The Smith Mountain Lake Association plans to have its annual membership meeting online once again this year. The public meeting is set to be over Zoom on Sept. 23.
The meeting was moved online earlier this month as the number of COVID-19 cases grew in the area. The meeting originally was set for Trinity Ecumenical Parish.
SMLA President John Rupnik said the decision to move the meeting online for a second year was disappointing. He admitted to looking forward to speaking with the community in person once again. In past years new members have joined the SMLA after speaking one on one with other members, he said.
Despite the online format, Rupnik said the meeting will continue much like it was originally planned with an overview of SMLA’s efforts to protect the water of SML and promote safe and responsible recreation. This year the lake had some positive trends—especially when it comes to water quality.
For the first time in several years, the SMLA’s water quality monitoring program found no high levels of E.coli at any point during the testing conducted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rupnik said no reports of high E.coli levels is likely due to less heavy rains this year that often cause runoff into the lake, although he said he is optimistic that it is also due to people in the community using less fertilizer on their lawns, planting buffer gardens and properly disposing of waste in boats.
The results from this year’s water quality monitoring program will be presented by Delia Heck with Ferrum College.
While water quality has shown some improvements, safety on the water has not. So far this year, 18 boating incidents have been reported on the lake, tying it for the most in nearly a decade. Rupnik said the SMLA plans to continue efforts through the SML Water Safety Council to educate boaters on how to be safe on the water.
Also participating in this year’s SMLA meeting is Del. Kathy Byron. She will be providing the keynote address for the meeting discussing the lake community and the SMLA.
In addition to presentations, winners will be revealed for the Karl Martin Safety award, Spirit of the Lake award and the Melvin S Johnston award.
The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Attendees must register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_j6grNOdRS-a-P2JzrG-wCg to view the meeting. Participants can also ask questions following presentations.