Newsletter articles

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

    By Steve Shubick - May 2021

    As we all know, Lake Anna is a great place. Whether you want to boat, fish, swim, camp, relax or just enjoy time away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, our lake is a great spot. But the Lake Anna Civic Association needs your help to make sure the lake continues to offer this great lifestyle.

    The pandemic brought more people than ever to the lake last summer as people looked for a way to enjoy family and friends while still social distancing and staying safe. Even though COVID is waning, all indications are this year will be another busy year.

    An important part of LACA’s mission is to serve as the voice of our membership to ensure the lake continues to be the best it possibly can be. Both now and in the years to come. We all know there is strength in numbers, and the best way to make our voice speak as loudly as possible is to increase our membership.

    LACA has begun our Drive To 1000 membership campaign.  Increasing our membership is key to our success when promoting the issues we believe are important to the long-term health and wellbeing of the Lake Anna area.

    We want you to tell your friends, neighbors, and anyone else who enjoys the lake about the benefits of being a LACA member, and we’re willing to pay you to help us spread the word.  

    Direct prospective members to our website and have them sign up for membership (https://www.lakeannavirginia.org/join-now). Just be sure to tell them to list you in the “referred by” field.  For every new member that lists you as the referring member, we’ll enter your name into a drawing for a $500 gift card from a local business or restaurant. Get four new members, get four entries into the drawing. And if they sign up for multiple years (at our discounted rate), you’ll get an extra entry for each additional year. 

    And to sweeten the pot even more, for every four members you refer, you’ll get a $50 gift card. And we’ll even pay a $100 cash prize to the current member who gets the most total new members!!  We’ll hand out these prizes as soon as we reach our goal of 1000 total members.

    Ask any realtor in the area and they’ll tell you that our community is growing at an unprecedented rate.  LACA plays an important part making sure that growth is well managed. We’re working on your behalf to learn more about what can be done to stop or reduce the harmful algae blooms (HAB) that seem to be increasing each year. We are in constant contact with state and local officials to make sure that new residential and commercial projects make sense for our area. We work with local law enforcement and safety organizations to help promote safe enjoyment of the lake.  And don’t forget, LACA is the organizer and sponsor of our great July 4th fireworks!

    As a LACA member, you know how important these and other issues are. Our membership drive is the best way you can be sure the lake is what we all want it to be, both now and in the years to come.

     


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

    By Election Committee - May 2021

    By LACA Election Committee - May 2021

    Each year, LACA holds a general election and elects one half of its Officers and Regional Directors to a 2-year term.  Last year, LACA held a very successful election electronically and we will be doing the same this year.  Voting will be open from 15 June through 24 July, with results announced at the 31 July Annual Meeting.

    The positions that will be on this year’s general election ballot will be: President, Treasurer, Regional Director for members residing in Spotsylvania County’s Partlow voting precinct, and Regional Director for members residing in Spotsylvania County’s Belmont voting precinct.

    Normally, this year we would also be electing a Regional Director for LACA’s “private side” members; however, and due to a vacancy, a special election was held earlier this year and “private side” members elected Colleen Delawder to be their Regional Director.

    Also, LACA has a vacancy in the Assistant Treasurer position so in conjunction with this year’s general election, a special election will be held to fill this opening. The position has one year remaining on its current term. Next year, the Assistant Treasurer position will be on the general election ballot for its full 2-year term.

    LACA is actively seeking members to run for each elected position. In order to run for one of the two Regional Director positions, the candidate must own property in the region she is running.  Currently, there are no candidates running for the Partlow Regional Director or Assistant Treasurer positions.

    Every member will be eligible to vote for the President, Treasurer, and Assistant Treasurer positions but only those members who own property in the Partlow or Belmont precincts will be eligible to vote for their respective Regional Director.    

    It’s never too early to be thinking about volunteering to be on LACA’s board.  Next year, LACA will be holding elections for Vice President; Secretary; Assistant Treasurer; Regional Director for members residing in Spotsylvania County’s Brokenburg voting precinct; Regional Director for members residing in Louisa County’s Mineral and Louisa voting precincts; and Regional Director for members residing on the “public side” of Louisa County’s Bumpass, Elk Creek and Fredricks Hall voting precincts.

    Please seriously consider becoming a LACA board member.  To get more information or discuss the responsibilities of this year’s or next year’s elected positions, please contact one of the Election Committee Members:

    Joe Bailey                (540) 223-5120                joe.bailey@lakeannavirginia.org

    Alan Bennett            (703) 623-6028                alan.bennett@lakeannavirginia.org        

    Allan Lassiter           (804) 869-7000                allan.lassiter@lakeannavirginia.org


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

    By Pamela Hahn - May 2021

    Are you aware that carbon monoxide poses a danger while boating?  Many people assume that because they are outside, there is no possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Sadly, this is just not true.  

    As boaters on Lake Anna, we should all be aware of the risks associated with carbon monoxide.  Many, if not all carbon monoxide poisonings are totally preventable

    How many times have you, a family member or friend, complained of feeling tired, having a headache, or feeling queasy, after a long day on the lake?  Have you, like hundreds of other people, attributed those feelings to too much sun, fun, and alcohol?  Would you be surprised to know that you may have actually been suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning?

    Did you know that boaters are injured or killed by carbon monoxide every year?  This odorless, colorless and tasteless gas can sicken or kill you inside or outside your boat.

    Federal Officials have known for years that carbon monoxide can reach deadly levels inside of houseboats.  Evidence has been found in the last several years that carbon monoxide can accumulate in deadly concentrations behind ski and wakeboard boats.  Did you know that there is also evidence that carbon monoxide levels can be dangerous behind personal watercraft as well? 

    According to the United States Coast Guard, carbon monoxide from boating was responsible for 5 deaths and 31 poisonings in 2019.  Shockingly, these numbers may actually be higher.  Over the years, there have been deaths attributed to heart attack or drowning that actually may have been due to carbon monoxide poisoning. 

    Activities that increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning include “teak surfing”.  This is when a swimmer hangs onto a powerboat’s swimming platform while being towed through the water, eventually letting go when the wake is large enough for body surfing. Swim decks are located where deadly exhaust fumes are accumulating, creating dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.  This activity has been responsible for at least 11 deaths and multiple injuries due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This sport is now illegal in several states and the National Park System, but is still allowed in Virginia. Please be aware that this means that it is also potentially lethal to sit on a swim deck while engines are running and points to increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning during towed watersports.

    Any gasoline powered boat engine produces carbon monoxide which can accumulate near the stern. These levels can become quite dangerous when boats are operating at low speed. This news should be of particular concern for those of us on Lake Anna due to the many no wake zones. 

    The United States Coastguard published a leaflet in 2008 detailing the dangers of boating and carbon monoxide.  In it, they listed many real life scenarios of carbon monoxide poisonings.  The following one hit home: “...two women suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while swimming among a number of boats that were afloat in a cove at the far northern end of a lake. Boaters often gather there and leave engines and generators running, creating the potential for CO poisoning. The women were pulled from the water by off-duty firefighters. The women were breathing on their own but in an “altered stage of consciousness” because of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

     Please share this boat safety checklist with your friends and neighbors.  Let’s keep those we love safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.


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

    By Al Bennett – April 2021

    Introduction

    We read and hear a lot about nitrogen and phosphorous as nutrients that significantly impact the aquatic life of our lake.  Typically, the challenge in lakes worldwide is to minimize the presence of these nutrients so that algae and cyanobacteria growth is not overly stimulated.  This article briefly touches on how nitrogen and nitrogen compounds, found in what is called the nitrogen cycle, are used in our daily lives.  The article then explores the nitrogen cycle in a lake like ours (i.e., how nitrogen enters our lake from the atmosphere, is converted into nitrogen compounds, and is released back to the atmosphere).  The focus here is on the natural cycle of nitrogen and not how it enters our lake through manmade means (commercial fertilizer, output from waste treatment, faulty septic systems, runoff from dairy, beef, and chicken operations, etc.).

    Common Uses

    Nitrogen is all around us and is a key to life.  Nitrogen makes up approximately 78% of the earth’s atmosphere and it is essential for the making of DNA and proteins.  About 3.3% of the human body’s mass is made up of nitrogen. In addition to being a key to life, we use nitrogen daily in varying forms.  The below table lists the different forms of nitrogen that occur in the nitrogen cycle and some of their common uses in our daily lives.

    Element/Compound

    Some Common Usages

    Nitrogen

    In liquid form, it is what a dermatologist uses to freeze skin anomalies; used to quickly freeze foods; and used to preserve blood, reproductive cells (sperm and egg), and other biological samples and materials.   In gaseous form, it is the gas released to inflate a cars air bag and it is used in the manufacturing of stainless steel to remove impurities.

    Ammonia

    About 80% produced is used in fertilizer.  Also used as a household cleaner, refrigerant gas, and has a multitude of commercial applications.

    Nitrites

    In the form of sodium nitrite is used as preservative in processed meats.  Also gives meat that pink-red fresh look.

    Nitrates

    Also used as a meat preservative.  Used in several medicines including nitroglycerine and is used as an oxidizing agent in explosives.

    Nitrous Oxide

    Commonly referred to as laughing gas and sometimes used by dentists to sedate patients.  Used as the propellant in aerosol whipped cream canisters and cooking sprays.  In car racing, provides more oxygen to the engine combustion cycle enabling more fuel to be burned and thereby increases engine horsepower.

    Nitrogen Cycle

    The nitrogen cycle in a lake environment is a continuous cycle of biochemical processes, all occurring simultaneously, by which nitrogen is absorbed at the water’s surface, converted into various chemical forms, and then returned to the atmosphere.

    Nitrogen in its natural form is a gas (N2) and like oxygen, nitrogen is soluble in water.   Nitrogen can enter the lake through precipitation, but it mostly enters through diffusion at the water’s surface where the concentration of nitrogen in the atmosphere is much higher than the concentration of nitrogen in the water. The diffusion of nitrogen occurs slowly across the water’s surface and can occur more quickly through sources of aeration such as wind created waves. The amount of nitrogen that can be absorbed by water is approximately 20 mg/l at 68 degrees. 


    Nitrogen is the most plentiful element in the Earth’s atmosphere as well as an important plant nutrient. In nature, nitrogen circulates and is continuously converted chemically from one form into another by bacteria and plants.  The above figure is taken from World Ocean Review.

    Pure nitrogen is unusable to most organisms.  It must undergo a series of transformations to convert it to a compound that can be absorbed by aquatic plants and eventually consumed by fish.  The first step in this process is called nitrogen fixation.  It is a bacterial process whereby bacteria, including cyanobacteria, convert the nitrogen dissolved in water into ammonia/ammonium (NH3/NH4+).  In a lake like ours where the water’s ph (a measure of how acidic/basic water is)is typically below 8.75, more ammonium than ammonia is produced.

    The next step in the overall nitrogen cycle is called nitrification.  It is a two step process where bacteria convert the ammonia/ammonium into nitrite ions (NO2-) and different bacteria then convert the nitrite ions into nitrate ions (NO3-).

    The nitrogen-based ammonia/ammonium and nitrate ion compounds produced through fixation and nitrification are nutrients to the lake’s food chain and are first taken up into the tissues of algae (phytoplankton) and aquatic plants.  Zooplankton (microscopic fish) and some aquatic insects eat the algae which in turn are eaten by small fish.   Larger fish may then feed on zooplankton, insects, and/or smaller fish.  The incorporation of ammonia/ammonium and nitrate into the biological tissues of aquatic life is commonly referred to as the assimilation step in the nitrogen cycle.

    Following assimilation is ammonification.  Eventually, the lake’s bio-mass consisting of phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish, and all other forms of aquatic life will die and decompose. In the decaying process, specialized bacteria convert the nitrogen compounds contained within the decaying bio-mass back into ammonia/ammonium.

    This ammonia/ammonium again undergoes nitrification similar to the nitrification step above where the ammonia/ammonium is converted back to nitrate ions. 

    As a last step in the nitrogen cycle, the produced nitrate ions then undergo a denitrification process where denitrifying bacteria convert the nitrate ions back to nitrogen as well as nitrous oxide (N2O).  Both are gases that are released back to the atmosphere.

    The natural nitrogen cycle in marine and terrestrial environments is very similar to that in fresh water environments.  In all cases, nitrogen is extracted from and returned to the atmosphere.  If this were not the case, our atmosphere would quickly be depleted of nitrogen.


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

    By Jean McCormick – April 2021

    The Lake Anna Advisory Committee’s (LAAC's) Safety & Navigation Subcommittee is responsible for installing and maintaining all hazard buoys and the No Wake buoys at most bridges on our Lake. The buoys meet Coast Guard standards for Aids to Navigation and, on Lake Anna, are approved by Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). 

    Volunteers from Wolfe Landscaping have generously donated their time to make sure these navigational safety markers do their job—to help identify dangerous parts of the Lake and regulate boaters’ speed under the bridges. These regulatory buoys play a major role in helping to keep boaters safe while enjoying their time on Lake Anna.

    I am asking for help from the Lake Anna community, especially those who live in sight of a buoy, to let me know if one of the buoys becomes damaged, breaks loose from its anchor, gets knocked over, or if its light ceases to function.

    We appreciate all of our “buoy watchers” who have made those calls in the past, and for those folks who were able to secure our buoys at their dock, or even in their driveways, until we could pick them up or reinstall.

    LAAC buoys will have a decal attached that clearly states LAAC’s ownership and asks you to call 540-967-1234. This number connects you to Louisa County’s 911 call center, who will relay that information to the committee for action.

    Thank you for your support of Lake Anna’s navigation safety program.

    Call or email Jean: 571-236-5247 or jeanmccor@aol.com

    Enforcement Update on Red Balls

    LACA was recently informed by Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) of a change in enforcement related to the Red Balls or Buoys that are proliferating on Lake Anna. Prior to this announcement, DWR has considered Red Balls/Buoys on Lake Anna to be illegal and has required removal of the markers. Generally, homeowners install these markers to mark a 50-foot setback from their docks or swimming areas. 

    DWR reviewed Regulation 4VAC15-370-50 and senior staff determined that red balls do not meet the definition of a regulatory marker nor do they affect the "safety, health or well-being of a boating operator." Therefore, DWR will no longer require the Red Balls/Buoys to be removed.


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

    By Zach Long - ArborPro Tree Care – April 2021

    Litter is a global problem that is easily solved through community involvement and the participation of each individual. Robert F Kennedy said “It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility, and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”

    We are blessed to have such a beautiful body of water so close. A body of water that has a tight knit community surrounding it. We at ArborPro Tree Care feel it is our duty to be good stewards of our land and community. The Lake Anna Business Partnership and Lake Anna Civic Association felt the same way.

    As stewards, it is our duty to do our part in maintaining Lake Anna’s beauty and charm, but who said duty can’t be fun, right?

    Lake Anna Business Partnership’s Lake Anna Clean Up Day will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021. This event will be held in a competitive nature amongst volunteers, as well as local HOA communities, to see who can pick up the most litter on the lake or within their HOA. Anyone can volunteer, and teams of two are encouraged - so invite your friends! Concluding the event, volunteers are invited to HighPoint Marina where the final weigh in will be held to record the weight of each volunteer’s bag(s) of litter. The Lake Anna Business Partnership will be awarding prizes to one person from each class/category at Lake Anna Taphouse, later that same afternoon. 

    To be eligible to win a prize after final weigh in, a volunteer must first submit a registration form online before May 9th, selecting to compete in 1 of 3 classes/categories:

    1. Self-propelled watercraft - (Use your kayak or paddle board from your preferred ramp, and collect as much litter as you can!)

    2. Motorized watercraft - (Use your boat from your preferred ramp, and collect as much litter as you can!)

    3. HOA – (Compete as a member of your HOA instead of as an individual in the above two classes mentioned. You can collect on the roads within your HOA, or launch from your HOA’s ramp and collect litter from within the lake. Your personal litter’s total weight will go towards a chance to win an individual prize. It will also count towards a cumulative total for your HOA. The HOA with the most litter collected will be awarded a plaque.)

    Good natured competition is such a fun way to inspire involvement and community fellowship. There’s no question that Lake Anna is growing rapidly. It’s our duty to make a big area continue to feel like the loving, tight knit community that it truly is. We hope to see you there!

    You can register online for the event by clicking the following link, Lake Anna Clean Up Registration

    For more event details, such as times or team details, visit, VisitLakeAnna.org


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

    By Al Bennett - March 2021

    Pressure treated lumber is a ubiquitous building material used at Lake Anna in the construction of docks, decks, seawalls, retaining walls and other outdoor applications.  This article provides a brief history of the preservatives used for wood treatment and provides the current standards for treated wood.

    Older members of LACA like me probably remember the time when pentachlorophenol (PCP) or creosote was used as a lumber preservative.  PCP use began in 1936.  PCP was found to be harmful to the liver, kidneys, blood, lungs, nervous system, immune system, and gastrointestinal tract and is classified by the EPA as a probable carcinogen. PCP was removed as a consumer product in 1987.

    Creosote used as a wood preservative is a coal-tar based chemical.  It is the product I remember my family using as I was growing up. It was first used as a wood preservative in 1836 and its use as a consumer product was discontinued in 2005.  Creosote is still used today as a preservative for railroad ties, utility poles, and marine pilings.

    Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated lumber is the one most of us remember and many of us wish we could still purchase. This treated wood seemed to last forever and many decks and docks here at the Lake that were built before 2004 are still in good condition today.  CCA treated lumber first came to use in the 1940s and in the period from the early 1970s until 2004, it was the go to lumber we all used for outdoor applications.  This product contained arsenic and in an agreement with the EPA, the wood industry discontinued the production of CCA treated lumber for residential use.

    Alkaline copper quaternary(ACQ) and Copper azole (CA) replaced CCA as the common preservatives for pressure treated lumber.  Unfortunately, the downside of these preservatives is the galvanic corrosive effect of copper to other metals (e.g., aluminum, steel, and the zinc coating of galvanized nails and screws).  Ceramic coated or stainless steel fasteners are required to safely build using ACQ or CA lumber.

    Today, in most home centers and lumberyards, you will find lumber pressure treated with micronized copper quaternary (MCQ) or micronized copper azole (MCA).  These two preservatives are similar to ACQ and CA; however, the copper is finely ground and is suspended and not dissolved in the preservative solution.  Purportedly, the finely ground copper is able to penetrate the wood cells; therefore, it is less likely to leach out and corrode fasteners.

    The American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) develops standards used by the wood preservative industry.  For each AWPA use category (e.g. Exterior above Ground), they specify the number of pounds of a given preservative (e.g., MCA) per cubic foot that the wood must retain in order to meet the requirement of its application.  For example, southern pine must retain .06 pounds of MCA per cubic foot for use in exterior above ground applications.  Similarly, if southern pine is treated with MCA and it is to be used in a ground contact application, it must be treated with .15 or .31 pounds per cubic foot for general or heavy duty applications, respectively.  Below is a list and brief description of AWPA use categories.

    Use Category

    Brief Description

    UC1

    Interior Dry

    UC2

    Interior Damp

    UC3A

    Exterior Above Ground, Coated with Rapid Water Runoff

    UC3B

    Exterior Above Ground, Uncoated or Poor Water Runoff

    UC4A

    Ground Contact, General Use

    UC4B

    Ground Contact, Heavy Duty

    UC4C

    Ground Contact, Extreme Duty

    UC5A

    Marine Use, Northern Waters (Salt or Brackish Water)

    UC5B

    Marine Use, Central Waters (Salt or Brackish Water)

    UC5C

    Marine Use, Southern Waters (Salt or Brackish Water)

    UCFA

    Interior Above Ground Fire Protection

    UCFB

    Exterior Above Ground Fire Protection

    At the end of each pressure treated board offered for sale is a tag, similar to the picture below, which provides useful information. 

    It tells you the type of preservative used, the amount retained per cubic foot, the recommended use for the treated lumber, and the AWPA use code.  Make sure the wood you purchase meets AWPA standards and is of the correct use category for your project.  Not all lumber yards carry lumber of every use category.  The use category you want may be a special order.


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

    By Pamela Hahn - March 2021

    Have you heard of the spotted lantern fly, otherwise known as SLF? No? Well, it’s time to get familiar with this beast of an insect that is both beautiful to behold and extremely damaging to trees and agricultural crops. The SLF is an invasive species native to Southeast Asia that feeds on the sap of more than 70 species of plants. They were first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014.

    The SLF was found in Frederick County, Virginia in 2018 and has spread rapidly in the past two years.  According to Eric Day, a Virginia Cooperative Entomologist, infestations of the spotted lantern fly in “Virginia went from 1 square mile in 2018 to over 60 square miles in 2020.”

    The SLF is a very real threat to Virginia farmers as it likes to feed on grapes, peaches and hops as well as on many native trees, including pine, maple, walnut and oak. According to residents of Pennsylvania, the spotted lantern fly, which is not harmful to people, can become a real nuisance. When the insects feed, they excrete a sticky substance which can coat any surfaces the SLF contacts - imagine your docks and decks covered in a substance called “honeydew” that encourages a black sooty mold to grow. Gross!

    The preferred host of the SLF is another invasive species - the tree of heaven.  While I am not a huge proponent of killing trees, I am willing to make an exception in this case as any trees or crops that are in the vicinity of a tree of heaven become fair game to the SLF.  For detailed instructions on how to ensure the demise of your tree of heaven please see  this Virginia Department of Agriculture explanation.

    Entomologists across the country are asking residents to become proactive and look for these insects on their property. While it may not be possible to completely eradicate the spotted lantern fly, we must try to slow its spread. You can check out pictures and more information from Virginia Tech about the spotted lantern fly here.


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

    By Greg Baker - March 2021

    In the fall of 2014, as the relatively new sport of wake surfing was becoming wildly popular, both the Lake Anna Advisory Committee (LAAC) and the Lake Anna Civic Association (LACA) started to hear from concerned citizens about the dangers surrounding the large wakes generated when practicing the sport. Ann Heidig, the Chair of LAAC at the time, established a Wake Surfing Committee, which included a member of the LACA Board, to research the new sport and what restrictions, if any, should be placed on the sport.

    The LAAC Wake Surfing Committee discovered that both Maryland and Pennsylvania had passed statewide laws requiring wake surfing to have a 200-foot setback from the shoreline, docks, or people in the water. Additionally, the Maryland law also requires a 200-foot setback from other boats in the water. These laws were supported by the wake surfing industry. Specifically, in a letter dated February 1, 2012 the Executive Director of the Water Sports Industry Association, Larry Meddock, commended the Pennsylvania Boating Advisory Board for a “reasonable” approach on regulating wake surfing. He further wrote that “research supports that a wave, which is one foot or less, does not have the force to damage shore or property and the 200-foot distance will ensure that wave size or less.”

    As it turns out, at the same time, it was learned that Spotsylvania County already had an ordinance on the books stating that “No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel towing an individual on skis, surfboard or similar device within 200 feet of the shoreline of Lake Anna.” Even though this law exists in Spotsylvania, Louisa County did not have a similar law. Since this was a local law, the Department of Wildlife Resources’ (formally known as DGIF) Conservation Police would not enforce a law stricter than state law.

    By the fall of 2016 wake surfing was exploding in popularity. Along with many more wake surfing boats appearing on Lake Anna, the complaints to LACA, LAAC and the county supervisors related to the large wakes created by the sport of wake surfing also exploded. The complaints primarily focused on safety issues - large wakes hitting unsuspecting boaters or swimmers, concerns about erosion, damage to bulkheads and rip rap and the issue of “fair use” of the shared space on the lake. When one or more wake surfers engage in their sport in a narrow section of the lake, it is difficult for others to enjoy their favorite pastime such as water skiing, wake boarding, kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding.

    In response to the rise in popularity of the sport and the corresponding complaints, Spotsylvania County passed a resolution to request that the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF, now DWR) prohibit wake surfing within 200 feet and all other towed water sports within 100 feet of the shorelines, piers, docks and boathouses on Lake Anna. A copy of the resolution can be seen here.

    A motion for a similar resolution was proposed at the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, but failed to receive a “second” and therefore died prior to being voted on by their supervisors. Orange County passed a resolution to support Spotsylvania County’s efforts. LACA’s Board also passed a resolution to support the effort. The failed Louisa County Resolution can be seen here and the Orange County Resolution can be seen here.

    In the fall of 2016 Spotsylvania County Supervisor Greg Cebula took the newly passed resolutions from Spotsylvania and Orange County to both DGIF’s Wildlife, Boat and Law Enforcement Committee as well as the whole board. As a result of these meetings, the DGIF Board recommended that staff work on a solution to address wake surfing on a statewide basis rather than attempting to address the issue through various local regulations.  

    DGIF staff organized two 8-hour “stakeholder” meetings at their headquarters in Richmond in early 2017. The stakeholder meetings were attended by both members of LACA and LAAC, Supervisor Cebula and other concerned citizens from Lake Anna, Lake Gaston, Lake Kerr, Smith Mountain Lake and even the Rappahannock River. It was also attended by lobbyists from the wake surfing industry which included Larry Meddock from WSIA, representatives from BoatUS, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Volvo Penta (an engine manufacturer for wake surf boats) and several owners of marinas that catered to wake surfing. The stakeholder meetings were mediated by Virginia Commonwealth University.

    Over the two full days of mediation, attendees from both viewpoints discussed the pros and cons of regulating the sport. The extremes included banning wake surfing altogether from one side to doing nothing to regulate the sport from the other side. After two long days of mediation, there were several potential recommendations:

    • Both sides agreed that education was clearly needed to help the wake surfing community understand the dangers of operating too close to the shoreline or a dock.
    • There is ample research and agreement that large wakes do dissipate over a 200-foot distance.
    • There was a consensus that the current 50-foot setbacks for all boats were not sufficient for towed sports.
    • There was reasonable consensus that all towed sports should have at least a 100-foot set back. Clearly a 75-foot tow rope operating within 50 feet of a dock is a dangerous situation.
    • The wake surfing supporters were not opposed to the proposed 200-foot setbacks so long as there was not a different setback for wake surfing versus any other towed sport.

    At the end of the two days of mediation, the mediators asked if there was any consensus to share back with the board of DGIF. After 16 hours of mediation, the two sides had barely budged off of their initial positions. In the end, to avoid “failure” as the mediators suggested the effort would have been without a consensus, a vote was taken to propose a 150-foot setback for all towed water sports. This vote was framed by the mediators as a way to have some “success” after two full days of discussions. It was an effective tactic and the suggestion was passed by a substantial majority of those in attendance. The reports written by the VCU mediators can be read here.

    Unfortunately, the DGIF Board failed to take any action after receiving the results from the stakeholder meeting. The Board felt that to regulate this issue would be “stepping on the toes” of the General Assembly. They felt that the issue should be resolved with legislation not regulation.

    After this apparent defeat for Spotsylvania County, the prior DGIF Boating Laws Administrator, Charlie Sledd who was a participant in these meetings, proposed a solution that ultimately led to the establishment of the first, second and now the third no-wake surfing zone in the state of Virginia and perhaps the country. Mr. Sledd explained that there was precedent for a “no activity” zone. In the southeast corner of the state, there is an approved no water skiing zone on a narrow section of a curvy river. 

    Mr. Sledd suggested that if the local county supported a “no wake surfing zone” that DGIF might be inclined to approve the application.

    To help understand the process for applying for a regulatory buoy in the State of Virginia, an applicant must first apply for the regulatory buoy with their local county and pay the appropriate processing fee. The county must then notify all adjacent property owners of the application and allow for the property owners to provide feedback. The county also sends the application to LAAC for their comments. Once all comments are received from the public and LAAC, the county then sends the completed application with all commentary to DWR, usually with a recommendation to approve or reject the application. However, DWR has the ultimate authority to approve, reject or approve the application with modifications.

    In May of 2017, several property owners from Kelly’s Landing applied for the first no wake surfing zone in the state and perhaps the country. Kelly’s Landing is on a particularly narrow section of Upper Pamunkey Creek. The application was approved by DGIF in June of 2017 and the first no wake surfing zone was officially installed in late July. 

    Subsequently, the residents of Southwind Shores applied for a no wake surfing zone on Terry’s Run which was approved in late 2019. The most recent no wake surfing zone application from residents of Runnymede was approved by DWR in early 2021. A map of the three zones can be seen below. (Please note that the location of each zone is an approximation.) 

    This year, Delegate Byron from Smith Mountain Lake proposed HB 2083 that would require a 200-foot setback for wake surfing from docks and people in the water. The legislation would have only applied to Smith Mountain Lake. Shorelines were later added to the proposed bill. The delegate was ultimately pressured by lobbyists to reduce the setback to 150 feet and then she was pressured to send the bill back to committee for further revisions. Delegate Byron refused and HB 2083 died.

    With the failure of this legislation, there are now several residents of Smith Mountain Lake that are actively pursuing no wake surfing zones.

    LACA believes that the DGIF Board was ultimately correct in believing that the safety, erosion, property damage and fair use issue related to large wake surfing wakes will need to be resolved with legislation similar to the law in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

    A 200-foot setback for wake surfing and a 100-foot setback for all other towed sports is the perfect compromise in LACA’s view. It allows for enthusiasts to enjoy wake surfing in reasonable harmony with those that are frustrated with the large wakes and the damage that they produce. LACA’s position is to support legislation that will ultimately require a 200-foot setback for wake surfing and a 100-foot setback for all other towed water sports from docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, shorelines or people in the water. 


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

    By Harry Looney - February 2021

    2020 was a busy year for your Water Quality Committee and the thirty-five plus volunteers that are the lifeblood of our efforts to adhere to LACA’s mission to preserve and protect the cleanliness, beauty, and safe use of Lake Anna and its watershed.  The group accomplished a lot during the year, continuing our eighteen-year history of monitoring water quality parameters in the lake and its tributaries.  We also expanded the program to include a focus on cyanobacteria and the Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) that have plagued the lake over the past few recreational seasons.  Let’s review what your Water Quality Committee was up to in 2020.

    LACA established a Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) this year to bring multiple internal projects and organizational efforts under a common framework.  The WQIP captures all that LACA is engaged in, from a water quality perspective, to achieve its objectives of preserving, conserving, and protecting our water resources.  Our focus expanded from the lake and a few of the streams and creeks in the lake’s drainage area to the entire portion of the Upper York River.  Our lake and the streams and creeks that flow into the lake are part of the York River watershed.  The map below shows the area of the York River watershed that comprise the Lake Anna drainage area.  It also shows the areas of water impairments as specified by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in their latest biennial Integrated Assessment Report. 

    As you can see from the map, we have a lot of work to do to improve water quality in this 218,500-acre portion of the York River watershed.  It is also clear that our area of concern is much bigger than just the lake and that we must focus our efforts and resources to address the multitude of problems that we face.  This is why we developed the WQIP. 

    The Water Quality Committee focused on six priority WQIP areas in 2020.  The six priority areas are described in the following paragraphs.

    1) Water Quality Monitoring The oldest and most well-known effort under the WQIP is our water quality monitoring project that conducts sampling four times each year during the recreational season (April, June, August, and October).  In 2020, LACA conducted sampling at twenty-one stations on the lake (public and private sides of the lake) and four stream/creek locations in the watershed.  The stations we sampled were coordinated with DEQ who conducts monthly sampling at nine lake stations and thirteen stream/creeks stations.  Our close coordination with DEQ ensures we do not duplicate efforts.  Our sampling session in April was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions but we were able to resume operations in June and continue through the season’s end in October.  Data from the LACA sampling activities are available on the LACA website under the Water Quality Data page.

    An issue we started experiencing in late 2019 that continued in 2020 is sensor failure in our current water quality instruments.  Based on these failures, LACA initiated a recapitalization effort to purchase instruments that are used by our current partners (DEQ, Virginia Tech and Randolph-Macon College).  The instrument we are transitioning to is the ProDSS model manufactured by Xylem/YSI. 

    The outcome of this multi-year recapitalization effort will be improved synchronization of stakeholder monitoring activities and a tighter achievement of a “shared measurement system” with our partners.

    We would like to thank DEQ, especially the Northern Regional Office (NRO), for all the work they do to monitor water quality in the Lake Anna drainage area.  Our relationship is strong and we are extremely lucky to have such a dedicated and professional partner.

    2) Cyanobacteria / HAB Monitoring: LACA established a WQIP project in 2020 focused on cyanobacteria/HAB monitoring.  We monitored the lake on a three-week cycle from May through November.  We sampled twelve stations in the mid and lower lake during the first week of each cycle, ten stations in the upper lake during the second week of each cycle, and six stations in the Waste Heat Treatment Facility (WHTF) during the third week of each cycle.  We completed eight cycles during the seven-month period of sampling.  There were two primary objectives for this effort.  The first objective was to establish a capability to keep our members informed, on a more regular basis, of HAB issues in the lake.  To do this we purchased instruments that allow us to measure for the presence and concentration of cyanobacteria in water samples and to measure for two of the toxins produced by cyanobacteria.  The second objective was to establish a HAB data baseline for the lake over a full recreational season.  Data from the cyanobacteria/HAB sampling activities in 2020 are available on the LACA website under the Water Quality Data page. 

    DEQ also sampled for cyanobacteria during the 2020 recreational season.  DEQ sampled seven upper lake stations and sent the samples to the Phytoplankton Analysis Lab at Old Dominion University (ODU) for analysis (ODU is the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) laboratory for cyanobacteria analysis).  The results of these analyses are what VDH used to issue the swim advisories that were posted for the upper lake this past recreational season.  While the LACA project cannot be used by VDH to issue or remove swim advisories, we were pleased with the response we received from VDH and DEQ on our efforts and the data we generated. 

    This resource intensive LACA effort was conducted in partnership with the Schamle Lab at Virginia Tech.  This partnership was established in 2019 through a connection established by Lowell Pratt, a LACA Water Quality volunteer and Team Lead for our water quality monitoring program.  We provided information on this program in a Newsletter article earlier this year (see Drone-ing for Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins).  We cannot thank Dr. David Schmale and Ms. Regina Hanlon enough for their research and support to better understand our cyanobacteria issues.  We are excited about continuing to partner with Virginia Tech in 2021 on this important issue.

    A significant addition to the cyanobacteria / HAB efforts was initiated by DEQ and ODU in late 2020 to address data limitations specific to the Lake Anna cyanobacteria issue.  The data limitations stem from the fact that DEQ and LACA sampling and VDH/ODU analysis to date focused on only a few areas of the lake and specifically on cyanobacteria species that could produce toxins.  The algal data set for Lake Anna is therefore incomplete and assessments are limited with respect to being able to predict outcomes from actions taken to reduce algal populations such as cyanobacteria.  To address this data limitation, DEQ began collecting samples in November at seven upper lake stations.  They will collect monthly for a period of twelve months to ensure a time-phased analysis can be completed.  ODU conducts the analysis and data logging that will result in a better understanding of the full algal taxonomy in the lake.  LACA intends to join this effort to expand the sampling into the lower portion of the lake.  Our sampling will begin in April and be executed monthly for a period of twelve months.  The outcome from this research will be a report, issued by ODU, which provides LACA and other researchers a complete characterization and quantification of cyanobacteria in the lake.  We will use this report and the data produced from the research effort to develop remediation plans and efforts for the HAB issues we have experienced for the past several recreational seasons.

    3)  Sediment Sampling:  LACA established a partnership with DEQ and Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in 2020 to conduct research on nutrient loading in the lake sediment.  This research effort investigates eutrophication in Lake Anna.  Eutrophication is the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (such as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen.  The primary culprits in eutrophication are nitrogen and phosphorus—from sources including fertilizer runoff and septic system effluent to atmospheric fallout from burning fossil fuels—which enter the lake and fuel the overgrowth of algae, which, in turn, reduces water quality and degrades the Lake Anna ecosystem.  A previous newsletter article provided information on the research program initiated during the fall academic semester (see Sediment Sampling in the Upper Lake Region).  LACA is pleased that both DEQ and R-MC plan to continue the partnership during the spring semester of 2021.  The work to be completed during the semester includes additional sediment sampling activities, expanded data analysis and land-use studies using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the development of experimental designs and methods for studies/experiments that LACA may conduct in the future.

    4) Floating Treatment Wetlands LACA established a pilot research effort in late 2020 to investigate the use of Floating Treatment Wetlands (FTW) to address the cyanobacteria and nutrient loading issues in the lake. 

    FTWs are man-made, floating ecosystems that utilize native aquatic plants to mimic natural wetlands.  The FTWs improve water quality by filtering the water, consuming nutrients, and breaking down pollutants in the water.  FTWs also provide a habitat for fish and other wildlife.  FTWs float on the surface of the water with the roots of the plants submerged into the water column.  The plants remove nutrients through a process called Biological Uptake.  Mike Gelber wrote a Newsletter article this month on LACA’s implementation of this remediation technique and you are encouraged to go to his article for more detailed information on this effort.  LACA intends to expand our pilot program in 2021 installing several FTWs in the upper portions of the lake that have experienced HAB issues. 

    This image illustrating how a FTW works to reduce nutrient loading in a lake was prepared by the Virginia Tech Extension, a fantastic resource for FTW data and information. 

    5) Remote Sensing Predictive Capability: LACA’s current approach to planning water quality monitoring in the Upper York River basin is based on historical data.  Analysis of the historical data dictate the sampling plan for the upcoming year.  While this reactive approach has value and will be maintained as part of our planning, LACA needs a more proactive approach to water quality monitoring.  LACA initiated a partnership with Quantum Applied Analytics, LLC, a local tech company that specializes in data analysis from remote sensing platforms to include satellite data from NASA/United States Geological Survey (USGS) and European Space Agency (ESA) space platforms and the data repositories established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  An example image from the ESA Sentinel 2B satellite on the 13th of January that depicts chlorophyll readings from their analysis of sensor data is provided below.  LACA and Quantum Applied Analytics, LLC will use the data in these datasets to predict where and when algal blooms might occur. 

    This is an exciting new aspect to our WQIP that we hope will allow us to be more proactive in our sampling efforts and make better use of our limited financial resources.  The outcome from this effort will deliver an algorithm, or set of algorithms, to predict where chlorophyll and cyanobacteria concentrations are based on satellite imagery.

    6) Grant Submissions:  LACA’s Water Quality Program is funded through member dues, donations, and grants.  DEQ and Spotsylvania County have been long time supporters of our program and we receive annual grants from both.  Louisa County has awarded grants in the past and we are hopeful that we will resume their support soon.  While these grants provide the foundation of our water quality program, our expanded WQIP projects require additional financial resources.  Therefore, the Water Quality Committee has been active in applying for funding through federal, state and foundation grant programs.  We won a grant from Dominion Energy that will fund our FTW program in 2021 and we are hopeful that a grant submission to the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE) will be awarded to fund expanded efforts in water quality monitoring, sediment sampling, HAB sampling and analysis and our remote sensing efforts.  We are expanding our partnerships into the watersheds to our north (Rappahannock River) and our south (James River) to ensure we have a regional focus to our efforts, something that the agencies and foundations managing grant resources sometimes require for award of grant funds.  The Water Quality Committee is looking for additional grant programs to apply to so if you are interested in supporting our grant writing efforts, please reach out to the author at the email provided in the author’s tag line.

    To wrap up this annual report on LACA’s WQIP, it is important to highlight the important role of our partners in monitoring and improving water quality in our part of the York River watershed.  The LACA WQIP was strengthened through inputs from these partners and stakeholders:  Virginia DEQ (a partner since we established our water quality monitoring program in 2002), VDH, USGS, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), the counties of Spotsylvania, Louisa, and Orange, universities/colleges including Virginia Tech, ODU and R-MC, Dominion Energy, the Lake Anna Advisory Committee (LAAC), and industry partners,  Quantum Applied Analytics, LLC, and EA Engineering, Science & Technology, Inc.  Additionally, your Water Quality Committee joined with the Environmental Preservation Committee in engaging the York River and Small Coastal Basin (YRSCB) Roundtable as representatives from the Upper York River and as members of the YRSCB Roundtable’s Science sub-committee.  The stakeholders met multiple times in 2020 via Zoom and other virtual meeting platforms to address issues in Lake Anna and the Upper York River watershed. The stakeholders continue to interface on a regular basis to ensure all organizations are moving forward in a common, agreed upon direction while we reduce the likelihood of duplicating the expenditure of scarce, limited resources.

    Harry Looney, LACA Water Quality Project Officer, harry.looney@lakeannavirginia.org


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