Newsletter articles

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

    By Maureen Daniels - October 2020

     Thank You to:

      The majority who operate boats and jet skis responsibly and are mindful of how their favorite activity might be affecting others enjoying theirs!

       The members of the Lake Anna Rescue Group (LARG): Louisa and Spotsylvania deputies; Police officers from the Department of Wildlife Resources, formerly known as DGIF; Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties’ Fire & Rescue personnel; particularly, the Spotsylvania Dive Team, all of whom ran patrols on the Lake on weekends and holidays. They provided a consistent presence on the water and were able to respond to incidents in a more timely manner.

    Members of LARG participate in two drills each year. The goal is to to improve communication, cooperation and coordination of assets and personnel from all the agencies who respond to emergencies on Lake Anna.

       To all members of the Lake Anna community who have installed yellow and black 911 signs on their docks and in common areas. All incidents on the water are dispatched to the exact dock sign—or nearest sign—which serve as water based 911 addresses for law enforcement and fire & rescue. In some cases, since they are linked to the 911 street address, responses were made by road and water. Get your application on the LACA website.

       To our safety partner, Dominion Energy, for funding the installation of yellow and black 911 signs on their islands, which serve the same purpose as 911 dock signs.

       To the Lake residents who have successfully advocated for Louisa County funding, and have established a fund raising campaign to make the New Bridge EMS Station a reality. The Rescue Station will serve the Lake Anna community and residents and visitors who experience an emergency on the Lake.

    Make It Happen Lake Anna!

    The Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services for the New Bridge Rescue EMS Station is very close to reaching their goal of raising $100,000. Your contribution now can put them over the top!

    To learn more and to make a donation go to:  newbridgerescue.com

       Finally, to all LACA safety partners, in addition to LARG—marinas, restaurants, campgrounds, boat and jet ski rentals, Dominion Energy, the State Park, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, TowBoatUS and LKA Signs and Designs— for your continual efforts to make Lake Anna a safer place for all its users.

       We appreciate you all!


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

    By Al Bennett - October 2020

    This article is a reprint of an article that was first published in October 2018. It is a seasonal reminder that blowing leaves into the lake is not a good practice, especially given the recurrence of Harmful Algae Blooms over the past three years.  

    As homeowners, it is difficult for us to control the amount of nutrients that enter our lake from upstream sources; however, as residents we can control what enters the lake from our respective properties.

    Blowing leaves into the lake is not recommended.  Although not illegal, it is a form of littering that is discourteous to neighbors and it is harmful to the lake’s ecosystem.

    Leaves blown into the lake rarely settle at the shoreline of origin.  They are carried by wind and current to other locations before they reach bottom.  In coves, it is usually the few lots at the back of the cove that receive the leaf debris.  They are unsightly and over time, sedimentation buildup will cause these owners to lose water depth and will leave them with a squishy bottom.

    Decaying leaves release nutrients, primarily carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous.  These nutrients are great for soil but excess nutrients are a pollutant to lakes like ours.  These nutrients, especially phosphorous, are a fertilizer for hydrilla and algae, promoting their growth.  As hydrilla growth spreads, herbicides and/or carp are then needed to control its growth. 

    Similarly, excessive nutrient levels can contribute to low dissolved oxygen levels by causing abundant growths of phytoplankton (microscopic plants and algae) called blooms. Living phytoplankton may deplete oxygen levels during the night and as the phytoplankton die; decomposition of the organic material by bacteria consumes oxygen.

    Let’s all be good neighbors and good stewards of our lake’s ecosystem by not blowing leaves into the lake.  Instead, consider collecting and finely mulching them and spreading them so their nutrients can be returned to your soil.


  • September 02, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker - September 2020

    Orange County Resort Update

    LACA alerted our membership to the Special Use Permit (SUP) application for the Orange County Resort by both an E-Gram, on our website’s home page and under the land use program section of the website. 

    The Orange County Planning Commission (OCPC) heard the application at their regular meeting on August 20th, 2020. The OCPC voted to deny the application by a unanimous vote of 5-0. 

    The original application was ultimately amended and called for daily rentals of 150-175 luxury motorcoaches along with amenities such as fuel sales, a camp store, a marina and up to 150 docks.

    LACA had many concerns related to this development that it shared with the OCPC and with our membership. In an “E-Gram: Call to Action” alert to our Region 7 membership, we pointed our members to our list of concerns on our website and urged members to write emails of concerns to the OCPC. This effort led to approximately 80 emails to the commission, of which the majority were from LACA members. 

    The commissioners took note of these concerns and referenced the issues in their comments to the developer. Some of the highlights from the meeting were as follows:

    • One member stated that in his 8 years on the commission, that the application was the worst he had ever seen.
    • Several members said the development would be a non-starter without turn lanes off of route 522.
    • The members acknowledge the many concerns brought up by citizens including those shared by the Lake Anna Civic Association.
    • Gary Griffith, the developer’s representative, requested that the SUP be tabled to allow for the developers to address more of the concerns. However, the chair stated that this option was provided prior to the meeting and that Mr. Griffith had insisted on being heard at the August 20th meeting. 

    This development straddles the Orange County and Spotsylvania County line. As of this writing, the SUP for Spotsylvania County has not been scheduled to be heard. 

    Ultimately, LACA believes that the developer will rework their proposal and resubmit a revised plan. We hope that our recommendations will be incorporated into any revisions. We will continue to monitor this development and will keep our membership abreast of any pending meetings or opportunities for feedback.

    LAAC Phase One HAB Study Approved

    The Lake Anna Advisory Committee, different from LACA, is a quasi-governmental organization established collectively by the three counties surrounding Lake Anna. LAAC is best known for maintaining and approving various regulatory buoys on the lake as well as controlling hydrilla among many other things. Their primary focus is to coordinate lake concerns with Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange Counties. 

    LAAC’s Board had the vision to create a three-phase program to understand and ultimately address the Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) that the lake has suffered through the past three years. Phase 1 is a comprehensive study of the watershed to determine the cause and potential remediation of HABs. Phase one would focus on the North Anna Branch from the upper reaches of the lake to the Holladay Bridge. 

    The study is robust and includes determining the magnitude of phosphorus and nitrogen loading; both internal and external. It would include mapping of the watershed, mapping of the lake bottom and sediment sampling to determine the existing nutrient loads that have developed over the lake’s 50-year life. You can learn more by reading the Request for Proposal.

    Phase 2 of the study would expand on Phase 1 and cover from the Holladay Bridge down to the “splits” (in front of the state park) and back up the lake to include all of the Pamunkey Creek and Terry’s Run sections of the lake. Phase 3 would be the remediation phase to correct the issues that are discovered in Phases 1 & 2.

    The cost of Phase 1 will be approximately $50,000. I am happy to announce that the LACA Board voted unanimously to contribute $10,000 towards the cost of this very important first step. Phase 2 will be substantially more expensive and Phase 3 will likely need to be funded by the Virginia General Assembly. 

    LACA New Board Member Approved

    Dick Shrum, the newly reelected Regional Director for region 2, the Cuckoo District tendered his resignation to LACA shortly after the recent LACA elections this summer. Dick has served on the LACA board for many years and we will miss his dedication and the knowledge of the private side that he brought to our board. Dick continues to serve as the treasurer of LAAC. He will be missed.

    The board nominated and approved Jean McCormick as his replacement. Jean’s volunteerism on Lake Anna is well known. She is a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and serves as the Chair of LAAC’s Navigation Committee. We are lucky to have Jean representing region 2 and we appreciate her willingness to serve.

    Annual Meeting Update

    With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, LACA’s board made the decision to postpone our regularly scheduled in-person annual meeting in July. We had hoped to reschedule an in-person meeting later in the year, but the board believes that the best course of action is to host the meeting virtually. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 24th and will be hosted using the Zoom platform. More information will be coming in the next few weeks as we coordinate a guest speaker and finalize our agenda. We will post information on our website and send an E-Gram once the plans have been finalized.
  • September 01, 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District - September 2020

    Agricultural conservation funding from the Commonwealth for Culpeper Soil and Water was three times the normal rate this past year and all of that funding was allocated to conservation projects, including many in Orange County and the Upper York project area.

    Wildlflower Meadow Buffers Along the Waterfront

    This was a remarkable achievement by conservation district staff and includes many stream fencing projects and cover crops.  Septic system pump-out and repair funding remains available in the Upper York watershed.  This program activity in the Upper York (Orange County only at this time) is also at an all-time high and another grant for this will commence later this year.  This new grant will still be for Orange County and will include Gold Mine Creek in Louisa County. Anyone interested in septic program cost share at this time in the Upper York watershed in Orange County should contact Henny at 540-948-7531.  Further information on the new grant will be forthcoming later.

    The Culpeper District continues to have vouchers to cover the cost of having your residential lawn soil tested for lime and fertilizer needs by the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab (Orange County only).  The District aims to educate homeowners on the proper use of lawn fertilizer and soil testing as the scientific basis for fertilizer applications.  The goal is to reduce excess fertilizer use and untimely fertilizer use, both which typically result in fertilizer runoff into Lake Anna.  More information is available from Stephanied@culpeperswcd.org.  Soil testing for lime and fertilizer can help reduce water quality problems in the Lake.

    Further, Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has a nutrient management program that establishes official agreements with lawn care companies that maintain that the company will only apply fertilizer based on soil test results.  Lake Anna Civic Association has a list of local companies that provide lawn care services around the Lake and at this time, to the best of our knowledge, none of them are party to such an agreement with the DCR.  Residents, as consumers of these services, could encourage their contractor to establish such an agreement.  This would be a “Lake Friendly” action all could undertake.  For more information on the program: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/wqagree#water-quality-companiesThis applies to all of Lake Anna properties.

    Currently, one of the “Lake Friendly” LACA recommendations is to maintain a buffer between your lawn and the lake shoreline. Below is a example of planting a buffer at the shoreline.

    The Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP) has specifications and funding to help establish a perennial buffer in the shore area.  More information is available at https://vaswcd.org/vcap and from richardj@culpeperswcd.org.


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

    By LACA Water Quality Committee and Virginia Tech Schmale Lab - September 2020

    LACA has a fantastic academic partnership with Dr. David Schmale and members of his Schmale Lab team at Virginia Tech (https://www.schmalelab.spes.vt.edu/) that is adding significantly to our understanding of the Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) issues we have experienced the past three recreational seasons (2018, 2019 and 2020).  The Water Quality Committee is working with The Schmale Lab, part of the Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, to collect cyanobacteria data that will add to our growing database of information about the extent and make-up of the algae blooms here at Lake Anna.  The Schmale Lab researchers utilize drones to further their understanding of why HABs are forming on the lake.  The research at Lake Anna is part of a broader research effort conducted by the Schmale Lab to understand water quality in freshwater lakes, HABs and the long-distance transport of microorganisms in the atmosphere.

    Members of the Schmale Lab continued their work with drones to collect water samples at Lake Anna this past June and July.  The work this year is a continuation of the 120 drone water samples the Schmale Lab collected and analyzed from Lake Anna during the summer of 2019.

    These 120 samples were collected using a unique 3D-printed sampling device attached to the drone.  Operations in 2019 spanned the upper portions of the lake as well as mid-lake and lower lake sites near the Waste Heat Treatment Facility.  Samples were analyzed for cyanotoxins, phycocyanin (a pigment used to estimate the presence of cyanobacteria), and nutrient levels.

    Recent sampling efforts by the Schmale Lab team focused on land-based operations on the northern branches of Lake Anna.  Water samples were collected near the shoreline and along transects extending 100 meters from the shore.  Ground-based instruments were also deployed at these sites to capture potential cyanobacteria and toxins in the air, and wind profiles were estimated with drones up to about 80 meters above ground level.  We appreciate the assistance of all the Lake Anna homeowners that allowed the Virginia Tech researchers access to their land to conduct these collections.

    The Schmale Lab partnership with LACA also includes major support of our own internal algae monitoring program that was started in May 2020.  Members of the LACA Water Quality Committee collect samples every week at stations across the lake.  LACA identified 28 primary stations for monitoring this year and we sample about a third of them each week.  Water samples are collected for analysis by LACA using new instruments purchased in the spring that allow us to generate estimates of the relative quantities of cyanobacteria in the water as well as the amount of two types of toxins that may be present in samples that indicate a high level of cyanobacteria.  In addition to the analysis conducted by LACA, a part of each sample collected by LACA is saved and frozen for analysis at the Schmale Lab.  We also share all our data with Virginia Tech and with the interested HAB stakeholders like the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).  Maps and data plots of our algae analysis are available on the LACA website under the Water Quality Data page (https://laca.wildapricot.org/Water-Quality-Data).  All of this work is adding extensively to our understanding of the problem and provides a science and analysis-based foundation to the actions we take to counter the HAB issues.

    Work conducted by the Schmale Lab at Lake Anna is supported by grants from Virginia Tech and the National Robotics Initiative in the Division of Information and Intelligent Systems of the National Science Foundation.

    Authors:  Regina Hanlon, Javier Gonzalez-Rocha, Hope Gruszewski, and David Schmale, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 24061 and Harry Looney, LACA Water Quality Project Officer.


  • August 01, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Greg Baker - August 2020

    LACA Board Election Results

    I am happy to announce that Sue Biondi our Secretary, Joe Bailey our Vice President, Scott Webster our Assistant Treasurer and Dick Shrum the Region 2 Cuckoo Regional Director all won reelection.

    We would like to welcome to the board, Pamela Hahn, the new Regional Director for Regions 3/4 representing the Mineral/Louisa Districts and Rick Nehrboss, the new Regional Director for Region 6 representing the Brokenburg District.

    For the first time in LACA’s history, we conducted our annual elections via electronic ballot. The number of ballots cast in 2020 increased over the number cast in 2019. We also returned to the approach where our regional directors are elected by their constituents. The electronic election process saved LACA over $400 in postage and mailings costs and these funds will be put to much better use.  Thank you to all of our members that made the effort to express your voice by voting in this election.

    The LACA board would also like to thank Mike Rigdon and Patty Shapiro for their service to LACA as Regional Directors. Patty has resigned from the board after over a decade of service and Mike will continue as our Chairman of the Environmental Preservation Committee.

    Orange County Resort

    Jeffrey and Donna Hayden are requesting approval for a Special Use Permit in Orange and Spotsylvania County to build a “exclusive resort development for the use of the growing Motorcoach industry.” The proposal potentially includes 250 permanent sites along with amenities such as a private marina with a boat ramp, boat storage, fuel sales and restrooms. It may include a clubhouse with a fitness center, meeting space, pool, a camp store, trails, tennis and basketball facilities. The application mentions building 250 boat slips. 

    The following is a picture of the proposed location on the lake. The lot owned by the Haydens is outlined in blue, the green diagonal line is the Orange/Spotsylvania County Line.


    The following is the design submitted to Orange County for the resort.


    LACA’s land use committee will continue to monitor this application and report back to our membership. Our biggest initial concern is related to how wastewater will be handled. This area of the lake is one of the worst impacted by Harmful Algae Blooms and LACA is concerned with any additional external nutrient loading to the lake.

    LAAC Phase 1 HAB Study Approved

    LACA is happy to report that the Lake Anna Advisory Committee (LAAC) has approved Phase 1 of a robust watershed study on Lake Anna. This first phase will cover an area of approximately 1000 acres from Holladay Bridge (Route 719) west to the headwaters of Gold Mine Creek and North Anna River.  LAAC is in the process of preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) with help from Louisa County for Phase 1.

    The phase 1 study will include an in-depth look of the total watershed that feeds the waters of Lake Anna. It will include both an analysis of the sediment in the lake as well as the depth of the sediment. The RFP is requesting an analysis of the lake bottom contours and a study of the biomass (both fish and plant life) in the lake. Most importantly it will focus on the water quality of the lake and the current internal and external nutrient loadings that feed harmful algae blooms. (HAB)

    Assuming Phase 1 is funded and completed, Phase 2 will expand the study from Holladay Bridge down to the splits and back up to the headwaters of Pamunkey Creek and Terry’s Run. The goal of Phase 1 and 2 is to determine what is causing and what is the recommended treatment to eradicate HABs and the corresponding no-swim advisories from Lake Anna.

    Phase 3 is the treatment plan based on the findings from Phase 1 and 2. This 3-part plan is our best effort to date by the Lake Anna community to address the causes and ultimately a permanent solution to this problem. As this plan progresses, funding of Phase 2 and 3 will be the biggest impediment to getting a solution for our HAB problem. More to follow…

    Hydrilla Treatment Plan Approved

    Hydrilla, which is a highly invasive species has been found again in Freshwater Cove. The Lake Anna Advisory Committee has approved a treatment plan slated for later this month. The plan when implemented will provide navigational relief for the residents of this cove. Below is a picture of the hydrilla immediately below the surface in the cove that will be treated.



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

    By Zachary Morrow - August 2020

    “What in the world?!” Similar to that of other first-time observers of the mysterious object pictured below, this was our reaction as we inspected the yellow-brown sphere just off our dock in Sunset Cove (North Anna River up-lake portion).


    On Saturday morning, June 13, my wife Carmen pointed out something at the foot of our family’s dock ladder, just beneath the water’s surface. While I initially surmised the 4-inch mass to be some sort of egg deposit like that of a bullfrog, it looked more like a sponge and didn’t jiggle with the motion of passing wake. Since my phone had a (hopefully) waterproof case, I dunked it beneath the surface to take some pictures, which revealed the presence of another, similarly-sized object at the other end of the rung. After reviewing the pictures and executing a quick web search, Carmen identified the objects as bryozoan pods, which are colonies of multiple bryozoans of the same species.

    Also referred to as “moss animals”, phylum Bryozoa comprises over 5,000 species of aquatic invertebrate filter feeders which inhabit marine, freshwater, and brackish environments. With the exception of one genus, all bryozoans are colonial. Somewhat analogous to how coral is a colony of individual polyps, a bryozoan pod is a colony of constituent zooid clones; the colony members cannot survive independently. While individual zooids grow to a size of about 0.5 millimeters (mm), or 0.02 inches, colonies have been observed at sizes up to a few feet in length.

    Bryozoans can be a normal component of freshwater food webs; since they have natural prey and predators, their presence in a balanced, healthy ecosystem should not be cause for alarm. Predators of freshwater bryozoans include snails, insects, and fish. Bryozoans are known to feed on various microorganisms, like green algae, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), and other bacteria. Zooids responsible for feeding the colony strain their food from the water with their “crowns” of hollow tentacles.

    Sighting the unusual creatures was an adventure in and of itself. As a Lake Anna community member who has a science background, I was even more intrigued to learn that some bryozoans are predators to blue-green algae and other bacteria. Such algae and bacteria have been a focal point of the LACA Water Quality Committee’s monitoring program. I am initially interested in bryozoans’ utility as a bioindicator whose presence might provide insight about the balance or health of the lake’s ecosystem.

    Bryozoan pods similar to the ones we saw in Lake Anna have also been observed elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region in Newport News, Virginia and Delaware. Online resources indicate that bryozoan pods do not pose a threat to human health and the environment under normal circumstances and that they should be left undisturbed when encountered. The pods we observed detached from the dock ladder and disappeared into the lake before the end of that same Saturday.

    References:

    Wikipedia contributors, "Bryozoa," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bryozoa&oldid=967216405 (accessed July 20, 2020).

    Koth, William, “Delaware’s Most Famous Freshwater Bryozoan,” WMAP Blog,  The Official Blog of the Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Program, https://wmap.blogs.delaware.gov/2018/12/01/delawares-most-famous-freshwater-bryozoan/ (accessed July 20, 2020).


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

    By Irene Luck - August 2020

    As we begin the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Lake Anna Civic Association is embarking on a push to increase our membership to 1,000 households.  How do we plan to do that?  In the next few months the Membership and Marketing Committee will roll out its strategy for increasing the membership with incentives for our current members who encourage friends and neighbors to join.  Those details will be laid out in the next few months but we realize that the best and most efficient way to get a new member is for a current member to ask them to join.  You, the member, have the history and experience of how a LACA membership has benefited you and are our best promotional tool.

    But, what exactly do you get for your annual membership?  LACA strives to keep you informed on what is happening within the lake community, including notifications that impact your enjoyment of the lake, such as swim advisories due to Harmful Algae Blooms. 

    On July 22 the Virginia Health Department issued the first such advisory for 2020 and LACA sent an email to its members as well as posted the information on its website (www.lakeannavirginia.org) and its Facebook page (Lake Anna Civic Association).

    You also get occasional emails (e-grams) on items such as important meetings impacting the lake, a monthly digital newsletter thanks to our newly updated website, the ability to pay for memberships online as well as order dock signs through the website and an easier way to contact your Regional Director or other member of the board.

    The best thing about a LACA membership is that it is fairly inexpensive.  A household membership is $15 a year – less than a week’s worth of Starbucks coffee – with discounts for longer terms -- $28 for two years and $40 for three years.

    If you know of someone who is not a member or someone who is new to your subdivision, consider downloading the application for them or encouraging them to visit our website and join through there.

    Have other questions or want someone to visit your association meetings to explain what LACA does more thoroughly?  Email us at webmaster@lakeannavirginia.org or through your regional director whose contact information is found on the website.

    Be on the lookout over the next couple of months for our Drive to 1,000 Membership Campaign contest – you could be eligible for a great prize from LACA for helping us reach more people.


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

    By Al Bennett - August 2020

    Beginning this 1 July, fuel tax in Virginia increased to 21.2¢ per gallon.  The good news for us boaters is that the tax we pay on the fuel we use in our boats is refundable from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  At first read, 21.2¢ per gallon does not seem to be that much; however, it amounts to $21.20 for every 100 gallons purchased.

    Another good news item is that the process for obtaining a refund is very simple and honor system based.  The one item you do need is a receipt for each fuel purchase and the receipt should contain the following information:

    • Exact date of purchase, which cannot exceed 12 months from the date DMV receives the application for refund
    • Seller's name and Virginia location address from which the fuel was purchased
    • Number of gallons of fuel purchased (each purchase must be for 5 gallons or more)
    • Type of fuel purchased, and
    • Amount paid for fuel.

    The receipts are to be kept for your records and they do not need to be submitted to the DMV.

    To apply for a refund online, go to: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/dmv-fueltax/#/ The first time you go to this site you will be asked to establish an account. For subsequent visits, you will log into your account and just provide requested information - calendar period of your receipts, total number of gallons purchased, and your boat registration number (e.g. VA 9402 BH).

    You can also submit a paper application to obtain a fuel tax refund.  The application can be obtained from: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/ts217.pdf

    You may complete the application online or offline and then mail it to the address specified.

    The two above website links have been added to the LACA website (lakeannavirginia.org).  You can find the links under “About the Lake” and then “Lake Links”. 

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

    By Mike Rigdon - July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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