA has registered to attend Earth Day at Bethlehem Church and will have a booth featuring our SOS and Buffer Garden groups. This event is sponsored by Bethlehem Church, Trinity Ecumenical Parish and Resurrection Catholic Church. The event is intended to increase community awareness of environmental issues, showcase eco-friendly products, provide hands-on learning opportunities, and discuss general caring for the earth.

Volunteers Needed

National publications have recognized SML as a great place to live, vacation and invest. Everyone is talking about the lake’s pristine beauty and safe recreation. Volunteers are needed to help keep SML clean and safe. SMLA is currently recruiting for:

  • Education Committee Chairperson
  • Grant Management Coordinator
  • Membership Committee
  • Volunteer Coordinator

To become a volunteer, please contact the or call 540-719-0690. To learn about all our volunteer opportunities, please click here.

Report Archives:

  • The new year has arrived and I look forward to sharing SMLA’s direction, news, and events with you. We begin this edition of AHOY by reminding you of our 2023 priorities, goals, and future looking outcomes. Our success for the calendar year will be determined by staying the course and fortifying the strength of the SMLA organization. I would also like to highlight our 2023 communication schedule. Please refer to this 1st edition of the 2023 AHOY as often as I will to evaluate our performance. Future editions of AHOY will focus on our programs, activities and accomplishments. 2023 Priorities......

  • SMLA Online Smith Mountain Lake Association’s Website Improvements The 1st phase of our efforts to improve our website has been completed. The following is a portion of what you will see when going to our webpage at: Please take some time to have a look on our website. Phases 2-3 of our online improvement efforts will focus on enhanced membership experience for families and business partners, a new database, email tools, and water quality dashboards.   SMLA Membership Update During our November SMLA Board of Directors meeting our membership committee reported that SMLA has reversed the trend of declining......

  • SMLA Annual Volunteer Appreciation Smith Mountain Lake Association’s Volunteer Appreciation Day Oktoberfest Celebration SMLA Volunteers were honored at our Oktoberfest Celebration, chaired and prepared by Mike and Sara Streff, at the Boardwalk subdivision pavilion. Many thanks to Mike and Sara! SMLA 2022 volunteers were recognized by Bill Butterfield, SMLA’s President and were treated to a fantastic event of Oktoberfest food and drink. SMLA Membership Update The membership committee has been very active this fall. Here are a number of actions taken: 403 mailings to new Bedford County property owners 431 mailing to new Franklin County property owners Advertisement of the......

  • SMLA Annual Meeting   The SMLA annual membership meeting took place on 29 September 2022 at trinity Ecumenical Parish. I want to thank all of you who were able to attend, we had more than 130 attendees, our annual meeting. It was certainly a pleasure to be able to meet in person and get to know you better. As I said at the meeting, you are the lifeblood of SMLA and without you there is no SMLA.   Table top displays opened at 5:30 pm and it was a pleasure to see how well they were attended. SMLA Panel Discussion:......

  • SMLA Business Partners Please join me in thanking Deb Beran Properties, Phil Hager Insurance, and ML Realty for upgrading their Business Partner membership to our highest level, Defender of the Lake. Protecting SML is an investment in our community and economy. We greatly appreciate the support from all our business partners to keep SML clean and safe. SMLA Strategic Planning Update from Strategic Planning Committee On Tuesday, August 16th, the SMLA BOD held its strategic planning meeting at the Bedford/Western VA Water Authority conference room. The meeting focused on the future of SMLA. We must prepare now for a future......

  • SMLA Annual Meeting Planning for a Full Annual Meeting in September Planning for the SMLA Annual Membership Meeting has been completed.  We will hold our meeting at Trinity Ecumenical Parish, 40 Lakemount Dr., Moneta on September 29th with doors opening at 5:30pm for table top displays and walk-a-round food.  The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm and is scheduled for 90 minutes.  We will have a ‘big” picture SMLA update and a panel made up of: Water Quality Monitoring Buffer Landscaping Water Safety Council Invasive Species Short presentations followed by a Q&A session will be the format. During the table......

  • Happy Independence Day SML Fireworks  Hoping this issue of AHOY finds that you have enjoyed your 4th of July, Independence Day, holiday with your family and friends.  The weather has been hot and the water is warm both of which make us glad we have this beautiful, clean lake to enjoy.   On Saturday our family enjoyed the SML Fireworks and Fire Company Fundraiser benefiting Saunders Volunteer Fire Department at Parkway Marina.  The fireworks were terrific.  I also noticed that boater courtesy and adherence to the no wake zone was excellent.  Many thanks to our SMLA Water Safety Committee (WSC)......

  • 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:  The head of Becky’s Creek near Bayside Marina and Yacht Club Fairway Bay, off the Roanoke channel just downstream from Becky’s cove Forest Cove, opposite the Smith Mountain Dam Palmer’s trailer Park Cove, in Little Run Near......

  • Welcome to the May edition of SMLA AHOY!  April has come and gone with a lot of cold and windy weather.  The BOD has been busy in April.  Following are a few highlights of what’s been happening.  Please let me know how we are doing and any ideas you have as a member of the SMLA. If you recall, one of our key opportunities in 2022 is to increase SMLA membership. Membership and charitable donations support the good work of SMLA so this is an important initiative. Our first tactic supporting this was to send a SMLA mailing to all......

  • Welcome to the April edition of SMLA AHOY! March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion with some pretty windy and cold weather. This month’s SMLA AHOY is focused on keeping you informed about the accomplishments and ongoing initiatives of your SMLA colleagues in support of keeping our lake clean and healthy. Please remember that I am interested in your feedback so let me know what’s on your mind regarding what you like about what we do as well as ways we can improve SMLA. The BOD has been busy in March. Following are a few......