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LMA History

History of the Lake Murray Association

The Lake Murray Association began in the fall of 1993 when 150 people met at Dutch Fork High School with SCE&G officials. Our sole interest at that time was to raise the winter lake level from 350 mean sea level (MSL). We were chartered on April 24,1994 at Lexington High School.

It became apparent that we needed to find out the ideal lake level, form a relationship with SCE&G, develop bylaws and a constitution, elect the first officers and become a 501C-3. We did surveys, grew the membership rapidly and begant o have meetings with SCE&G, DHEC, SCDNR (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources), LWASC (SC Lake and Watershed Association, a member of The National Lake Associations which we joined) and partnered with Lake Hartwell who was there to help charter us.

Our bylaws said we were going to educate and enlighten the users of Lake Murray.

As we arranged meeting SCE&G to discuss the possibility of only lowering the lake in the fall to 354 MSL, we began many other projects. We learned much from our meetings with SCDNR concerning wildlife and how ESA’s (extra sensitive areas) protect the shoreline which we later supported wholeheartedly during the relicensing.

Early on we joined the Life Reach Program to establish places where medical helicopters could land. We installed windsocks to assist the pilots and to let the public know where they were. Eventually this program dissolved as these landing pads were on private properties and the insurances were prohibitive to the owners.

Osprey nests have been referred to as a trademark of Lake Murray. Ospreys are wonderful to observe and it is beautiful to see them on their high perches around the lake. Unfortunately, they are not great nest makers! The LMA set to work furnishing the perches for them to build their nests on, which they do by dropping straw from high in the air and hoping it lands on the nest. We established Osprey nests around the lake to be assured they had nesting sites and some of our board members carried wounded birds to the Birds of Prey center.

We met with DHEC to talk about phosphorus impaired areas on our lake. We learned how hard grants were to get when we attempted one to study the phosphorous levels in the lake. We continue to pursue grants and have received a few small ones. In 2009, the Saluda Watershed had significant phosphorus impairment. We began our own water testing program several years before that and it is still very much appreciated by our members. We have been called upon and involved when there were septic or sewer problems that affected the lake. We have an environmental chairmen that overseas all of our testing. We have worked closely with DHEC to assure we are kept informed.

We worked with SCDNR and the four county Sheriff Departments to help form the Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force (forerunner to Lake Murray Safety Consortium). In the last few years, LMA was instrumental in reviving the group as the LMSC, with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Lake Murray Power Squadron also involved. It is a wonderful association with all of the law enforcement working as a team on Lake Murray.

We have worked with SCE&G to plant Button Bush and Bald Cyprus to prevent erosion.

We fell in love when we heard about the 4-H2O program out of Clemson and made arrangements immediately to bring the program to Lake Murray. The program is designed to familiarize children with the Lake, water quality, and fun on the lake for 4 days on the lake. So many children have learned how to respect and accomplish good water quality in our water bodies. We feel this commitment to good water quality will last them a lifetime.

Not long after that, we developed the “Ladies Day Program” as a result of an incident on the lake where a lady was stranded when her husband suffered a heart attack and died in the boat. She found herself unable to operate the boat and could do nothing to help or get him to land. We have worked many years with SCDNR, and later added Lake Murray Power Squadron for a hands on boating training. LMPS have been very gracious and teach the boating safety class. This has always been well received and is the only class of its kind. In 2022, after a 2 pandemic halt, we filled the class in less than two hours!

Hydrilla soon became the talk of Lake Murray. This is a noxious weed many remember being tangled up in. The LMA went to work with Steve DeKozlowski, Head of the SC Aquatic Weed Society and an employee of SCDNR. After many years of study and change of heart on chemicals in the lake, we supported and promoted the sterile grass carp idea and it turned out to be the best decision we made. Soon hydrilla seemed to be eradicated. The rhizomes and root crowns are still in the earth and probably will return without the grass carp being maintained. Fortunately, we still do not see hydrilla currently.

The Saluda Hydroelectric Relicensing Project soon became the topic of the Lake Murray Association. We spent about fours years with six different committees, we attended nearly monthly meetings to develop the settlement agreement between he stakeholders, agencies, and SCE&G. We were successful and were privileged to sign the settlement agreement that was reached. We later became members of the Adaptive Management Teams (ATM’s) that were formed to continue studies in the future for the licensing that was put in place. In that agreement, lake levels of 354 MSL in the winter and 358MSL in the summer were targeted. We felt much was learned and accomplished in that four years.
We have developed many relationships with SCE&G over the last many years. It is not uncommon to have SCE&G staff at our public meetings to inform us and answer questions from the members about the beautiful lake we enjoy.

Our Pontoon Tour of Homes was a trademark of LMA. But it was later discontinued due to various reasons.

We have received awards from the state, were officially named “The Voice of Lake Murray”, and have wonderful relationships with the politicians in each county which we see at our meetings. We are registered with the State of South Carolina.

The rest of our history is still being written! Join us today as we continue our journey of being The Voice of Lake Murray.

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