On Saturday, July 31 2021, FOCL held it’s annual meeting for 2020-21 at the state park. 56 attendees were present during the year in review of FOCL activities and clean up. There were recognitions given out and merchandise available! Huge thank you to our partners, prize donors, (Mtn. 2 Island, Conrad Brother’s Marine, Cheri Strenz, Laura Walters, Pat & Cecil Doyle) vendors, (Lindy’s Catering & state park) and attendees!
Clean Up Report: Despite a difficult year with 5 storm events, Clean-Up Supervisor Dave Dobyns reported that clean-up operations had a record year in 2020, collecting 350 roll offs (5,250 tons) of woody debris, 30 tires with rims, 64 bags of trash, 6 barrels, and 4 docks. For 2021, a new Volvo excavator has been purchased, and a new 25’X6’X3′ push barge with two 150hp motors has been designed and purchased. Ms. Pulaski, the 36′ 1984 surplus Navy push boat that has long been used for clean-up is not currently operational because of needing new motors. Clean-up has 6 crew members and to date for 2021 they have collected 179 roll offs (2,685 tons) of woody debris, 31 tires with rims, 111 bags of trash, 3 barrels, 6 docks, 1 round hay bale, and 1 long ramp.
2019 Annual Meeting Minutes were approved by acclamation.
Election: Laura Walters announced the names of FOCL Directors up for re-election and opened the floor for additional nominees. Dean Jackson, Jeff Arnold, Dave Dobyns, Cheri Strenz, Bill Cunningham and Steve Rapp were re-elected by acclamation.
Habitat & Water Quality: Laura Walters announced that 15 to 20 Mossback fish habitat structures were installed off the Claytor Lake State Park’s (CLSP) shoreline in 2020. Water quality monitoring is an on-going activity and help is needed one time a month for sample collection. FOCL will provide training. Clear Creek Water Works handles sample analysis. Water quality in 2020 was good except after major floods. FOCL, in conjunction with John Copeland of VA’s Dept of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and Joan Blankenship of Bass Nation, is working with Pulaski Co. High School to grow eel grass for planting in the lake. The hot weather has caused some striper kills this summer; let FOCL know if you see any and we will inform DWR. Steve recognized Ralph and Martha Harvey for helping with water quality monitoring, and emphasized the need for help. In response to questions: the lake’s water quality has improved over the last 20 years; fresh water sponges in the lake are a sign of clean water. The water is tested for clarity, nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, e-coli, phosphorus & chlorophyll-a.
Safety & Courtesy Campaign: Cheri Strenz shared about FOCL’s campaign to promote safety and courtesy on the lake. Since Boater Safety Week in May, Ciara has posted laws and tips online at focl.org, and has developed rack cards that are now available for distribution. Ciara also shared information about a new boat salvage and emergency response service, Bourne Marine, that is available on the lake.
Drawdown & Mussel Salvage: Laura Bullard announced that AEP is requesting approval from FERC for a 5 foot drawdown scheduled for 9 a.m. Sat Nov 6 through 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov 14, to allow property owners to conduct debris cleanup, structural repairs and shoreline stabilization. The drawdown will start at 1:30 p.m. Wed Nov 3 at 1.6′ per day until the lake is down 5 feet by 9 a.m. Sat, Nov. 6. The target return to normal full pond is 10 p.m. Friday Nov 19, depending on inflow. Permits (from AEP, Pulaski Co, and/or Army Corps of Engineers) are required for dock modifications/expansions, new shoreline stabilization and vegetation removal. AEP applications are available on claytorhydro.com. The next drawdown in 2023 will likely be 3′. Because it is important to collect information on the use of drawdown, Laura asked that everyone respond to post cards that will be sent out about drawdown use; the card will also be available to fill out online. Mussel mitigation is also important and property owners are encouraged to walk along shorelines during drawdown, counting and gently tossing stranded mussels into the water; the number of mussels returned to the water should also be included on response cards. A volunteer mussel salvage event will be held on Sat morning, Nov 6; volunteers will gather at CLSP or DeHaven Park to go by boat or foot to shorelines where they will count and return mussels to the water. Participation is encouraged.