Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How is the lake level being monitored and how can I determine the current lake level?

Answer: In conjunction the “Dam Repair” project, a USGS site was installed to monitor lake levels and post the information on their website. This information can be located at the following URL address:  here.

What are the roles and responsibility for the activities associated with BLHA Lake Restoration projects?

Answer: For 2013, BLHA has created four (4) sub-committees under Lake Restoration with the listed Board members chairing the associated committee. For further details contact the committee chair.

  • Sediment Removal – Wayne Mitsch: Coordinate with membership, property owners, contractors and permitting authorities to optimize the removal of sediment from selected coves based on available funding.
  • Fish Habitat – Steve Seitz:  Enhance structure on the lake bottom between zero to 20 foot below the full pool surface utilizing the guidelines and recommendation provided by the committee and approved by the BLHA Board.
  • Fish Restocking – Steve Seitz: Coordinate with local anglers / members, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fisheries Biologist to replenish the fish based on recommended stocking guidelines.
  • Shoreline Projects – Wayne Mitsch: Coordinate with property owners and contractors to schedule projects for general efficiencies along with optimizing the transport and use of any removed sediment.

What “Fundraising” activities are being considered?

Answer: This new BLHA Board position will coordinate with members, residents and businesses to raise funds in support of activities associated with Lake Restoration. The types of activities are in the early stages of being assessed. Several events are being considered over the next 18-24 month period. Further details will be communicated once proposals have been reviewed by the BLHA Board. Examples of activities include the following.

  • BLHA Sponsored Events
  • Purchase “An Acre of Fish” for $100 — Available Now
  • Establish a 501 (c) 3 for the Lake

FAQs – Habitat / Restocking:

  1. What can be done to improve fish habitat?

Answer: The BLHA Board has established a committee to review best practices from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and will review options to construct fish habitat while the lake is lowered. Volunteers and donations (material and/or funds) are welcomed.

Information will be communicated in upcoming articles in the Reflections newsletter and will be posted on the website. Individuals interested in assisting are encouraged to contact the BLHA Board.

  1. What are the future plans for managing the lake?

Answers:

1. General Management: BLHA Board has proposals under review to take the lessons learned from decades of past management and incorporate best practices as recommended from SMEs. Information will be communicated in upcoming articles in the Reflections newsletter along with being posted on the website. Individuals interested in assisting are encouraged to contact the BLHA Board.

2. Dam Repair Phase: The City and BLHA worked together to manage the removal of fish from the lake to accommodate the construction phase. This has assisted BLHA with plans for the restocking of the lake.

  1. What Lake / Fish Management Practices are documented for the lake?

Answer: Refer to information provided by previous BLHA Boards on Lake Restocking proposal. Further review is underway by the current BLHA Board and active committee members.

a.       Are these available on line to review?

Answer: Not presently, investigations are in process by committee members and volunteers. Standby for Reflections Newsletter articles to provide further details on this topic.

  1. Do residents need a fishing license to fish on Berkeley Lake?

Answer: Berkeley Lake is a private lake and BLHA Members and their guest do not require a FISHING LICENSE to fish on the lake.

  1. What are BLHA best practices for management of the lake?

Answer: The BLHA Board has worked with Lake Management Specialist over the past 15 years to maintain a safe and healthy lake. With the lowering of the lake, specific activities were suspended, while others were continued and overall plans for future management are being considered. Standby for Reflections Newsletter articles to provide further details on this topic.

  1. Has the Lake Management practices changed over the past 20 years or expected to change going forward?

Answer: Yes, Prior to the mid 90’s BLHA members maintained the lake by adding lime, fertilizer along with active fishing to work at maintaining a balance in the fish populations. Over the past 12-14 years a trend toward use of Lake Management firms / biologists have been used to adopt changing practices and supplement the volunteers. Standby for Reflections Newsletter articles to provide further details on this topic.

Note: Berkeley Lake does not have a natural limestone deposit as many lakes in the southeast. As such, to perform recent practices, 100 tons of lime was added every 3-4 years to maintain the proper Ph balance to activate any fertilizers that were added to the lake.

  1. What are the restocking requirements / plans for the Lake?

Answer: Refer to the Lake Restocking Plans. Starting in February 2013 BLHA has contracted with DNR to stock an industry recommended volume of fish. This will be supplemented by other fish not offered by DNR. Refer to the Fish Restocking area under information for further details.

  1. Can I place a “Fish Feeder” on my dock?

Answer: Yes, BLRC committee is investigating different types of feeders to align with individual interests, i.e., size, price range, features … etc. Some options are listed on this website under Information / Lake Restoration. Further details will be sent to those expressing interests.

  1. What factors are included in creating the Lake Management budget?

Answer: Maintaining the lake with regards to public safety inclusive of water testing, removal of navigational hazards, fish management, and removal of unwanted plant material along with generally maintaining a balance for use by all members.

  1. Has the BLHA Board performed a Lake Maintenance Analysis to review options on cost vs. benefits for maintaining the lake?

Answer: Yes, A previous BLHA Board has prepared an assessment which provides cost estimates over a five (5) year period. Recommendations are included in the study that would change the past practices, lower cost and viewed to maintain a balance for both anglers and recreational users.

  1. Has the BLHA Board documented a restocking proposal with cost – benefits statement?

Answer: Yes, a previous BLHA Board has prepared a proposal based on receiving financial estimates and best practices recommendation from three resources. This has been updated and is being implemented for the 2013 fish restocking project.

  1. How are funds to be secured for the various approved projects?

Answer: Through “volunteer” membership dues and incremental donations from members along with any outside support groups and/or firms.

    1. Can individuals / companies donate funds? — Answer: YES
    2. If so, how are the funds tracked for specific purposes — Answer:  BLHA Treasurer marks any special donations for its intended use and tracks accordingly until funds are needed.
  1. How much funding has been set aside for fish restocking?

Answer: The BLHA Board has $8,000 budgeted for 2013 – 2014. This will be off-set by any individual donations with unused funds being reallocated to other priority projects.

  1. What have been the expenses for Lake Management over the past 5 years?

Answer: With the lake in a lowered state, BLHA has had limited expenses for the traditional areas of responsibilities. Funds have been designated for other priorities.

  1. Is BLHA planning to allow invitational fishing tournaments?

Answer: Recommended – BLHA Boards have consider the option to have limited fishing tournaments (4 / Year) with controlled access to select anglers (Electric Bass / Fly Fishing Clubs) to manage to fish populations and provide revenues to support Lake / Fish management objectives. No decision has been made and will continue to be discussed by the BLHA Board.

  1. What would be the reason for allowing invitational fishing tournaments?

Answer: Maintain a healthy balance in fish population to recommended limits and secure revenues to offset lake management expenses.

  1. Why were the fish removed from the lake? How many fish were removed?

Answers: This was a condition within the City of Berkeley Lake’s contract for Dam repairs

  • All fish in Berkeley Lake shall be removed in a quick and legal manner.
  • The table below depicts the type and quantity of fish that were relocated to other lakes and ponds.

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  1. What type of fish are to be stocked and why?

Answer: Preliminary plan subject to BLHA Board approval

  1. Bream/Bluegill:              Forage fish for the Bass
  2. Fat Head Minnows:        Forage fish for the Bass
  3. Channel Catfish:            Recommended by DNR
  4. Bass Northern / F1:       Supported as idea game “angling” fish for Georgia’s lakes.
  5. Sterile Grass Carp:        Control of vegetative grow in shallow areas and limits the use of chemicals.

19.  What will happen to the other aquatic species (Turtles, Mussels … etc.)

Answer: In response to this question Lake Biologist state when the lake is lower, turtles are expected to crawl out and relocate to other water sources, ponds and rivers. Mussels, an indication of a healthy lake are expected to remain in the lake bottom sediment and will re-establish themselves when lake levels return.

  1. What will be done to limit the plant growth on the lake bottom

Answer: BLHA Board is reviewing this topic to assess the management plan for next spring. Lakeshore residents are encouraged to trim weeds as many residents have maintained their shoreline over the past three years. When the lake returns to full pool the BLHA Board / Shoreline Resident will be focused on removal of growth in the top ten (10) feet.  Further details will be provided as lake starts to be filled.

  1. What lake management practices are being planned and how do they differ from past practices?

Answer: Preliminary information is available from previous BLHA Board assessments. This subject will continue to be reviewed with plans to communicate information through articles in the Reflections Newsletter.

  1. What are the key points and impacts for managing the fish population?

Answer: Once the fish population is re-established (3-5 years) the need for active anglers is critical to harvest bass from the lake to avoid the over population that has been present for the past 12-15 years.

BLHA Board has reviewed options to maintain the management goals while optimizing budget items. Reference the Fish / Lake Management Study for further details. This subject will be a topic of communication in upcoming Reflections Newsletters.

  1. Why is fish habitat being discussed for the lake?

Answer:  In viewing the shoreline you will notice there is very limited structure for fish to hide. A BLHA – Community project is intended to improve the lake for aquatic species and support key mandates for maintaining a healthy lake ecosystem for animal below and above the surface. Standby for upcoming, “Reflection”, articles to provide further details.

  1. What type of fish habitat is being placed in the lake?

Answer: The BLHA Lake Restoration Committee (BLRC) has reviewed best practices and engaging lake management professionals to consult on this and other topics. This subject will continue to be reviewed with plans to communicate information to the community through the Reflections Newsletter.

  1. What is considered debris vs. natural habitat?

Answer: The BLHA Lake Restoration Committee (BLRC) has assessed this question as the lake is lowered and the bottom is exposed to see what is available. Some areas (Fallen Trees) will be noted as habitat while other will be considered a navigational hazard and/or safety concerns BLRC has provided rules to provide guidelines to members. This will be communicated to the community through the Reflections Newsletter.

  1. Is there a document that summarizes the lake’s ecosystem to list what is around and under the lake?

Answer: Limited, Berlekey Lake residents / members are working to prepare such a document. Standby for upcoming, “Reflection”, articles to provide further details and to volunteers if you are interested.

  1. Why are Sterile Grass Carp added to the lake?

Answer: To manage the growth of vegetation in shallow areas as opposed to applying chemicals. These fish do not reproduce and last from 7-12 years before they need to be restocked. Recently (April 2012), we removed several grass carp 40-60 lbs that were estimated to be 10-12 years old.

  1. Are there BLHA committees for assisting with Lake Management (Sediment Removal / Fish Habitat / Restocking)?

Answer: Yes, BLHA Board establishes various committees when needed. Some committees are ongoing from year to year and offer individuals an opportunity to become familiar with the management of the lake. Some individual go onto to become active Board members with increased responsibilities.

  • Lake Management- Sediment Removal: Chaired by Wayne Mitsch,
  • Lake Management- Fish Habitat / Restocking: Chaired by Steven Seitz
    1. Are there plans I can look at? Answer:  Yes … Contact the BLHA Board or assigned Chairperson
    2. How can I volunteer / assist? Answer:  Contact the BLHA Board or assigned Chairperson
  1. Will BLHA have a committee or coordinate with shoreline residents / members on oversight / planning activity to carry out construction and repair work on docks, seawalls …etc.?

Answer: Yes … Wayne Mitsch is Chairing a committee “Shoreline Project” to assist in managing activities. If you are planning to perform work and/or interested in assisting, please contact a Board member.

  1. Will the BLHA parking lot elevation / entrance be changed? If so, how will it be changed?

Answer: Very limited changes are expected, noting all work remains to be completed. Contact BLHA Grounds Maintenance for further details.

  1. Will docks / boathouses be inspected by the City’s OEO?

Answer: Yes, Requests have been submitted by BLHA members to ensure structures have been inspected for safety and flagged for any necessary repairs in order to allow repairs to be performed in a cost effective / timely manner.

  1. What are the plans for the dead trees around the lake shoreline?

Answer: BLHA has authorized to have the OEO coordinate with BLHA and property owners along the shoreline to fell trees into the lake. City OEO to inspect / issue permit to remove

  1. Will the City / BLHA allow managed burn piles on the lake bottom?

Answer: Yes, a permit is also required from Gwinnett County Fire Marshall.

  1.  I have a dead tree on my property near the shoreline.
        1. Can I drop the tree in the lake?
        2. Can I cut up a tree and have a controlled burning?
        3. What permits and/or permission / notification do I need to address?

Answer: Probably, Contact the City OEO to inspect / issue permit

  1.  Will there be an organized effort to remove debris from the lake bottom.

Answer: Yes, BLHA volunteers have cut most trees / brush in the east end of the lake. Further activities are planned, contact the BLHA Board for further details.

FAQs – Sediment Removal / Relocation

36.     If my property line extends into the lake as a result of past erosion, can I reclaim the property by securing the shoreline with a retaining (seawall) wall?

Answer: Most Likely, Property owners are to contact BLHA Board and City OEO for further details as each area needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

37.   What permit is required to perform work either on the lake bottom adjacent to my property or associated with a seawall?

Answer: At a minimum, a City of Berkeley Lake “Land Disturbance Permit (LDP) and more if it is higher than four (4) feet. Note if you are going to be performing work on the lake bed a Liability Waiver” will need to be provided to BLHA.

38.   What type of information needs to be sent to either the City and/ or BLHA for removal of sediment and/or to perform work around the shoreline?

Answer: Contact the City of Berkeley Lake OEO for further details regarding your specific project.

  1. Do I need to have additional liability insurance or will my standard personal homeowner’s policy be sufficient.

Answer:  Perhaps, Check with your insurance carrier to review your coverage. Some individuals have an Umbrella Liability Policy to increase their limits.

  1. Do I need to sign any additional liability waivers or provide proof of insurance?

Answer:  Yes, BLHA Board require a signed waiver listing your insurance carrier / policy number. Individuals are encouraged to contact their carriers to discuss the need for an Umbrella Liability Policy to increase limits for specific activities

41.   Can a property owner along the lake remove sediment from the lake bottom? What steps do property owners needs to take?

Answer: Yes, However Property Owners are required to contact the BLHA Board to review your plans and to provide further information, if deemed necessary.

  1. Will BLHA allow access to the lake bottom to have work performed and / or material removed?

Answer: Yes, However Property Owners are required to contact the BLHA Board to review your plans and to provide further information, if deemed necessary.