Covekeepers continue to keep Lake Norman clean.
The Covekeepers invited the public and county officials to come out on their monthly patrol of Lake Norman last Thursday.
Taking four boats out onto the lake, Covekeepers pointed out areas with good and poor buffer zones, low water levels, sedimentation, dredge material and new construction.
The Covekeepers is one of the five locally based Covekeeper Programs created under the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.
Established in 1997, the mission of the non-profit foundation is to secure protection and enhancement of the Catawba River, its lakes, tributaries and watershed.
â€œThe biggest problems are chemical runoff from pesticides and sedimentation from land practices,â€ said Sylvia Holmes, a Covekeeper of Denver.
Many developers come to Lake Norman and donâ€™t realize the responsibility of living on the shoreline. Geese and ducks have laid eggs on boats because their natural habitat has been destroyed.
â€œThereâ€™s lots of illegal clearing done and we try to keep an eye on new construction and buffer zones,â€ Covekeeper Jay Bunzey said.
Buffers are vegetated strips of land that border creeks, rivers and lakes. They help to filter sediment and other pollutants from rainwater that flows from the land into the waterways.
â€œBuffers are good for animal habitats,â€ said Bunzey. â€œThey provide food for ducks and shade to cool the water.â€
Covekeepers are assigned specific territories of Lake Norman. Sewage, fuel spills, algae, dead fish, odors, new construction and buffer zones are among the many things the Covekeepers look for. Keepers patrol the lake at least twice a month April through September and once a month October through March.
Since the organizationâ€™s formation, it has been quite successful in maintaining the upkeep of Lake Norman and its islands.
In 2006, Lake Norman Covekeepers completed a three-year development process, and in partnership with the Lincoln County government wrote a new county-wide soil erosion and sedimentation control ordinance.
â€œSediments kill little creatures,â€ said Covekeeper Cynthia Jones. â€œthen other fish end up not having a food source.â€
The main purpose of the ordinance is to regulate certain land distributing activity to control erosion and sedimentation in order to prevent pollution and other damages to the lake.
â€œWe are trying to put out strong restrictions,â€ said Mike Jones, member of the Lincoln County Environmental Review Board. â€œWeâ€™ve been working long and hard.â€
Lake Norman Covekeepers also manage an Island Keeper Program that has removed trash from 42 of Lake Normanâ€™s islands since 2002.
The Covekeepers spent 219 man-hours removing 9,040 pounds of trash.
â€œLake Norman is a big lake and itâ€™s important to keep our water source clean,â€ Holmes said.
If you see anything illegal or harmful to Lake Norman, the Covekeepers encourage you to contact Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation.
For more information on Lake Norman Covekeepers, visit the organizationâ€™s website at www.lakenormankeepers.com.
by Sade Carter