By Rick Hoyle and Rick Nehrboss – January 2024
In June, 2023, the Lake Anna Civic Association (LACA) sent out 1120 invitations to LACA membership to complete the 2023 LACA Survey. Thanks to the 573 members who replied to our recent membership survey! Twenty-three of the invitations never reached the intended member because of invalid or expired email addresses in our membership database.
This year we were up from the 504 responses received in the 2021 survey. The results were summarized and presented at the LACA Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, many of our members missed the meeting so we wanted to provide a summary of the results.
Eighty-six percent (86%) of the survey respondents have property or have visited the lake for more than 5 years, so are very familiar with Lake Anna. This suggests that LACA membership opinions on important concerns for the lake and the direction that LACA should be taking are well informed and are invested in the LACA mission to preserve and protect the cleanliness, beauty, and safe use of Lake Anna and its watershed.
LACA leadership apologizes for the length of the survey. Clearly it was too long for some members as the number of questions skipped by members grew as the survey progressed. The first 9 questions were only skipped by an average of 22 respondents. After that each question was skipped by at least 100 respondents with the average being around 150. LACA leadership is looking at options to have more frequent yet more focused, shorter surveys to increase participation of our membership.
The Board of Directors and the committee leaders are creating an Action Plan based upon the survey results. Each question has been assigned to a Committee Lead or a board member to review, analyze and summarize the results and recommend specific actions with a suggested implementation date.
The Board will review all the actions for approval and implementation and monitor progress at our monthly meetings. You can expect to hear from committee leads soon if not already in reaction to survey responses. Again, membership feedback is extremely valuable and we are determined to consider your suggestions! Thanks again to those who completed our survey!
The survey was organized mostly around LACA committees which lead the major LACA initiatives. In this issue, we focus on the responses to the questions related to Water Quality, which were the first 9 questions in the survey and clearly captured the most responses. In future newsletters, we will discuss the responses to questions in other areas.
When it comes to Water Quality, many of our respondents (66%) reported that algae/cyanobacteria/HABs have been an issue for the area they most frequently visit at Lake Anna. Fifty-two of our respondents are aware of people or pets that they suspect were made ill as a result of being in or around the water when a recreational advisory was in effect. Three quarters of respondents want to support the all-volunteer Water Quality committee and its activities. The Water Quality committee leadership has already reached out to these respondents. As only 4 respondents did not support the use of county tax dollars to support LACA’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, LACA will still lobby the counties surrounding the lake to continue or increase the current funding levels provided so far.
The Lake Anna Advisory Committee's efforts to control hydrilla is also strongly supported by the respondents (97%) with 92% supporting the use of Sterile carp, and 81% supporting the use of herbicides. The survey also indicated that most of the respondents (92%) supported LACA’s hiring a Richmond law firm specializing in Virginia legislative affairs for $50,000 to persuade the legislature to provide $1 Million for remediation and mitigation of HAB specifically on Lake Anna. At the time the survey was released, the results of LACA’s efforts were not known. In October, 2023, this $1 Million was approved and LACA has been working with the local county governments on how to best manage and apply the funding assigned to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Stay tuned to future newsletters where we will share the responses to questions regarding the Environmental Preservation, Emergency Services and other LACA committees.