Newsletter articles

  • August 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker – August 2021

    Lake Anna Civic Association hosted our 2021 annual meeting on July 31, 2021 at Dominion Energy’s North Anna Nuclear Information Center. We had approximately 80 members attend in person and another 30 plus attend virtually via Zoom. For those of you that missed the event, you may watch a recording of the meeting on the LACA YouTube channel by clicking here.

    The meeting kicked off with the announcement of the winners of the most recent board elections. John Crowe won an uncontested race for Regional Director in the Partlow District and David Silverman won a tight race for Regional Director in the Belmont District.

    Our guest speaker, Dr. David Schmale made a terrific presentation regarding Harmful Algae Blooms. Dr. Schmale is the head of the Schmale Laboratory at Virginia Tech and world-renowned expert on Harmful Algae Blooms. I would highly encourage you to watch this portion of the recorded meeting above. His presentation begins at approximately the 8:00 minute mark.

    Guest Speaker-Dr. Schmale

    Some of the highlights of Dr. Schmale’s presentation:

    •        Highlights of Dr. Schmale’s recent research trip to New Zealand.
    •        Explanation of Harmful Algae Blooms/Algae Toxins and their  impacts.

    •        New Tools/Robots used to study HABs.
    •        Research on lakes in Ohio on Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys
    •        How LACA contacted and asked Dr. Schmale to devote resources to the HAB problem that we are experiencing on Lake Anna.
    •        Photos and Videos of HAB testing on Lake Anna.
    •        Citizen Testing supplies announcement.
    •        Toxins impacts to various parts of the body.

    •        Comparisons of Lake Anna Toxins to Lake Erie or Grand Lake St. Mary. “Not all lakes are created equal”
    •        Lake Anna has high Phosphorus and low Nitrogen.
    •        Q&A

    Dr. Schmale’s presentation was fascinating and worth taking the time to watch. The biggest take away was that Lake Anna while in the recent past has been under no-swim advisories, our lake has very low measurable toxins. The biggest risk is that if we do not address these issues, that the lake could turn into something much worse like the lakes in Ohio that Dr. Schmale has studied.

    After the guest speaker, the members approved the 2020 annual meeting minutes prepared by Sue Biondi and our Treasurer, Al Bennett presented our Financial Report. Our Vice-president, Joe Bailey presented to the membership changes that the board has made to the LACA By-laws.

    Regional Director Rick Nehrboss highlighted the findings from our most recent biennial survey. Rick will be writing a more thorough article on the survey findings for a future newsletter, but in advance of that article, you may see his PowerPoint presentation here.

    Each of our committee chairs made a report on the activities of their committees over the past fiscal year. I encourage you to watch this section of the annual meeting starting at the 1 hour and 32-minute mark of the recording to hear about all of the activities of our dedicated volunteers. It is a remarkable number of accomplishments over the past year.

    Irene Luck, our chair of our Membership and Marketing committee updated the membership on our Drive to 1000 membership campaign. She then presented the Jack Bertron Award to Elk Creek Farm. The owners of the Elk Creek farm have put in over 6 miles of fencing to keep their cattle out of the Lake Anna watershed and are a fine example of how farmers can make a significant impact to the water quality of not only Lake Anna but the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. You can read about their efforts in a recent Central Virginian article here.

    The annual meeting ended with a member forum where our members were able to ask questions of our board and guest speaker. I would encourage you to mark your calendars for next year’s annual meeting. It is tentatively scheduled for July 30, 2022.

    Greg Baker  greg.baker@lakeannavirginia.org


  • August 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Marilyn J. Greene – August 2021

    Lake Anna residents share the beauty of our area with boaters, campers, diners, wakeboarders, skiers and sportsmen.  But our cohabitants also include creatures of the natural world; namely fish, mammals and reptiles, including snakes.

    Among Virginia’s 32 native snakes, three are venomous: rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads.

    The Eastern Copperhead -- Agkistrodon contortrix – is the least venomous and among the most numerous. It is identifiable by its pinkish or coppery color and by an hourglass-shaped pattern on the skin.  According to the Virginia Herpetological Society, the scientific name derives from the Greek word ancistron (fishhook) in reference to its curved fangs; and from the Latin word contours (twisted), referring to the skin pattern.


    Warm weather draws out our snake population.  Peak copperhead season runs roughly from May to October.

    Generally, even venomous snakes avoid contact with people, but may respond by attacking if disturbed.  If you come upon a copperhead, leave it.  “Do not try to dispatch it yourself … it is illegal in the State of Virginia to kill a snake,” says Rich Perry, owner of Virginia Wildlife Management and Control in Chesterfield.

    If you are bitten, Perry says, “you are not going to die. Bites are painful but not fatal; but go to a doctor.”

    Avoid encounters by steering clear of copperhead hangouts:  tall grass, lakeshore rock walls, damp and brushy areas.

    Copperheads might be scary, but they have a legitimate place in the cycle of nature and lake life: According to the Herpetological Society “Copperheads play a pivotal role in controlling rodent populations.  Without copperheads and other rodent eating snakes there would be a drastic increase in crop/food damage and rodent-spread diseases.  

    While copperheads are venomous, they are very placid snakes that only bite if stepped on or otherwise threatened.  If you see a copperhead, leave it alone and rest assured it will do its best to avoid you.”

    Experts note that while snake sightings might seem dramatic, they are not unusual and are no reason for panic or fear of a copperhead population explosion.

    “Copperheads are found statewide, but there is no indication their numbers are increasing,” says State Herpetologist John Kleopfer.  “I get this question multiple times a year and its pretty much folklore.  Much like sharks, any time a copperhead is sighted the response is that the area is infested”.  

    As such, many harmless snakes are unnecessarily killed because they are misidentified as copperheads.

    If your pet is bitten by a copperhead

    Pets, especially dogs, are curious about movements in the grass or brush and can get into trouble if they pursue a venomous snake.

    If you and your dog are out walking, keep him on a cleared path and out of brushy areas.  At home, keep grass mowed and keep brush and woodpiles down in your pet’s roaming range.  If despite precautions he happens to be bitten, take immediate action.

    Be prepared in advance for such a situation by taking note of the nearest emergency pet clinic and confirming that it has anti-venom medication on hand.  The first thing to do if your dog is bitten is to call that emergency vet – and stay calm.

    Your agitation is contagious and can make matters worse for Fido.  Anxiety and stress can increase his blood flow and thus speed distribution of the venom.

    Carry the dog to the car rather than have him walk – another way to slow blood and poison circulation.

    Look for symptoms, including lethargy, drooling, swelling and inflammation at the site.

    Diphenhydramine (Benedryl), an antihistamine, can help reduce symptoms but is not a treatment for the venom nor a substitute for a vet visit.  According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the safe dosage is 2-4 milligrams of Benedryl per kilogram of weight, or 0.9 to 1.8 milligrams per pound.

    Emergency veterinary services:

    Lake Anna Veterinary Hospital

    Phone: (540) 894-4572
    11012 Kentucky Springs Road,
    Mineral, VA 23117
    Mon/Thur 7:30am-7:30pm
    Tues/Wed/Fri 7:30am-6:00pm
    Sat 8:30am-12:30pm | Sunday: Closed

    Outside of regular office hours, call one of the following 24-hour veterinary clinics:

    Richmond
    Blue Pearl Pet Hospital
    5918 West Broad Street
    Richmond Virginia 23230
    804-716-4700 (For Emergencies)
    www.dvesc.com

    Veterinary Referral and Critical Care
    1596 Hockett Road
    Manakin-Sabot, Virginia 23103
    804-784-8722
    www.vrccvet.com

    Fredericksburg
    Central Animal and Referral Emergency Hospital
    1301 Central Park Boulevard
    Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401
    540-372-3470  
    https://virginiaveterinarycenters.com/

    Charlottesville
    Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital
    370 Greenbrier Dr., Suite A-2
    Charlottesville, VA 22901
    434-202-1616
    www.greenbrier-emergency.com

    Additional Resources:

    èHow to identify a baby copperhead:

    https://happyserpent.com/snake-information/how-to-identify-a-baby-copperhead-snake/#more-2927

    èWhat to do if your dog is bitten by a copperhead:

    https://www.fitbark.com/blog/what-to-do-if-your-dog-is-bitten-by-a-copperhead-snake/

    è Information about snakes in Virginia (thanks to John (J.D.) Kleopfer, State Herpetologist, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources)

    http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/venomous-look-a-likes/copperhead-look-a-likes/copperhead.html

    https://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/reptiles/snakes/copperhead/copperhead.php

    https://www.wildlifecenter.org/snakes-neighbors

    Marilyn J. Greene    MGLadybug@yahoo.com




  • August 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Irene Luck – August 2021

    Celebrating the Fourth of July holiday this year was about more than just our independence from England, it was about reemerging from over a year of isolation and restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


    The Lake Anna Civic Association’s fireworks show on Saturday, July 3 brought out more spectators than in the past few years as more boats gathered around the viewing area on both sides of Dike II according to reports from those patrolling the area.

    It was also one of the best years financially as contributions exceeded our $30,000 goal by nearly 23%.  Over 550 donations from individuals, property owner associations, and businesses were received with nearly 200 of them at the $100 or above level giving the fund a total of $36,815 in contributions.

    The annual fireworks show is funded entirely with contributions from the community and relies on the current year’s donations to pay for the next year’s show.  The 2021 donations will determine the scope of the shoot for 2022 as the payments for the pyrotechnics are due prior to soliciting funds each year.

    Mike May and Craig DiSesa chair the fireworks committee and have a cadre of committed volunteers who assist in staging the show.  But, unlike an individual homeowner who purchases fireworks and then shoots them off for family and friends, there is an extensive amount of planning and coordinating that goes into the LACA shoot.

    May and DiSesa meet with Louisa County law enforcement and fire and EMS officials and Dominion Energy representatives to establish a safety plan and determine who will be on stand-by on Dike II in case of an emergency.  They must also receive approval from Dominion Energy to use the Dike as the base of operations.  The pair also coordinate with Zambelli International on the show itself – the types and sizes of fireworks, the number and size of canisters necessary to hold the pyrotechnics and other details.  May also arranges for the solicitation letters to be prepared and mailed each year.

    But the real work begins early on the day of the shoot.  Because of the number of canisters that need to be prepared, a determination must be made by noon on whether the show will go on.  The committee looks at the weather conditions and decides if the show can be staged.  In LACA’s nearly 30 years of hosting the fireworks show, it has only been postponed until the next Saturday one year.  A couple of years the show was late starting because of thunderstorms, but it did go off.

    Once the decision is made, a group of volunteers led by Ken Sadel begin the long, hot process of arranging the canisters for the shoot and then pack each individual one with the materials necessary for the desired effect.  Each canister is also wired for ignition in the order of the shoot – kind of like setting up dominoes so they fall in the pattern you want.  After all the tubes are arranged and filled, the team waits on the Dike until dark for showtime.  And, at the end, they must pick up all the debris, retrieve the canisters which are used from year to year and make sure all sparks are out before they can then head home for some rest.

    So, next year, when you are sitting on your boat, or dock if you are close enough, enjoying the beautiful display remember those who have contributed to fund the show and those who have graciously volunteered to give up their holiday Saturday to bring you this spectacular event.

    Each year’s show is staged on the Saturday closest to the holiday so next year’s shoot is tentatively planned for Saturday, July 2, 2022.  Contributions may be made at any time on our website at www.lakeannavirginia.org and donors are listed each year under the fireworks tab as a thank you for your support.


    Irene Luck  irene.luck@lakeannavirginia.org


  • July 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Maureen Daniels – July 2021

    The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) would like boaters to know that there are new engine cutoff device wear requirements for recreational boat operators as part of the January 1, 2021 passage of National Defense Authorization Act that included a U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization. These devices, commonly referred to as engine cutoff switches (ECOS), are designed to prevent a boat-strike injury if an operator is accidentally ejected overboard while underway.

    The new law applies to all federally navigable waterways (those waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide and/or are presently used, or have been used in the past, or may be susceptible for use to transport interstate or foreign commerce) and will be enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard.

    Engine cutoff devices can be located at the helm of the boat or on the tiller or body of an outboard engine and typically connect a boat’s operator to the cutoff switch with a lanyard. Some ECOS devices eliminate the lanyard and rely on wireless proximity devices to shut down an engine if the operator goes overboard. 

    Effective April 1, 2021, the new law requires a vessel operator to use either a helm or outboard lanyard or wireless ECOS on certain vessels less than 26 feet when traveling on plane or above displacement speed. These vessels include (1) boats that have a functioning engine cutoff device installed at the helm or on an outboard engine or have wireless ECOS, or (2) boats manufactured beginning January 2020.

    Boaters are encouraged to check the U.S. Coast Guard website at https://uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/engine-cut-off-switch-faq.php for additional information on this new use requirement and other safety regulations and recommendations.

    ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

    Maureen Daniels  

    mo.daniels@lakeannavirginia.org


  • July 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Harry Looney – July 2021

    Did you know that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) sponsors a Swim Healthy, Stay Healthy campaign every recreational season?  As part of this program, VDH provides web-based resources covering a wide range of summer recreational activities.  You can find these resources here:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/blog/2018/06/01/swim-healthy-stay-healthy/.  These web pages are loaded with information about beach monitoring conducted by state agencies, safe swimming, recreational water illnesses and harmful algae blooms (HABs). 

    There are also many fact sheets on health-related issues and diseases.  The VDH fact sheet on HABs is provided at the end of this newsletter for informational purposes.  Please use this web link to get to the VDH fact sheet listing:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/.

    HABs are of primary interest to LACA and many Lake Anna residents because it impacts them directly.  VDH issued a swim advisory on June 30th for the entire upper Pamunkey Creek area due to the highest cyanobacteria cell counts LACA has seen since 2018.  The VDH web page for reporting a HAB is something you should keep handy if you live in an area that is prone to algae issues.  The VDH web page for reporting a HAB is at this link:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/waterborne-hazards-control/harmful-algal-bloom-online-report-form/

    VDH also maintains an online algal bloom surveillance map for the entire state.  The VDH webpage is at this link:  https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/waterborne-hazards-control/algal-bloom-surveillance-map/.

    LACA is closely monitoring conditions in the upper Pamunkey Creek area and we are dedicating many resources to the entire upper lake area north of the 208 bridge but we need your help in this monitoring campaign.  If you see an algae bloom, please notify the LACA Water Quality team by e-mailing Harry Looney at harry.looney@lakeannavirginia.org.  Please provide your address, date, and time you saw the bloom, and let me know if it is okay to come on your property to gather water samples.  A picture of the bloom is always helpful. 

    In addition to notifying LACA, we ask that you also submit a report to VDH using the web link provided above.  The VDH form asks for information about where the algae is located and it really helps if you can provide the latitude and longitude of the location and a photo of the scum or algae bloom.  Provide a perspective image so VDH has a good feel for the extent of the scum on the surface.  A good example image that will help both VDH and LACA in our assessments is this image from a bloom on Pamunkey Creek.  You can obtain the latitude and longitude of the location using Google maps on your PC or laptop or LACA can provide the latitude and longitude if you let us know that you need our help doing that.  We will get the coordinates based on your street address and a description of where you saw the scum on the surface.

    Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Fact Sheet October 2018

    What are harmful algal blooms?

    Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are caused by cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) which may or may not produce toxins. Cyanobacteria are common single-celled organisms that naturally exist in fresh waters, such as lakes and ponds, or slightly saline waters such as tidal rivers and estuaries (brackish water). The cyanobacteria utilize sunlight and nutrients from the water to grow and multiply. When there are too many nutrients in the water, the bacteria can grow rapidly or “bloom”. Blooms may turn the water a green, red, or brownish color. Blooms may also form a visible scum on the water surface, similar to the look of spilled paint. Blooms are more likely to occur in hot summer months.

    What effects do harmful algal blooms have on humans?

    Most cyanobacteria species are not able to produce toxin. Some species can produce one or more types of toxins such as neurotoxins (nerve toxins) or hepatotoxins (liver toxins) during blooms which may be harmful to humans or aquatic life. People may become exposed to cyanobacteria toxins in three ways: swallowing bloom water, direct skin contact, and breathing aerosolized toxins that are in the air.

    What are the symptoms of harmful algal bloom exposures?

    If water containing cyanobacteria toxin is swallowed, common gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may occur. If there is direct contact with cyanobacteria toxin, skin and eye irritation may result, along with tingling or numbness of the lips, fingers and toes, and dizziness. Respiratory irritation may include coughing or wheezing. Long-term exposure to cyanobacteria toxins may result in liver damage or other chronic health effects.

    How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

    Symptoms of a neurotoxin HAB exposure may appear within 15-20 minutes while symptoms of a hepatotoxin HAB exposure may take hours or several days to appear. Telling your health care practitioner about contact with water may help him/her treat the illness properly.

    What effects do harmful algal blooms have on animals and fish?

    Mammals and birds exposed to cyanobacteria toxins may become ill or die. As other bacteria in the water break-down dead cyanobacteria, the dissolved oxygen in the water may become depleted, which may cause a fish kill. Cyanobacteria bloom toxins at high concentrations can be directly harmful to fish and may cause fish kills as well. Dense bacterial blooms in the water column will block out sunlight necessary to other organisms to survive. Wildlife, pets, and livestock are also prone to exposure by wading and drinking bloom water. A small amount of toxin can cause illness to small animals if ingested.

    Is it safe to eat seafood from waters with cyanobacteria blooms?

    Internal organs (innards) of fish and crabs caught in bloom waters may be contaminated and, therefore, should not be consumed. It is safe to consume fish filets that appear healthy when caught in bloom waters, providing you carefully clean the fish, discarding all guts and the carcass, thoroughly cook the fish fillet, and wash hands and surfaces with fresh, soapy water afterward. In waters with persistent, reoccurring blooms where toxin levels are high, consumption may not be advised.

    How do I protect myself from the effects of harmful algal blooms?

    • Observe signage indicating a harmful algal bloom is present and avoid contact with the water when instructed.
    • Do not swim, wade, or waterski in water that has unusual color or where a cyanobacteria bloom has been identified.
    • If direct contact with skin occurs with water containing cyanobacteria, wash off with fresh water. In some cases, skin irritation will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider or your local health department.
    • Never drink untreated water. Boiling water taken from a waterbody with a cyanobacteria bloom will not destroy toxins.
    • Do not let children, pets, or livestock wade, swim, or drink affected waters. If exposed, wash skin and fur thoroughly with fresh water.
    • People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with cyanobacteria blooms.
    • Do not eat internal organs or use the carcass for stock of fish caught in HAB waters. If you have cleaned fish fillets caught from affected waters, thoroughly wash any of your skin that has come into contact with the fish, in addition to surfaces during cleaning and preparation. Use rubber gloves if contact with affected waters must be made.

    What is Virginia doing about harmful algal blooms?

    Several state agencies and municipal governments work together to regularly monitor the water and shellfish growing areas for the presence of cyanobacteria and their toxins, and to conduct surveillance for human health effects. This group is known as the Virginia Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force. The public will be notified if a cyanobacteria bloom that could affect human health is identified. The Algal Bloom map is regularly updated to reflect the status of waterways experiencing a bloom.

    How does someone report an algal bloom?

    If you are concerned that you have been exposed to a harmful algal bloom, please see your health care provider or call your local health department. Telling your doctor about contact with water may help him/her treat the illness properly. You may also report the exposure on the Harmful Algal Bloom Hotline (888-238-6154). Report algal blooms and fish kills online at http://www.swimhealthyva.com/.

    How can I learn more about harmful algal blooms?

    Harry Looney, LACA Water Quality Project Officer

    harry.looney@lakeannavirginia.org


  • July 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Harry Looney – July 2021

    As we reported in an October 2020 newsletter article, LACA established an academic partnership with the Environmental Studies Program at Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) to investigate the impact of nutrients loads in the lake sediment on the lake’s algae problem.  The project was executed over the entire academic year of 2020-2021 by two different Environmental Studies Program classes, one during the fall semester and the other during the spring semester.  COVID-19, as might be expected, severely impacted the fall semester.  R-MC’s COVID restrictions would not allow students to go out on boats with their instructor, so LACA and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) implemented a back-up plan and were able to collect samples in September and then again in early November.  The strong DEQ partnership with LACA on this project resulted in the allocation of two days of their manpower, boat, and laboratory resources as well as data from the extensive DEQ data base going back to the 1970s.

    The R-MC research program was focused on sediment collection in the main tributaries from the 208 bridge to the northern headwaters of the lake (North Anna River, Pamunkey Creek and Terry’s Run).  We included several creeks in the upper lake area as well (Plentiful Creek, Foremost Run and Ware’s Creek). 

    This was the first time DEQ had ever sampled Lake Anna sediment for nutrients.  There was a large sediment sampling effort back in the 2010-2012 timeframe, but those samples focused on contaminants such as PCBs and mercury. 

    The data from the September and November sampling campaigns were analyzed by students in the fall semester to quantify the levels of nitrogen, orthophosphates, and phosphorus in the sediment and in the water column at each sampling station.  Given the COVID-19 constraints, LACA was extremely pleased with the fall semester results and an initial data set of sediment nutrient values was obtained.  

    The spring semester research effort started in February and students were able to come to the lake in March and April for sediment and water sampling activities.  Laboratory parameters obtained during the fall and spring semester included phosphorous, orthophosphates and nitrogen in the lake sediment and in the water 1-meter from the bottom of the lake.  Field parameters such as pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen levels were also recorded at 1-meter intervals from the surface to the bottom at each sampling location. 

    While preliminary, the research conducted by R-MC provided LACA several insights on the issues confronting the upper lake regions due to algae.  The students combined data analysis of the sediment and water sample results with an in-depth look at land use using a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool.  The students had access to 1-meter resolution GIS land use data layers including residential, agricultural, forested, and commercial land use areas.  They also obtained data on septic systems approved in the Lake Anna area and biosolid permitted areas.  The student teams then conducted statistical analysis using these GIS data layers, the data collected during eth research project, and historical data sets provided by DEQ and LACA to identify correlations in the data.  Six student teams were formed to focus on nitrogen, phosphorous, orthophosphates, pH, chlorophyll, and the ratio of Total Nitrogen to Total Phosphorous, a factor that has been shown in many other research papers to be an indicator of where algal blooms are likely to form. 

    The significant correlations found during these team efforts provided several insights that require further analysis, but the data provides LACA with information we can use to initiate localized remediation efforts.  The primary correlations identified by the students were lawns, crops, wetlands and forested areas.  The data clearly showed, at a macro level, that areas where lawns and crops go down to the water’s edge correlate with higher levels of nutrients and areas with wetlands and forested areas tend to lower nutrient levels.  The research provides the data and academic rigor to back up LACA’s suspicions that these land use factors are impacting our water quality.  More surprising though was the finding that, at the macro level, septic systems and biosolids do not have strong correlations to areas where high nutrient loads exist in the sediment and water column.  This was one research effort and the data was reviewed at a very macro level using datasets that go back 20 or more years in some cases. 

    LACA intends to continue to review the data and to take a more micro look at the data sets for areas experiencing aggressive algal issues.  Sediment nutrient loading is one of the key knowledge gaps that LACA, LAAC and DEQ have identified with our understanding of the lake dynamics.  The R-MC academic research effort addressed this knowledge gap and the data LACA received will ensure our decisions about future remediation efforts, and the resources expended to address the algal issues, are based on science informed by relevant, current data.

    Results from the R-MC research project will be shared with the Lake Anna Advisory Committee (LAAC) that is executing a comprehensive study to determine the cause of our recent harmful algae blooms (HABs) and to inform course of action development into potential remediation actions that could be taken.  Phase one of the LAAC project focuses on the North Anna River from Holladay Bridge west to the upper reaches of the lake.  The objective of LAAC’s robust study is to determine the magnitude of phosphorus and nitrogen loading from external (from the streams) and internal (in the water column and sediment) sources.

    Dr. Mike Fenster and Dr. Chas Gowan lead the R-MC research program.  LACA nominated the R-MC professors for a York River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable Excellence in Environmental Education award and both were selected as 2021 awardees.  As part of the award, the Roundtable purchased a tree for each awardee and they were planted on the R-MC campus.  An article on the award and the Environmental Studies Program at R-MC can be found at this link:  https://www.rmc.edu/news-and-calendar/news-stories/2021/06/04/a-watershed-moment-for-r-mc-s-environmental-studies-professors

    Interested LACA members are welcome to volunteer in support of LACA’s Water Quality Improvement program.  Contact the Water Quality Project Officer at this link if you are interested in learning more or volunteering.

    Harry Looney, LACA Water Quality Project Officer

    harry.looney@lakeannavirginia.org



  • June 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker - June 2021

    Annual Meeting/Bundles/Volunteers/RV Park

    Annual Meeting

    The LACA board is happy to announce our annual meeting will be held in person on July 31st from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the North Anna Nuclear Information Center. (Dominion Energy has graciously agreed to host our meeting.) Please check our website’s home page for details. Due to space limitations, our annual meeting is only open to LACA members. Please arrive at 9:00 to have informal breakout sessions with our committee chairs and meet our board members. The official meeting will begin at 9:30.

    We are excited to announce that Professor David Schmale, the head of the Schmale Laboratory at Virginia Tech will be our guest speaker. Dr. Schmale and his team have been working with LACA over the past two years to study Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) and their causes at Lake Anna with the use of drones. Dr. Schmale was the first to develop an autonomous drone to sample microorganisms in the lower atmosphere and is a renowned expert in HAB.

    What is a BUNDLE and why should you care?

    Our website provider considers each of our members a “bundle” which allows for two people per household to be included on your LACA membership. The bundle administrator is the lead person on the membership and the only person in the household that has the right to vote in our elections. A bundle member is a second person in the household that can be added to your membership.

    Why is this important?

    Both bundle administrators and bundle members receive our monthly newsletter and our E-Grams with timely and important information from LACA. Most importantly, both members of your household can and should respond to our biennial survey which shapes the direction of our organization. We encourage you to add your spouse or significant other so their voice can also be heard. The survey will be distributed to both bundle administrators and bundle members in late June.

    Steps to add a bundle member to your household membership:

    1: Go to our website at www.lakeannavirginia.org and make sure you are logged in with your email and password.

    2: Once logged in to the LACA website, click on your name at the very top of the home page and you will be brought to your profile page.

    3: Just after the Membership details, under the section titled, Bundle Summary, click on Add a Member and follow the prompts. Only one additional household (bundle) member is allowed per membership.

    Please note that if you have your spouse or significant other’s email under your profile, please edit your profile and remove that email address to prevent duplicate communications from going to that address. If you would like to swap the bundle administrator and the bundle member for voting privileges, please email me at greg.baker@lakeanavirginia.org

    Volunteers Desperately Needed!

    Our long time Land Use Committee Chairman and Belmont Regional Director, Allan Lassiter and our Assistant Treasurer, Scott Webster are both sadly selling their lake homes and moving out of the area. This is a huge loss to your LACA board, their contributions to LACA have been immeasurable!

    In our normally scheduled election cycle, the following positions are up for election this July: President, Treasurer & Regional Directors for Belmont and Partlow voting districts within Spotsylvania County.

    Alan Bennett and I have agreed to run for reelection for the positions of President and Treasurer. However, we strongly encourage anyone interested in either of these positions to volunteer.

    The following positions are or will soon be vacant and we are desperately seeking volunteers to get involved with LACA and help preserve and protect the lake.

    Land Use Committee Chairman

    Assistant Treasurer

    Belmont Regional Director

    Partlow Regional Director

    If you are interested in learning more about the regional Director position, please click here

    If you are interested in learning more about the board, the time commitment, how the elections work or interested in volunteering in some other capacity than the positions above, please email me at greg.baker@lakeannavirginia.org

    Four Seasons RV Resort Poll Update

    LACA recently conducted a poll of our membership on the proposed Four Seasons RV resort on the Upper Pamunkey Creek. Part of LACA’s mandate in preserving and protecting Lake Anna is monitoring development around the lake. LACA will likely never “support” a development and rarely “opposes” a development unless it is considered especially egregious. (An exception might be a desperately needed urgent care center or a fire & rescue expansion at the lake like the one being proposed at New Bridge.)

    Our goal is to work with the developer, the planning commission and the board of supervisors in the early stages of a proposed development to help encourage positive changes. We have met with the Four Seasons developer twice and had several text/calls with them requesting improvements/alterations with their plans. They have made some concessions. For example, they have agreed to lower the number of docks from 300 to 49.

    LACA has heard more from our membership on the proposed Four Seasons development than any other development in recent memory. This along with the proposed location of a commercial endeavor on such an environmentally fragile section of the lake caused our board to poll our membership to determine the views of our membership and whether our membership thinks we should take a position on this particular development.

    The poll was conducted over 3 days, and we had an overwhelming response with close to 400 members expressing a view. We had numerous productive comments as well. Over 93% of or members opposed the development and over 91% of our members fell that we should officially oppose the development. The results are summarized below:

    LACA recently met with staff of the planning commission to express our concerns with the development and share some of our suggestions. If you would like to see the Power Point Presentation that was made on your behalf, there is a link to the presentation on our website here.

    greg.baker@lakeannavirginia.org


  • June 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Irene Luck – June 2021

    Do you know someone around Lake Anna who consistently works to keep the natural beauty we enjoy here preserved for future generations?  Is there someone who advocates for the lake consistently under the cover of anonymity or without lot of fanfare?  Consider nominating them for the 2021 Jack Bertron Distinguished Service Award.

    Each year, the LACA board solicits nominations for the Jack Bertron Distinguished Service Award which is presented at the annual meeting in July.  Nominations can come from board members or from the general membership.

    When the recognition was first given in 1996, a few years after the Lake Anna Civic Association was formed, it was called the “Good Neighbor Award” but in 2002 after the death of LACA’s founder Jack Bertron Sr. the honor was renamed to recognize him.

    Bertron saw a need to unite the lake community which covers three governmental jurisdictions to protect and preserve the beauty of the lake and to work towards common goals despite the different leaderships.

    Over the years the honor has been bestowed on numerous supporters and friends of Lake Anna, not just LACA members, and continues to recognize those who strive to keep Lake Anna a great place to live and recreate.  They include the Department of Conservation and Recreation, representatives of the Department of Environmental Quality and boards of supervisors’ members.

    Nominees may be individuals or organizations who have exhibited an outstanding effort on behalf of either LACA or the Lake Anna community in general.  Those activities should reflect the mission of LACA to preserve and protect the cleanliness, beauty and safe use of Lake Anna and its watershed through communication, advocacy, education, and community involvement.

    Nominees for the award will be accepted through June 30, 2021 and may be submitted to Greg Baker, president, at greg.baker@lakeannavirginia.org or Irene Luck, webmaster, at irene.luck@lakeannavirginia.org

    When submitting a nomination, please include a summary of the nominee’s activities on behalf of LACA or the lake and please include your contact information should we have further questions.

    A complete list of winners can be found on the LACA website here and more specific qualifications is also available here.

    This year’s honoree will be recognized with a plaque at the annual meeting currently scheduled for Saturday, July 31.  For more information or if you have questions, contact Irene Luck at irene.luck@lakeannavirginia.org


  • June 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Rick Nehrboss - June 2021

    Coming to your inbox soon!

    We are in the process of putting the final touches on the 2021 LACA Membership survey to send out to all members later this month. We cannot overemphasize how important your feedback from the survey will be to us and would love for you to take 18 minutes out of your busy lives to complete it!  If you have a family membership, you both can fill out a survey, and we understand that even family members may have differences in opinion!

    There are several reasons why LACA conducts our biennial survey. The first and probably most important reason is to inform our strategic planning process. The survey results help us see the bigger picture. The second reason is to guide LACA’s budget decisions concerning the allocation of scarce resources. The data we receive from the survey helps us lobby the local governments for additional resources and gives us an indication of which programs may need more or fewer resources. Third, the survey results allow us to measure our performance. Are we communicating efficiently and effectively? Are our programs and information dissemination methods meeting our member’s expectations? Fourth, the survey is yet another means for the

    LACA leadership to engage our members about the Lake Anna community. Finally, the survey allows our members to have a voice, and tell the LACA leadership what is important to you and

    your family.

    We send out this survey every two years, and this year the survey is organized based upon our LACA committees with the following questions:

    ● Water Quality (Questions 1-6)

    ● Environmental Preservation (Questions 7-10)

    ● Emergency Services and Safety (Questions 11-15)

    ● Land Use (Questions 16-17)

    ● Membership and Marketing (Questions 18-23)

    ● General Topics (Fireworks, Annual Meeting and Comments) (Questions 24-31)

    We will compile the survey responses and present the results at the upcoming annual meeting and your comments and opinions will help shape our programs and activities for the next two years! We would love to get responses from all our members! Help us, help you enjoy Lake Anna!

    rick.nehrboss@lakeannavirginia.org


  • May 01, 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jean McCormick – May 2021

    About 95% of boaters fuel their boats before launching. Therefore, most of our boat engines are subjected to ethanol infused gasoline that is sold in most retail gas stations.

    Ethanol is used as an “oxygenate” and is added to fuel to help reduce hydrocarbon emissions that cause air pollution. It is a highly refined grain alcohol, approximately 200 proof, that can be produced from natural products such as corn, sugar cane and wheat.  The term “ethanol blended fuel” or E10 refers to fuel that contains 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.

    Ethanol is also used to enhance the octane rating of gasoline. Higher octane gas resists detonation. So, it burns rather than explodes. But raising the octane level of gas is expensive. Therefore, premium fuel costs more than regular unleaded. Ethanol molecules contain oxygen, which allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel. That results in fewer emissions and less environmental pollution.

    Most marine engine manufacturers suggest that 10% or less ethanol gasoline be used in their products.

    However, there are three main problems with ethanol:

    1.   Since ethanol is an alcohol, it can dry out rubber compounds in your fuel system. This can lead to cracked and brittle fuel lines, floats and seals. If that causes a gas leak, an ignition spark can cause an explosion.

    2.   Ethanol likes water. Gas with added ethanol can attract and absorb about 10 times as much water and still burn through the engine. Water can enter when fuel containers are filled. That mix can cause corrosion of internal parts and condensation. When water comes into contact with ethanol blended fuel, the fuel and water can separate to form distinct layers in your tank. The upper gasoline layer will be depleted of ethanol and have a reduced octane level. The lower layer becomes a corrosive mix of water and ethanol. An engine won’t run on this water soaked, highly corrosive ethanol solution which ultimately can sink to the bottom of the tank. This situation usually requires that you drain and clean the tank before refilling it with fresh, hopefully, ethanol-free gasoline. 

    3.   Ethanol is a powerful solvent, and, over time, it can dissolve fiberglass fuel tanks. It also reacts with fuel filters and carburetors. Ethanol is an excellent cleaner, but at levels found in E10 gas, it can act as a solvent that can clean sludge but can also dissolve polymers (term used to describe plastics). This could stop your engine!

    On the other hand, non-ethanol gas lasts much longer while in storage. It is not as likely to succumb to oxidation or evaporation. If stored properly, ethanol-free gas can last up to six months without deterioration. This six-month shelf life makes ethanol -free gas ideal for use in seasonal boat engines. E10 gas has a three month or less, shelf life before the deterioration process begins.

    If you find yourself having to use E10 gas in your boat or any other small engine that is seasonal and sits for periods of time, think about the following tips:

      Never use E10 gas that is over 90 days old. Ethanol shortens the shelf life and old gas is likely to absorb water and cause problems.

      Limit sludge build up. Keep up with your maintenance schedule, changing filters, etc.

      Take care of problems immediately. Repetitive performance issues such as a carburetor that is continually fouling needs a proactive approach.

      Drain fuel, replace with fresh—ethanol free—gas, if possible. Use quality fuel treatment to counter act some of the effects of ethanol in the gas. But read labels carefully—-many fuel additives contain ethanol or other alcohol products.

      The best additives do not have alcohol in them.  A quality fuel additive treatment should combine combustion improvement, alcohol free protection, and detergents in a single product.  The best products have excellent non-alcohol-based water absorbing ingredients. These additives improve fuel efficiency that has been lost to ethanol, improve engine performance and cut engine emissions. These products also clean your injectors, valves and other engine parts that may be fouled due to ethanol’s solvency sludge deposits.

    Following these tips should help your boat engine run well, even if fueled with E10 gasoline.


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