HELP! Lake association starting from square one, needs advice
August 27, 2019 at 3:32 pm #19765
Boy, am I glad I found NALMS!
My name is Kevin Farmer and I am a member of the Lasater Lake Owners Association. Lasater Lake is a privately-owned lake approximately 204 acre feet in capacity, located in Clemmons, NC. Our association is just getting active again after several years, and we’re dealing with all the usual suspects, though our primary impediments at this time are: sedimentation, lack of money, and a total lack of a plan.
We have a pile of work to do long-term, but in the short term, there are a few issues where we could really use some advice.
1) Is it possible for a privately-owned lake to obtain grant money that will pay for dredging? I can’t imagine that it is, but we have a consultant telling us that for a mere $3,000 upfront, he can write us some grant applications that have an 80% chance of success. While we ARE are a non-profit on the state level, if we are anything at the Federal level, it’s the 501c2 risk management variety, not the 501c3 tax-deductible variety.
Besides that, from what research I have done: 1) lake associations usually need a lake management plan before anyone will think about granting them any money; and 2) lake maintenance grants are often of the reimbursement variety, not the pay beforehand variety.
My assessment is that we need to push the grant writing into the background while we write a lake management plan. Thoughts?
2) Speaking of which….how do you do that? What is in a lake management plan?
Does anybody have a plan they could send me so I can see what it entails? Do you know of any written guides?
3) Water testing. I’d really like to get the ball rolling on assessing the quality of our water, but I don’t know where to start, what tests need to be run, etc..Are there some basics that need to be covered? For example, as a gardener, I know that I need to be aware of pH, N, P, and K. Some micro-nutrients might enter the picture if there’s some weirdness going on, but as a general rule those four tests cover it. Is there a lake management equivalent?
Is testing something we can do ourselves? I have the Lake Observer app loaded and ready, just need some direction!
That’s it for now. Thank you in advance for reading, and for any advice – we need it!
firstname.lastname@example.orgSeptember 11, 2019 at 10:47 am #19800
Excellent questions Kevin – sorry that so many NALMS members have been out working on or enjoying lakes to get back to you quickly. The issues facing your organization are pretty common for many of our members, so getting involved with your local group, North Carolina Lake Management Society – http://nclakemanagement.org/new2016/ would be a good place to start. Their events may help you to understand state grant program requirements or to find foundation funds or other sources. If the sedimentation is from state or federal road runoff, you may be eligible for some restoration funds, despite being a private non-profit.
Developing a lake management plan is often a requirement for many funders, and having one helps you to prioritize and plan your groups’ actions, so it is a good idea to complete one. Here’s a link to help get you started: https://www.nalms.org/home/lake-management-planning/. These plans can be done by volunteer boards, but sometimes it is helpful to bring in facilitators or other professionals to guide the process.
Getting good information on your lake is a great place to start – and engaging volunteers in monitoring is an effective way to do so. In fact volunteers are a major source of water data throughout the country! Please check out the USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network’s Guide to growing programs to learn more about creating and growing monitoring programs – including a module on designing a monitoring program https://web.uri.edu/watershedwatch/guide-for-growing-extension-volunteer-monitoring-programs/. Then when you’ve identified the goals of your monitoring, I’d suggest contacting the NC Volunteer Water Information Network http://www.environmentalqualityinstitute.org/vwin-volunteer-water-information-network.php to see if working with them would meet your goals. The parameters that are typically monitored in lakes include – water clarity (using a Secchi disk), temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients (P and N primarily), and often chlorophyll (algal content), pH and alkalinity, and bacteria (E.coli or enterococci depending on the state). Kits are available for some of these, but access to labs is important for some others – so VWIN could be really important.
And of course networking with as many people in the lakes and volunteer monitoring community as you can will help you to not only develop a better lake management and/or monitoring plan – but also help you to feel like you are not all along!
Good luck!! ElizabethSeptember 16, 2019 at 10:22 am #19845
Thank you for your response – that’s a lot of helpful information!
I contacted the NC Lake Management Association prior to posting here, but I never received a response. There aren’t any fresh posts on their blog, either – they may have entered into a period of increased sedimentation!
I will try again at some point, but I have plenty to occupy my time, now, thanks to your response.
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