What is going on?
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.
Due to the events of the Corona Virus Pandemic, The Friends of Claytor Lake will be conducting a month long clean up campaign! Help us #Keepclaytorclean!
Need bags? Let us know!
You can email your bag count to email@example.com to be counted towards clean up efforts. General participants can pick up a 2021 All Lake Clean Up T Shirt at the FOCL office, or at Edward Jones in Radford! Prizes for the most bags collected will be given out at the July 31 Annual Meeting at the State Park 9-12pm.
A new federal law goes into effect on April 1 for boat operators on federal waterways. This law does include Claytor Lake.
The law requires the operator of a boat with an installed Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) to use the ECOS link while operating on all federally navigable waterways.
The link is usually a coiled bungee cord lanyard clipped onto the operator’s person, personal floatation device or clothing and the other end attached to the cut-off switch, but there are plenty of variations on the market, including electronic wireless devices.
When an operator is wearing a link while underway, the engine will cut-off if the operator is separated from the operating area, an occurrence that can happen if the operator is ejected from the vessel or falls within the vessel. The shutdown of the engine is essential for safety reasons. If the operator is ejected from the vessel, the shutdown may prevent the operator from impacting the vessel’s spinning propeller, and may aid the operator in safely returning to the drifting vessel.
The intent of these new laws is to improve safety for all recreational boaters by reducing the potential for propeller injuries to recreational vessel operators, other users of the nation’s waterways, and marine law enforcement officers responsible for responding to runaway boats. Boats with motors less than 3 horsepower are excluded from the law.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authority to enforce federal law on the federal reservoirs, the U.S. Coast Guard patrol has the authority to enforce federal law on the border rivers.
Over 30 volunteers converged on the Claytor Lake State Park to help the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ John Copeland in the annual Christmas For the Fishes Program. Support from The Friends of Claytor Lake, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Appalachian Power helped build new fish habitat from an amazing 455 donated Christmas Trees. All the created habitat was distributed in areas of the lake surround the Claytor Lake State Park.
Want to help for next year? Donate your Christmas tree and come on out to help everyone put them in place.
Special Thanks to John Copeland for organizing this yearly event and to Ryan Stubblebine and Brody Havens for all the tree collection and preparation work involved. Thanks to the boat Captains for keeping your passengers safe: Jeff Arnold, Brody Havens, Bill Kittrell, George Palmer, and Jeff Williams. Thanks to Laura Walters for preparing the lunch chili and goodies. Thanks to Laura Bullard for setting up the lunch for us. Thanks to Steve Gregory for coordinating the DGIF Complementary Workforce volunteers. Thanks to the New River Valley Master Naturalist volunteers who came out as well!
Laura Bullard The Friends of Claytor Lake
This year Laura Bullard was named FOCL’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year for her years of dedicated service to the lake community and her unwavering support of FOCL’s mission. Not only serving as FOCL’s Secretary but putting in the time for its numerous programs and projects including working with our partners on the Shoreline Management Plan, Drawdown, and Mussel Salvage. Claytor Lake owes her an enormous debt of gratitude.
Appalachian Power Company, at the request of The Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL) and in consultation with local government, and state and federal agencies, has scheduled a five foot drawdown of Claytor Lake in November to enable property owners to do maintenance and clean up along the lake\’s shoreline. Drawdown activities usually involve debris clean up, repairs to shoreline structures, and shoreline stabilization. We urge you to take advantage of this five foot drawdown as drawdowns are now typically scheduled for only three feet every other year.
The drawdown is scheduled to begin at one foot per day on Monday morning, November 4, until the lake reaches its full drawdown depth of five feet (1841 elevation) by Saturday morning, November 9. The lake is to remain five feet down until Sunday p.m., November 17, when refilling will begin. Depending on inflow, the lake is targeted to return to its normal level by Friday p.m., November 22.
As mitigation for impacts to aquatic species, lake property owners are asked to help salvage mussels during drawdown by walking along their shorelines and gently tossing stranded mussels five or ten feet back into the water. (Please note that only mussels, and not the small Asian clams need to be salvaged.) A mussel salvage event planned for Saturday morning, November 9, will also organize volunteers to salvage mussels at specified locations around the lake.
For the continuation of drawdown, it is critical we collect information on how many landowners use drawdown, and how many mussels are salvaged during drawdown. For that reason, we have included a drawdown response card for you to complete and mail to FOCL. You may also go online to FOCL\’s website at www.focl.org and provide the information electronically on the form provided there. Please note that name, lake and email addresses are optional. It is important, however, that we capture the amount and type of drawdown work done, number of mussels salvaged and an approximate length of shoreline if available.
The Friends of Claytor Lake will be mailing all homeowners this information along with a survey card closer to the drawdown date. Please be sure to either fill out that card and mail back in or fill out the form that will be posted on our site in November.
Last night The Friends of Claytor Lake started with newly elected President Steve Rapp. As his first order of business, Steve thanked Cheri Strenz for all her years of service and as President of FOCL gifting her a military style challenge coin for Veteran\’s Fishing Day and flowers. Cheri, having grown up on Claytor Lake, has been part of FOCL since 2007 and serving as President for the past 4 years. Her dedication to FOCL and Claytor Lake has led her to be very instrumental in FOCL\’s direction and success. Cheri will continue to serve on FOCL\’s board and work on all the programs and projects FOCL performs every year for Claytor Lake.
Dredging has now become available for property owners on Claytor Lake. Thanks to the diligence of 15 residents in the upper part of Claytor Lake, a dredging company has been contracted from Lake Norman in North Carolina to facilitate all the permitting and dredging operations.
In conjunction with this year’s upcoming drawdown, now is the time to get involved with this group and your neighbors to contract dredging in your areas.
For info or help submitting your dredging permit contact:
The Army Corp of Engineers has designated any siltation or vegetation that has topped out above the water level as wetlands. These areas can not be dredged when considering your area for permitting.
The Friends of Claytor Lake held their annual All Lake Clean Up Day today which was a major success. So many great people, who enjoy Claytor Lake, took part in helping remove trash from its shoreline.
While our clean up program focuses on debris around the lake, it is always great to have those who help collect trash from the water and shoreline. Some of these items can take thousands of years to decompose which is why collecting these helps keep our lake beautiful and as pollution free as possible.