Local businessmen established the Smith Mountain Lake Association in 1969. The organization was more of a business council that wished to establish a beneficial link between the lake’s recreational opportunities and the neophyte business community. But by 1970 SMLA’s focus shifted to environmental protection and community life issues – very similar to the environmental shift observed around our country. With linking to the local economy still in the forefront, SMLA focused on ensuring the lake remained an attractive place to live, work and visit. The Smith Mountain Lake Association currently is the largest and oldest volunteer organization on the Lake with over 1,100 members who support their resources and dedicate their time to ensure Smith Mountain Lake not only survives the pressures of growth, but also improves the Lake’s environmental quality as time marches on.
The Association will represent its members on issues that affect Smith Mountain Lake and its watershed. Members’ interests will be advocated throughout the watershed and the Commonwealth, using education and information as the means to influence constructive outcomes.
SMLA Leadership: All volunteers, many of which have had experience in performing or managing environmental programs, lead SMLA. They all have their roots in leading industries, government organizations, and non-profit firms. SMLA firmly believes in the “check and balance” system as well as the KISS principle. Consequently, SMLA projects are run efficiently and with clear purpose.
How SMLA Helps the Lake
WHAT WE HAVE DONE: OVER ITS 45-YEAR LIFE SPAN SMLA WORKED TIRELESSLY FOR A PROMISING FUTURE FOR SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – A PLACE THAT YOU HAVE ENJOYED.
We know SML: For the past 32 years SMLA has monitored key factors that determine the health of the Lake. In partnership with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Appalachian Power Company, Western Virginia Water Authority, Bedford Regional Water Authority, and Ferrum College, SMLA and its volunteers, SMLA executes one of the most successful water monitoring programs in the nation. The results of this program, and others, have provided the data that allows SMLA and the Tri County Lakes Administrative Commission, which represents Franklin, Bedford, and Pittsylvania Counties, to make informed, science-based decisions regarding lake regulations, restrictions and best practices – all designed to ensure that you enjoy Smith Mountain Lake and all that it provides.
We Identify Vulnerabilities and Respond to Threats: Staying ahead of vulnerabilities and anticipated threats ensures our Lake remains clear and safe.
Over the years, Smith Mountain Lake has been exposed to a variety of environmental pressures that had negatively impacted the Lake. Here are a few:
In the early 1970’s SML was exposed to a constant inflow of untreated sewage. SMLA worked with the City of Roanoke and Roanoke Up River Commission to coordinate a plan that included updating the Roanoke Sewage Treatment facility.
The housing boom in the 80’s that brought increased runoff of fertilizers and sediments. SMLA promoted the development and sales of Phosphorus-free fertilizers that is now available in most all garden shops. This element is most responsible for algae production and noxious weed growth.
To facilitate the common needs of the surrounding three counties and to better effect local legislation, SMLA lobbied the three counties (Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania) to create the Policy Advisory Board–now named the Tri-County Lake Administrative Commission (TLAC).
In partnership with TLAC, operated the Weed Monitoring/Control Program that introduced grass carp to the lake to eradicate invasive hydrilla.
Raised awareness of the negative impact of high phosphorus fertilizer around the lake and the Roanoke, Salem and Vinton watershed – a significant influence towards promoting the sale of phosphorus-free fertilizers in VA.
The recent controversy over the potential impacts of the Mountain Valley Pipeline required SMLA volunteer scientists to identify the threats from a science and data framework, as well as offering solutions to mitigate these vulnerabilities.
On the horizon: Changes in our nation’s and State’s policies, technologies, growth and demographics, coupled with weather patters and other “unknowns”, require SMLA to identify them, understand their impact, and respond accordingly.
SMLA Programs – Working for and with You: SMLA Programs come and go with the requirements, Strategic Plan, and available funding. The following are the current active Programs:
Environmental Education – Educating our residents and youth to the environmental concerns and solutions that affect our Lake.
Adult and Youth Education – Reminding our residents to environmental sensitivities of the Lake and orienting them to our neighborhood youth.
Buffer Landscaping – Introducing Native Vegetation on the shoreline to help filter nutrients and sedimentation.
Septic System Education – Helping Lake residents to understand the hazards of a compromised septic system to the Lake and how to best manage the system.
Invasive Species – Developing and implementing scientifically based solutions to reduce or eliminate non-native vegetation and aquatic species that can strangle our Lake and make it unusable.
Lake Cleanup – Working with volunteers, both SMLA members and non-members to remove tree limbs and manufactured debris from coves and shorelines.
Save Our Streams –Sampling benthic organisms in tributaries to assess the health of water entering the Lake.
Water Level Monitoring – Understanding the various factors associated with how water inflow/outflow affects lake level.
Water Safety Council – Providing a variety of services to Lake boaters and swimmers designed to keep your summer fun safe.
Water Quality Monitoring – Sampling select water quality factors to assess the trophic level ensure clear water for all to enjoy.
Vessel Pump out – Providing free marine head pump outs for Lake boaters to minimize accidental release of human effluents into our water.
Contact Smith Mountain Lake Association
REMINDER: This listing is a free service of VirginiaLandCAN.
Smith Mountain Lake Association is not employed by or affiliated with the Virginia Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.
Contact Smith Mountain Lake Association
400 Scruggs Rd.
Moneta, VA 24121
Services provided in:
- Bedford County, Virginia
- Franklin County, Virginia
- Pittsylvania County, Virginia