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  • July 01, 2020 12:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Mike Rigdon - July 2020

    Much has been written over the last year or so about the appearance of blue-green algae in the waters of Lake Anna.  What it all boils down to in the eyes of this author is the presence of nutrients in the water that the algae feed on: specifically phosphorous and nitrogen.  The same stuff you put on your yard to make the green grass grow.  What other sources other than rain water runoff from your yard are there?  Failed/overloaded septic systems and agricultural operations round out the list.

    Of these two nutrients, one is more of a problem than the other.  Nitrogen is eventually converted to a gas by biological processes and is released into the atmosphere.  Phosphorous on the other hand is persistent.  Soluble phosphorous compounds are carried into the lake by flowing water along with nitrates and sediment.  Once in the lake, phosphorous feeds aquatic life, including algae, before it is released to settle on the lake bottom.  Thus, there are two sources of phosphorous available to feed algae: that which comes in constantly with flowing water and that resident in the lake bottom sediment.

    The focus of this article is on the phosphorous that arrives in Lake Anna via the tributaries that supply runoff water from the land at the upper reaches of the lake.  The Soil and Water Control Districts (SWCDs) have programs to do things like fence livestock out of the streams and plant vegetative buffers along the stream banks.  Such efforts are effective but they are voluntary.  Consequently not all land owners choose to participate and there are many miles of stream banks that are not in the SWCD program.  The establishment of wetlands is another mechanism to reduce the flow of nutrients that doesn’t rely on the cooperation of a host of landowners.

    Luck Stone Constructed Wetland in New Kent County, Virginia Soon After It was Established.

    A well designed wetland disperses the flow of incoming water over a large enough area to slow the flow rate and let entrained sediment settle out.  The plants and trees in the wetland then serve to take up the nitrogen and phosphorous as they grow thus keeping much of it from reaching the lake.

    With that in mind, LACA has submitted a request to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a Planning &Technical Assessment grant to study the feasibility of creating and/or restoring wetlands on the tributaries that bring water and nutrients to the upper end of Lake Anna.  Our proposal was submitted on April 27 and we should learn the results sometime in August if they aren’t delayed by Covid-19.  The end goal is to eventually have wetlands in places like those created by Luck Stone in New Kent County and pictured above and below. 

    The catch is it will take time measured in years and they will be expensive.  But once in place, they are low maintenance, effective and long lasting.

    Luck Stone New Kent County Constructed Wetland September, 2019. (Photographs courtesy of Mark Williams, Luck Companies)

  • July 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Allan Lassiter - July 2020

    First discussed at a Board of Supervisors meeting on May 18, the County is looking to acquire and upgrade the Lake Anna Environmental Services (LAES) waste treatment plant (WTP).  

    The plant currently serves Lake Anna Plaza commercial establishments and the 46 nearby townhomes and is located at the 90 degree turn near the end of Lake Front Drive.  “This presents an opportunity to ensure the water quality of Lake Anna”, Supervisor Duane Adams said.

    The facility began in 2002 to serve a campground on the property.  Enlarged to serve the growing area, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permits were re-issued in 2007 and 2012.  The 2012 permit has not been renewed (each lasts 5 years) since 2017 and is being administratively continued by DEQ.

    Interestingly, the 2012-2017 permit has a design capacity of 20,000 gallons per day (20k) but has another “flow tier” of 99,000 gallons per day (99k) if there is no increase in Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (Ph).  That is, if the limit for N was 25 mg/liter (as an example) at 20k, it couldn’t exceed 5 mg/liter up to the 99k limit. Similarly, Ph at 5mg/liter (example) at 20k could not exceed 1mg/liter up to 99k.  Those reductions would help stabilize the flow of these nutrients going into Lake Anna, especially important given our HAB issues.  In order to meet these requirements, the current lagoon system would have to be replaced with an advanced treatment system.  The cost could approach $5 million.

    One of the prime drivers for the County’s interest is the Lake Anna Resort (LAR) across Rt.208 from Lake Anna Plaza.  LAR is already approved for a huge mass drain field which could be eliminated with this action and the estimated 60k it would generate would be sent to the new plant.  LAR would have to pay a capital contribution before construction and the County wants a commitment from LAR that the project will move forward.  Over time, the facility could stimulate development along Route 208 which could call for an expansion of the plant.

    Officials also stressed that there could be an opportunity to safely re-use the output of the plant such that it would not all flow into Lake Anna.  At another Louisa facility, the Zion Crossroads WTP outflow is used to irrigate the Spring Creek Golf Course.  Irrigating Cutalong Golf Course with the LAES outflow could be a possibility.

    Recently, County Supervisor Duane Adams has held 2 Constituents Meetings to inform residents of the County’s plan for LAES.

    At the first meeting on June 13 at Windward Cove (close neighbors to the LAES system), County officials stressed:

    • tax revenue on LAR could approach $475,000 per year and help pay for the plant, which is estimated to cost $5million
    • residents, while wary of the whole system and possible increase in odor and flies, are pleased that pollutants won’t exceed the levels allowed at 20,000 GPD when going up to 99,000 GPD level
    • officials say that the financial contribution from LAR (amount not specified) would have to be in-hand before any construction begins
    • officials also think that Phase 1 of LAR and the completion of the plant may be achieved by 2023.

    At the second meeting held on June 20 at a nearby event venue, County officials stressed:

    • essentially the same ideas as above plus some new items
    • the adjacent townhome POA was planning to take over the WTP but paused its efforts once it heard of Louisa’s interest
    • those attending favored Louisa takeover even if LAR doesn’t materialize; operation by the Louisa County Water Authority would greatly improve operations and purchase price would be minimal
    • the upgraded plant would likely fit on the property currently owned by LAES
    • re-use of the effluent could be done initially or added later

    The Lake Anna Civic Association will be discussing this project at upcoming Board Meetings.  If you would like to express your opinion to the LACA Board please email:

  • July 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker - July 2020

    The Louisa County Board of Supervisors has approved $800,000 in the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year Budget and Capital Improvement Plan for construction of the New Bridge Rescue Station at the County-owned BarkPark location (1856 New Bridge Road) on Route 208 near Lake Anna.  The expressed understanding is that the first $100,000 as “seed money” would be raised from the local community before budget funds would be appropriated.

    How can you help now?

    Here are several ways to donate. Any amount is greatly appreciated and will bring us closer to making the New Bridge Rescue Station a reality.

    Send a check to:

    Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services
    P.O. Box 1021
    Louisa, VA 23093

    Via PayPal: (online via Web) (using the PayPal app)


    Why are you being asked to donate?

    In the past, construction of Fire and/or Rescue EMS stations was funded totally by the citizens of local communities via donations and fundraising events, rather than by Louisa County.  

    With this in mind, a non-profit foundation was established, the Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services, and a commitment made for $100,000 of the cost to be raised by citizens and businesses.

    This commitment helped to ensure the New Bridge Rescue Station inclusion in the budget.  Recently, County revenue is projected to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result, the New Bridge Rescue Station will be competing with other budgeted capital improvement projects for appropriations.  Now, achieving the donations goal will help to convince the Board of Supervisors to appropriate the funds as soon as revenues become available.  We want to stay at the top of the list by raising the $100,000 “seed money” as quickly as possible!

    A map of the proposed New Bridge Rescue Coverage Area

    Thank you for your support of the New Bridge Rescue Station! 

    Thank you so much for your continued support in making this EMS facility a reality!

    Please keep safe and stay well!

    Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services
    FaceBook: Residents for 24/7 EMS @ LKA
    Web Site:

  • June 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Irene Luck - June 2020

    Nothing signals summer like the sound of fireworks exploding in the dark, whether it’s small bursts in your backyard or spectacular pyrotechnics such as the Lake Anna Civic Association’s annual fireworks shoot.

    The 23rd edition of the Lake Anna Fireworks Show is scheduled for Saturday, July 4 beginning at dusk, approximately 9:15 p.m., with a rain date of the following Saturday.

    Funded entirely by donations from the community and businesses around the lake, the annual Independence Day celebration draws oohs and aahs from the assembled boats and spectators who have gathered around Dike 2 to enjoy the approximately 30-minute show.

    While there is limited visibility and no public access from the land to watch the show, hundreds of boats begin to congregate on both sides of the dike well before dark, socializing with old friends and making new ones as they prepare to celebrate the July 4th holiday.

    The LACA fireworks committee, led by Mike May and shoot coordinator Ken Sadel, along with a core group of volunteers starts preparing for the event about 12 hours earlier on Saturday morning setting up the tubes into which the pyrotechnics are loaded along the dike and then assisting the shooter with loading the fireworks and attaching the firing apparatus.

    Should inclement weather be a factor, the committee needs to decide by noon whether to move forward are push the shoot to the next weekend because it takes several hours to load all the explosives and once they are loaded they must be shot.  

    Mother Nature has smiled on the event over the years and, despite a few drizzly evenings and a passing thunderstorm or two causing a short delay in the start, the show has gone on.

    Zambelli International has provided the fireworks for the show each year and spectators have claimed it to be comparable to shoots in Washington, D.C. and other larger locations.

    Guidelines for viewing the shoot are included in the solicitation letters mailed to property owners and businesses around the lake.  Boaters should stay at least 300 feet from the dike to prevent injury or damage from falling embers.  Remember to use proper lights on the boat when anchored.  When returning home after the shoot, use running lights and be cautious about fellow boaters heading home as well.  The lake does get crowded as boats head back uplake and the wakes can be quite large with all the boats leaving at one time.  If you are not in a hurry to get home, enjoy the evening and let some of the traffic disperse before starting back to your dock.

    Since the shoot is funded entirely through donations and no LACA money is used, the committee estimates that $30,000 is needed to put on the shoot.  Donations can be mailed to LACA Fireworks, P.O. Box 217, Mineral, VA 23117 or made online here.

  • June 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Harry Looney - June 2020

    The COVID-19 response and restrictions placed on gatherings resulted in the cancellation of our regular April water monitoring session.  Our next scheduled date for sampling has been set for June 23rd when we will be monitoring both lake and stream stations.  We selected the 23rd to ensure that we would be monitoring after the start of Virginia's Phase Two COVID-19 restrictions.   To reduce risk we developed a detailed set of guidelines for safety and preparedness to ensure everything we do is in accordance with the Governor's Phase 2 restrictions.  Our training and Quality Assurance session on June 22nd will be conducted outdoors with a minimum number of people and we are limiting the number of people that go out on the boats on the 23rd to do the monitoring.  We are pleased that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be able to resume monitoring activities using watercraft so they will be joining us on the lake on the 23rd.   DEQ has been able to conduct stream monitoring since early May but they had not been authorized to conduct boat monitoring during Phase 1 of the COVID-19 restrictions.  We will post results of the June monitoring activities on the LACA website as soon as the data are available.

    While we have not yet been able to go out and sample in large groups due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we were able to initiate our new algae and toxin monitoring project in May.  This project specifically focuses on collecting data on the levels of cyanobacteria found in the lake on both the public and private sides.  Cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, are naturally found in bodies of freshwater and they can produce and release toxins that are harmful to human health in high levels of concentration.  Water chemistry, temperature and other factors can allow these cyanobacteria to rapidly reproduce and grow.  When this happens a Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) can occur and the possibility of high toxin levels is significantly increased.  DEQ regularly tests for algae and toxin levels and advisories are issued by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) when algal cell counts and toxin levels exceed certain levels.  LACA added algae and toxin analysis to our Water Quality Monitoring Program in 2020 and we purchased two instruments that allow us to quickly analyze water samples for chlorophyll and phycocyanin, two pigments found in plants and cyanobacteria.  Chlorophyll is a pigment found in all plants and cyanobacteria that use photosynthesis to produce sugars for food.  Phycocyanin is a pigment found only in cyanobacteria.  One of our instruments, the CyanoFluor device made by Turner Designs, measures the levels of chlorophyll and phycocyanin in the samples.  This data gives us an indication of cyanobacteria levels in the water.  The second instrument, the MQ 2.0 made by MBio Diagnostics, allows us to analyze water samples to determine the levels of two toxins produced by cyanobacteria.  We have been out on the lake in May and June taking samples and our analysis indicates low to moderate levels of cyanobacteria are present in the lake at this time, as we would expect for the early part of the recreation season.  We will continue to monitor our sampling stations throughout the year to ensure we are getting a good amount of data from all parts of the lake during the entire recreation season.  We report our results of testing activities on the LACA website under the Water Quality (WQ) Data page.  This project is being conducted in partnership with the Schmale Lab, part of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech.  Dr. David Schmale is the guest speaker at this year’s LACA Annual Meeting so plan to attend to hear what Virginia Tech and LACA are doing about this critical issue.

    In other news, the Water Quality Committee submitted a research proposal to Randolph Macon College for academic year 2020-2021.  This research will focus on soil and sediment analysis in the upper regions of the lake.  Our initial focus will be on Pamunkey Creek and Terry’s Run with student teams potentially starting sampling activities in the October 2020 timeframe. We will report our ongoing activities and findings on the LACA website throughout this research project.

    Each of the projects executed by the Water Quality Committee are executed by our LACA volunteers.  Thank you to everyone who participates!  If you are interested in joining the water quality team of volunteers, send an email to

  • June 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker - June 2020

    I would like to welcome LACA technologically to the 21st Century! While it has been over a year in the making and many, many hours of research, we are proud to announce your new LACA website. Your board has worked very diligently to bring interesting and useful content and it has been a labor of love. The LACA volunteer board and especially our program committee chairs have made meaningful contributions and I hope that you will find the new website a valuable resource. In addition to the new look and feel, we will be able to update it more frequently and easily with our water quality testing results, safety issues, updates on activities around the lake and updates on real estate developments. You will also be able to manage your membership, make changes if you get a new email address or move and need to change your mailing address. You will also be able to renew your membership and add a family member to your account. (Each LACA membership allows for two household members which will receive our monthly newsletter and timely E-Grams.) I would like to especially thank Irene Luck, our membership director for her efforts in bringing the website rollout to fruition.

    This also is the inaugural electronic newsletter which we hope to publish monthly. Our traditional quarterly newsletter has served its purpose and I am a bit sad to see it go. However, it had flaws. By the time we gathered articles from our board, had our newsletter editor, J.D. Edwards lay it out, get the final draft to our printer and then out in the mail, weeks would pass. At times our articles would be dated by the time the newsletter arrived in the post. This electronic version will allow for J.D. to deliver to you more meaningful and timely content. 

    The paper newsletter also represented a significant cost to LACA. Close to 80% of our membership in our most recent survey said they would either prefer to have the newsletter electronically or had no preference. This mandate to move to electronic delivery, allows LACA to redirect these funds to our programs. If you are among the 20% that prefer the paper version of the newsletter, please give this format a chance, I think and hope it will grow on you.

    I will shortly be sending out E-Grams about our upcoming election and annual meeting on July 25th at 9:00 AM at the North Anna Nuclear Visitor Center.  We have Dr. David Schmale, Professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech that has agreed to be our guest speaker and will address Harmful Algae Blooms. The meeting is open to our membership. We will communicate on both the new website and by E-Gram if we have to postpone due to the coronavirus. 

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