Aquatic Invasive Species Legislation

Aquatic Invasive Species Legislation

Legislation is needed to address the lack of enforceable regulations regarding the launch and operation of boats that have been exposed to aquatic invasive species (AIS). The Policy Review Board* has formed a committee managed by Eric Null and Bob Browning. The Assistant States Attorney assigned to Deep Creek Lake has agreed to help craft the legislation. At this time the costs to the Foundation are unknown. The project partially fulfills Goal 3 of the Watershed Management Plan.

*  The Policy Review Board (PRB) is a Maryland State Board which is charged with advising the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on matters relating to lake fees, budget and management. In addition, the PRB and DNR were mandated to issue a Deep Creek Lake Recreation and Land Use Plan by June 2001 that provides for the wise use, protection and management of the natural and recreational resources of Deep Creek Lake. More information about the PRB can be found at the website for the Department of Natural Resources.

Precipitation Gauge Array Completion

Precipitation Gauge Array Completion

Two new recording precipitation gauges will augment the USGS recording gauge at North Glade Run and afford reasonably good precipitation records. An analysis of the lake levels USGS measures on our behalf compared to the precipitation will show the relationship of groundwater recharge. The first gauge will be added to the stream flow measurement at Hoyes Run near the power plant. The second will be added to the gauge at Cherry Creek. The installation cost is $8,155 each, and the annual operation and maintenance cost is $4,575 each. The project partially fulfills Goal 12 of the Watershed Management Plan.

10-10 Shoreline Vegetation Project

10-10 Shoreline Vegetation Project

The goal of the 10 in 10 Project is to reforest the buffer strip along the Lake shore with at least 10% of woody vegetation in 10 years using native trees shrubs and ground covers.  A demonstration project in partnership with the Lake Management/DNR office at Deep Creek Lake State Park will be displayed along the 300 yard strip of waterfront to the right of the Launch Dock.  This display will serve as a prototype. The purpose for a vegetated barrier is not just to prevent erosion but also to protect the water quality and shore and stream habitat.

Visitors to this site will find a meandering path and signage that identifies suggested landscaping plants all designed to enhance lake views while creating a healthy shoreline.  Participation of property owners is voluntary. Other community partners include Property Owners Association (POA), various civic groups and Ashley Bechtel-Bodkins, one of our advisors and a Senior Agent at University of Maryland Extension Office in Garett County who will be involved with the planning.

DCWF does not have a cost estimate at this time.  The 10 in 10 Project partially fulfills Goal 6 of the Watershed Management Plan.  The Plan will be posted here upon completion.

Support for Dock Launch Stewards

Support for Dock Launch Stewards

In partnership with the Lake Manager and Garrett College, we purchased jackets and inspection equipment for the launch stewards stationed at the State Park Launch Ramp. We have committed $1,000 per year to support this effort. This project partially fulfills Goal 1 of the Watershed Management Plan.

Install and Maintain Water Levels & Temperature Gauges

Install and Maintain Water Levels & Temperature Gauges

The installation was completed in August 2020 at the cost of about $6,000, and an annual
maintenance cost of about $9,000 since then. The United States Geologic Survey has installed
and maintained the gauges and is paid for by the Foundation. The data from these gauges are
available on our website and on the USGS website. These projects are in partial fulfillment of
Goal 1 of the Watershed Management Plan.

Installation was completed in August of 2020 at a cost of about $6,000 and an annual
maintenance cost of about $9,000 agreed to. The gauges have been installed and maintained by
the United States Geologic Survey and paid for by the Foundation. The data from these gauges
are available on our website and on the USGS website. These projects are in partial fulfillment
of Goal 1 of the Watershed Management Plan.

The level gauge and the temperature component require regular calibration and maintenance.
 The Foundation has committed to paying for the maintenance costs.

Eric Null, the Lake Manager, has noted the utility of continuous temperature monitoring for our
Eutrophic lake: “There are three basic types of lakes, Dystrophic, Eutrophic, and Oligotrophic.
Dystrophic lakes have no oxygen, while Eutrophic lakes have their greatest amounts of oxygen
at the surface. Oxygen then decreases as you increase depth. Oligotrophic Lakes have evenly
distributed oxygen. Oligotrophic lakes do not turn over seasonally, therefore, have a very low
nutrient concentration (infertile). Eutrophic lakes turnover seasonally due to their stratification
of oxygen, temperature, and nutrients.

This turnover is essential for life in a Eutrophic lake. Every spring as the temperature rises and
warms the water’s surface to the temperature of the bottom of the lake (lakes can stay 40+
degrees on the bottom during winter), the wind mixes the surface with the deeper water,  the
wind continues to mix the water until the top layer of water slides beneath the bottom layer. The
bottom becomes the top and brings all of the nutrients that fell to the bottom (dead organic
matter) to the surface of the lake where they can be processed by biological organisms. In fall,
the same event happens in reverse. As the surface water cools, it becomes denser and pushes the
warmer bottom water to the surface with all of the summer nutrients. These events cause cloudy
water that can be tinted green. The cloudiness is nutrients and the green are phytoplankton, the
beginning of the lake’s food chain.

These nutrients fuel life in the lake through the winter and the summer. Without the natural
turnover phenomenon, a Eutrophic or Mesotrophic (a high-quality eutrophic lake) lake could not
sustain life. Temperature is vital for fishing, especially during turnover. During turnover, the
surface’s temperature, nutrient, and oxygen concentration change dramatically for a week or two,
forcing fish to the bottom of a lake and suppressing their appetites. Also, temperature dictates
where certain fish species will be feeding in a lake. Temperature stratification of a lake in
summer is the key factor to fishing success.

Water Wise Program – Rain Barrels

Water Wise Program – Rain Barrels

This program is consistent with Deep Creek Watershed Plan Goal 6: Prevent erosion and sedimentation to the greatest extent possible to protect water resources from increased sediment loading and associated water quality problems, and its Objective 3: Revise, streamline, and incentivize lake shoreline protection measures and permitting.

According to the Plan: The primary sources of sediment in the watershed, in no particular order, are:

  • Stormwater runoff from cultivated farmland
  • Stormwater runoff from developed land
  • Stormwater runoff from forested land
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Lake shoreline erosion from wind and boat wakes.”

The Watershed (Plan) Administrator and staff in the University of Maryland’s Extension services have examined and prioritized this issue as a significant and reachable goal/objective. Indeed, the University of MD Extension service has been running programs and is already maintaining a website regarding homeowner stormwater practices. In addition, the Extension service has on its staff a great team of watershed specialists who have led and will continue to lead educational programs about
stormwater management.

We, along with the Garrett College’s Continuing Education & Workforce Department, and the Garrett County Government, sponsor the University of Maryland Extension Service’s public presentations on managing stormwater runoff.  The problem is especially severe when rainwater runs over hard surfaces, such as driveways and rooftops, picking up sediment, chemicals, debris and toxins that are carried into local streams.  

The Extension Service’s presentations cover the use of rain barrels and cisterns, rain gardens, conservation landscaping and riparian buffer planting, among other ways to ameliorate runoff and prevent erosion. These sessions are presented by Ashley Bodkins, who also is an advisor to the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation.  

Contact information: Ashley is also coordinating the University of Maryland Master Gardner program on behalf of the Foundation.

This project partially fulfills Goal 6 of the Watershed Management Plan.

Deep Creek Lake Tributary Bioassessment

Deep Creek Lake Tributary Bioassessment

During July 2022, a team from PennWest – California and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources conducted a synoptic bioassessment of 29 perennial Deep Creek Lake tributaries at sites selected by the Deep Creek Watershed Foundation. Most stations were established as close to the lake confluence as accessible. The team obtained water samples, assessed fish and macroinvertebrate communities, and performed habitat evaluations. Four stations exhibited flows too low to permit fish or macroinvertebrate collection. Here only water samples were taken.

Three stations were accessed via boat. Overall, results describe cool water streams that exhibit measurable total alkalinity and generally possess good chemical water quality. However, poor habitat, including siltation and embedded stream bottoms, resulted in low macroinvertebrate and fish abundance.

This study serves as a preliminary baseline against which future monitoring and mitigation efforts of Deep Creek Lake tributaries may be evaluated. This study aims to identify potential projects that the Foundation can undertake to preserve and protect the watershed. The contract amount for this work is $13,125. The project partially fulfills Goal 3 of the Watershed Management Plan. We are working with DNR to identify new projects from the collected data.

The Invasive Species Prevention Campaign


DNR is continuing its boat-cleaning, warning and education programs to prevent the introduction of invasive organisms into Deep Creek Lake, and we are planning to expand our efforts to assist them.As the first step in this new campaign, we’ve produced a new brochure that will be distributed throughout the watershed area, warning boaters to “STOP AQUATIC HITCHHIKERS!”

Deep Creek Water Quality

Water Quality Monitor Campaign Sees Success

The DCWF’s Water Quality Meter Campaign was initiated in the early part of 2020 and will continue during 2021. Board Members and Advisors to the Foundation realized that assisting the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to deploy “state of the art” meters is critical to ensuring good water quality in Deep Creek Lake (DCL) for both the near term and long term. Biologists and other DNR Staff identify, through the data collected by the meters, potential impacts on Water Quality for further investigation and/or the application of appropriate remedies.

Due to the generosity of a wide variety of donors responding to our campaign and associated requests for support, the DCWF is able to purchase FOUR Water Quality Meters which will be donated to DNR for exclusive use at DCL in the coming years. The purchase of these meters represents a donation from the DCWF in the amount of $60,000 as part of the Foundation’s public-private partnership with the DNR which benefits DCL and the watershed. But there is more! In addition to all the above good news, the Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake (POA) also made a one-time contribution of approximately $15,000 to the DCWF enabling the purchase of a total of FIVE WATER QUALITY METERS which will be donated to DNR. These new meters will enable DNR to increase the breadth and specificity of water quality data which can be shared with the public.

YSI, the company which makes the meters, assisted with very reasonable pricing for this multiple meter purchase. In addition, the DCL Manager, Eric Null, and Natural Resources Biologists Julie Bortz and Christine King were instrumental in making certain the meters purchased by the Foundation and the POA contained the proper specifications to ensure their compatibility with those purchased by the DCL Manager for use at DCL.

From the Foundation’s perspective, the WQM Campaign thus far has been truly a successful team effort on the part of many folks and as the campaign continues this year we hope many more folks will donate to it so the Foundation will be able to do even more for DCL and the Deep Creek Watershed.

Please visit the DCWF website at: for more information and ways to donate.

Sedimentation Mitigation Plan

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation and Sedimentation Mitigation Plan


Goal #5 of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan1: “Manage SAV in Deep Creek Lake to maintain and improve the ecological stability of the lake, while working with waterfront landowners to minimize the interference of SAV with recreational uses of the lake around docks.”

Goal #6 of the Plan: Prevent erosion and sedimentation to the greatest extent possible to protect water resources from increased sediment loading and associated water quality problems.


A solution to the mitigation of sediment and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) impacts to dock owners around Deep Creek Lake may be to lower the water level of the lake during winter months to the lower rule band (LRB).

A. SAV Impact Mitigation

During the outlet structure repair of the impoundment at New Germany State Park the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that the excessive SAV growth, particularly in the upper reaches of the impoundment could perhaps be mitigated by allowing the beds to freeze while the winter water levels were down during construction. After the trial DNR determined that the method was not successful. Two factors contributed to that failure. 1. The water level was not dropped as far as contemplated. The contractor submitted a request to use a coffer dam so that the water level would not have to be dropped down so far as originally contemplated. 2. The winter was mild.

Dropping the lake level to the LRB from November to February would allow the SAV beds to freeze and inhibit the growth. It is not the goal to remove them. The exiting beds are mainly native plants. If these beds are destroyed by dredging or poison other invasive species will populate the niche.

B. Shoreline Sedimentation Mitigation

For most of the history of Deep Creek Lake the water levels peaked in June and declined rather sharply toward Labor Day. Based on the elevation of what was an island off what is now The Blakeslee, the water level was about 2457 by Labor Day.

Beginning about 1970 there was pressure brought to bear to keep the water level higher to afford development back in the shallow waters. Keeping the water high through the summer and into fall saw shoreline erosion, and beaches went from sorted pebbles and cobbles to mud. Page 17 of the WBCM Deep Creek Lake: A Sediment Study, DGS Project No. 008-132-0102 states “In some areas the current shoreline (2012) does appear to vary from the 1972 shoreline by approximately 5-15 feet.”

The 5-15 feet of shoreline loss noted above is now sitting ten to fifteen feet out from the “new” shoreline. That deposition is the basis of most property owner’s complaints. Mud around docks also promotes the growth of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). The nutrients from the sheet flow from lawns that extend to the high-water line and nutrients introduced into the water from the resident goose population have also fueled the increase in SAV impacts.

Proposed Solution

Lowering the lake level to the LRB from the 15 October level to 2456 by 31 October and to 2455 by 30 November, and remain at 2455 until 31 January will inhibit the growth of SAV in the lake bottom above 2455 by exposing them to freezing temperatures.

The lower lake levels will allow normal existing sediment erosive action to remove sediment and nutrients to a lower level. When the water level returns to full pool there will be six feet of water above the 2455 contour placing some of the plants under six feet of water with the attending attenuation of the sun strength.

Lowering the lake levels to the recommended depths will not require any permit or study work, and will be successful in reducing SAV growth and will mitigate the impact of sediments around the docks.

For future consideration, if the recommended procedure is deemed to be effective, the lake levels could be reduced even further to enhance the benefit.

Please address questions or comments to:

Morgan C. France
729 Chadderton School Road
Oakland, Maryland 21550 301 616 5097
Respectfully submitted,

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

(703) 975-8485

P.O. Box 376
Oakland, MD 21550


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