Heavy rains create dangerous problems for boaters at Boone Lake

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Last week’s heavy rains introduced a new mess to Boone Lake, and the Boone Lake Association warns boaters to watch out for logs, trees and other debris that have been washed into the water. 

BLA President Val Kosmider said the lake is choked with debris after last week’s heavy rain brought lake levels up about seven feet. Those rising waters collected trash, logs and other wreckage lining the shores of the lake. 

The rains also brought in debris from the streams and rivers that feed into the lake, creating a big mess for the BLA’s cleaning crew to sift through. 

“If you’re out on the lake be careful, many of these logs are hidden, they’re sitting just below the surface,” Kosmider said. “They’re big logs from old trees, if you hit them, you’re going to be in big trouble.” 

Kosmider said the Tennessee Valley Authority raised lake levels about seven feet to test the recent work on the dam shortly before the rains. The TVA lowered the water in anticipation of the rains, and the water level bounced back up last week. 

Some of the trash collected around Rockingham Marina on Sunday morning to form a sludgy mess. Winds and water currents broke up the mass, and now cleaning crews are pulling the trash from the water while burning any large logs or trees. 

“This brought up water on banks that hadn’t seen it in a while, there was trash on them and it just floated everywhere,” BLA employee Kyle McKittrick said. “With the way the Doe River flows freely into Boone Lake, there’s nothing there to catch the trash. It piles up right here, and Boone Lake is the catch basin for it all. It keeps us busy.” 

The BLA employs three people to help care for the 600-square-mile watershed. The work is constant and ongoing, but heavy rain like last week makes increases the workload for Kyle McKittrick and the other two employees tasked with maintaining the lake. 

Keith Dancy, another employee who cleans the lake, said the amount of household trash they pull from the waters points to improper trash disposal that eventually makes it down to the lake. 

On one of the boats that the employees use to pick trash from the water is an empty plastic bottle filled with used syringes the men find in the water. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. 

“It’s household trash, it’s not lake trash, that’s the disturbing part about it,” Dancy said. “You can even tell where trash has been put into something, where they’ve tried to put it into something and compress it and put it in the right place, but it still ends up here.” 

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