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Jones watches over the lake

Cynthia Jones sits on her dock and gazes out at the water.
Her love for Lake Norman shows itself in her resume of extensive volunteer work.
As the lakekeeper for Lincoln County, Jones cannot count the ways in which she would like to work to keep Lake Norman a better place to live.
“I am too sensitive; I see all the problems that affect me and it gets my brain going. I have more ideas than I have time for,” Jones said.
Some of the problems that Jones’s sees include development on the lake, sedimentation issues and other violations.
An artist at heart, Jones believes that her artwork has led her to do this.
Although she does not do as much painting and drawing as she would like to now, the artwork she has done reflects many natural scenes. She enjoys doing night paintings, sunrises and moonrises. She remembers sitting in parks under streetlights when she lived in Florida, painting the surroundings. She also enjoyed painting scenes in her hometown of Kansas.
A Denver resident since 1993, she got interested in lake issues five years ago.
“I am not much of a public speaker. I don’t like to be on stage, but it has to be done,” she said.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is what got her started. She took a year-long class to become a covekeeper with many other people in order to keep an eye on the lake.
The group meets once a month.
Each county has a lakekeeper, and Jones took on the title for Lincoln County two years ago.
Jones said she sees many people who are interested in becoming covekeepers but can’t find the time to take the extensive training.
The group is now working on forming the “water watchers,” which will provide training in a shorter amount of time.
In April the covekeepers will hand out “buffer awards” again, something Jones started.
Awards are handed out to properties on the lake that have a natural forest buffer on their shoreline.
On awarded properties, from 30 feet from the shoreline no trees larger than three inches can be cut. The land cannot be bulldozed, plowed or trimmed. It must be left in its vegetative state.
The covekeepers search around Lake Norman to find the lucky winners.
Jones’ background as a master gardener in a horticultural group in Charlotte has helped her learn about many lake issues.
“My idea is to educate people. I am not sure people know about the many fines,” she said.
Jones and her husband, Mike, spend many hours on the lake in their kayaks and canoes observing the shoreline.
She videotaped one cove in its natural state. Then later, when she went back she saw how it all had been developed. The end of the cove had been bulldozed to the water and all the trees had been removed.
“I hate to look at it — it made me sad,” she said.
Many of these issues lead to problems such as sedimentation.
The huge developments that are in hilly areas can cause water run-off into the lake. Without the trees, unwanted erosion also known as soil and other materials can run into the lake. It is one of the largest pollutants of area waterways.
Jones sees people as close to her such as her neighbors that are causing this type of pollution.
In Lincoln County, a committee made up of members of Building and Land Development staff and several covekeepers has been formed to consider a proposed ordinance. It will help combat the problem to help maintain the overall natural condition of the shoreline.
“It’s a big issue. We need the government to help us have rules for sedimentation to protect citizens from what happens to the property next to them,” she said.
For more information visit www.LakeNormanKeepers.com. To report a violation call 1-87-RIVERKEEPER.
by Amy Wadsworth

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