FOCL Day at MK’s 2014

MK Day 2014-26
Another great evening around Claytor Lake brought supporters of The Friends of Claytor Lake out to the local hot spot MK’s Gourmet Pizzaria off the Claytor Lake State Park exit of I-81 which featured amazing entertainment was given by The Crossroads Band.  Supporters of FOCL were able to mingle and talk about things going on around the lake as well as see what projects FOCL are currently involved in.  It was a great evening for everyone.

Native Vegetation Project


July 1, 2014: The Friends of Claytor Lake, alongside AEP, VDGIF, The Bass Federation, and the Claytor Lake State Park started our Native Vegetation Project.  This project reintroduces native vegetation of water celery and water willow back to the lake that was choked off by the overwhelming growth of Hydrilla over the past few years.  With the Hydrilla now at what appears to be a manageable level, it was the perfect time to plant vegetation that not only has a better chance of growth but is also less susceptible to the Hydrilla’s hostile takeover.

With some helpful advice and tips from Army Corp. of Engineers Lynde Dodd, FOCL purchased and brought in 628 water willow and 148 water celery plants from North Carolina along with specialty cages from New Jersey in order to complete the project and allow the vegetation to flourish while providing the shoreline of Claytor Lake to not only become more stabilized but also serve as needed aquatic habitat.

Water-willow is a perennial that is common along stream and lake margins.  Water-willow grows to 3 feet tall and often forms dense colonies that help stabilize shorelines.  The stems do not usually branch and have prominent whitish lines.  The leaves are opposite, long and narrowly tapered (up to inches 6 long and ½ inch wide) with smooth margins and a distinctive whitish midvein.  The leaves look very much like those of the willow tree.  Water-willow flowers from May through October.  The flowers are on long stems originating from the base of the leaves. Flowers are 5-petaled orchid-like (3/4 inch diameter), white with purple/violet streaks on the lower petals.  Water-willow can spread from seeds and forms extensive rhizomes by which it forms colonies and spreads rapidly.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates.  These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.).  After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates.  Deer will browse the leaves while beaver, muskrat, and nutria will consume the rhizomes of water-willow.

Variegated Water Celery is a colorful, low spreading plant typically planted in water gardens partially submerged at the margins. The colorful, serrated leaflets of the Variegated Water Celery pops with beautiful pink tips! About mid summer, tiny white flowers in umbels bloom. Also known as the Flamingo Plant or Java Dropwort, it’s a popular favorite for Koi ponds since it makes a nutritious snack for hungry mouths. Some gardeners recommend rotating two planters – keeping one in the pond for koi and another kept away from koi and allowed to grow back – to maintain a constant supply on hand.
Though it is a lovely ornamental plant, the Variegated Water Celery is fast growing so take care in placement and expect plenty of spread. When placed properly, the Variegated Water Celery makes an excellent ground cover and a great choice for bog filters. Plants will grow fastest in wet soil under direct sun.

Close to 30 volunteers from The Friends of Claytor Lake, American Electric Power, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, The Bass Federation, and the Claytor Lake State Park were on hand for what turned out to be an entire day of planting.

2014 Claytor Lake Clean Up

Clean Up Day 2014-36

The 2014 All Lake Clean Up Day on Claytor Lake got kicked off early as people from all over Claytor Lake got together to help rid our beautiful lake of trash from its shoreline and coves.  Organized by FOCL and our sponsors AEP, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, Virginia Eagle Distributing, Virginia Shoreline, Claytor Lake Watersports, Conrad’s Marina, The Rockhouse Marina, The Waterway Cafe, and The Claytor Lake State Park, the All Lake Clean Up Day hauled in close to 70 bags of trash, 6 tires, 1 flashboard, 5 large pieces of styrofoam, plastic molding, trash cans, chairs, and even a table!

Fueled by FOCL Board Members, Staff and Crew Cheri Strenz, Jackson Beamer, Larry Moore, Ted Bostic, Darryl Sarver, Larry Killough, Jeff Arnold, Larry Bandolin, Mike Hoffman, Buddy Johnston, Laura Bullard, Bill Cunningham, Jeff Caldwell, Jerry Dean, and Dale Gravely and expanding into neighborhoods all over Claytor Lake, our 2014 Clean Up Day was a success and vital to keeping our lake clean.  Ronnie Nichols from Pulaski County was instrumental in providing FOCL with dumpsters located all over Claytor Lake giving anyone helping an easy access to unload their bags and trash.

Other notable volunteers were Janet Johnston, Ann Bullard, Steve Rapp, Jamie Riggins of Virginia Shoreline, and Jerry & Sherry Vaughn.

Neighborhood Captains:
Little Wytheville – Amy Hunter
Blackberry Lane – Jim Kelly
Lake Ridge & Waterfront Farms - Tom Kulis
Bullard Farm - Laura Bullard
Cecil’s Chapel - Larry Bandolin
Clapboard Hollow - Donna Buck
Cabinland & Shadowlands - Virginia Ash
Lakeview - Larry Moore
Claytor lake Estates - Jackson Beamer
Woods-on-the-Lake, Felts Hollow, & Smith Hollow - Cheri Strenz
The Cliffs & Redwood – Judy Nelson
Hidden Valley - Fran Baldwin
Texas Hollow - Sara Metcalfe
Twin Coves - Stu Vaught and Chuck Long
Merry Point - John Johnson and Carolee Bondurant
Lakeway Heights - Gary & Jeanie Jones
Dublin Hollow - Laura Walters  and Tiki Racing Jet Ski Club
Roseberry Hollow - Ryan Jones and Steve Ball
Dunkards Bottom - Darryl Sarver
Lakeland - Bill Cunningham

Wounded Warrior 2014

Wounded Warrior 2014-41

The 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior fishing day had wonderful weather on Claytor Lake as veterans and their families came to participate in a fishing tournament and take their families on boat rides.  All branches of our Armed Forces were on hand.  The event was organized by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Claytor Lake State Park, and the Virginia Wounded Warrior Project.  Sponsors of the event included The Friends of Claytor Lake, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Virginia State Police, Region 4 TBF(Bass Federation) And their significant others, Claytor Lake State Park, Wal-Mart, FOCL, VFW Post 776, Volvo, Rorrer Well Drilling, Fenton Well Drilling, Country Kitchen, American Legion 58, Anglers Envy, Preferred Pumps, Boy Scout Troop 48, and Frito Lay. Over 100 veterans and their families came out to enjoy a morning on the water and treated to lunch catered by Country Kitchen along with gift bags and prizes awarded.

FOCL’s 2014 Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting 2014-05


The Friends of Claytor Lake, along with our supporters, got together at the Claytor Lake State Park to talk about all the events, projects, and information surrounding the lake in 2014.  Guest Speaker was Lee Wensel of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  FOCL discussed new events as well as the drawdown schedule for early November of this year. Water Quality, Hydrilla, and especially Sedimentation were of key importance in today’s meeting.