The Crystal Club is focused on many important initiatives.
While wide-ranging, all of them have the purpose of helping to improve water quality in our waterways. If you have an interest in one of these, please drop us a line.
The Adopt-a-Waterway program is a City of Virginia Beach initiative. We are proud to announce that The Crystal Club has officially adopted Crystal Lake. Under this program club members join together and perform watershed clean-ups. Get more information on this program.
Storm Water Drain and Watershed Markers
The storm water drain marker program is a City of Virginia Beach initiative. The Crystal Club has fully funded the creation of a Crystal Lake specific marker design. During the summer of 2009, Crystal Club volunteers attached the markers to storm drains, curbs and roadsides, making the Crystal Lake watershed the first watershed in the City of Virginia Beach area to be 100% complete.
The markers greatly aid community education efforts, and the program creates a tighter connection between residents in the watershed and Crystal Lake. Get more information on this program.
Experimental Oyster Reef
The Crystal Club has funded the design, permitting, and construction of an experimental sanctuary oyster reef. The goal of the reef is to increase the population of water filtering oysters in Crystal Lake. The reef will also be a unique educational resource as it is designed to study and monitor the growth rates of oysters upon different types of substrate, and at different elevations in the water column. Reef surveys will be conducted to measure oyster growth and population density, the results of which will be passed on to the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) for analysis. Additionally, this data will serve as a resource in the design of the club’s future oyster reefs, in order to maximize the restoration of the native Eastern or Lynnhaven Oyster (Crossostrea virginicus) in our watershed.
Sanctuary Oyster Reefs
One of the most effective ways to raise our water quality is to raise the local oyster population. Oysters are simply amazing filter feeders, working day and night to remove pollutants from the water. One of The Crystal Club’s primary initiatives is to facilitate and fund the construction of more sanctuary oyster reefs throughout the area, thereby helping to improve water quality. Completed reefs are monitored, and any information gained will be applied to the next oyster reef the club constructs. We are constantly applying what we learn to improve our effectiveness.
Crystal Lake Weather Station
The club has installed a state-of-the-art weather monitoring station within the Crystal Lake watershed. The station monitors and records readings for temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity, water temperature and precipitation. Having access to such information will allow the club to build a site-specific historical record for conditions around Crystal Lake and will further our understanding of how differing weather conditions influences water quality.
Experimental Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Patch
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) is crucial historical habitat that has completely disappeared from the modern Crystal Lake. SAV provides a sanctuary and a source of food for juvenile fish and crabs. Without SAV, there is much less shelter from larger predators thus lowering the chances of juveniles reaching adulthood.
The Crystal Club is working to bring SAV back. The Club has planted a patch composed of different SAV that are all native to the area. This patch will be monitored for plant health and habitat benefits, the results will be passed on to the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) for analysis. Data collected from the patch will inform Crystal Club decisions moving forward on the viability of SAV in the watershed.
The SAV patch is located next to the Crystal Club’s experimental oyster reef, where environmental benefits of each type of habitat can flow to the other. By creating complementary habitats, the Crystal Club is working to ensure that the maximum environmental benefits are gleaned from expended member energy and funding. By working to bring SAV back, The Crystal Club is working to restore a broken link in the historical ecological chain. Get more information on the types and benefits of native SAV.
Watershed Fertilizer Reduction
One of the biggest contributors to the poor water quality in Crystal Lake is the amount of fertilizer that enters our waters. The club is dedicated to working with local residents to reduce the amount of fertilizer’s that runs off with the rain and ends up in the lake. Fertilizer has a direct impact on water quality. Any reduction of how much fertilizer enters the lake will help improve water quality and the overall health of our waterways. Get more information on the problem with excess fertilizers.
Storm Drain Outlets
There are approximately 19 large storm drain outlets that drain directly into Crystal Lake. One of the club’s initiatives is to partner with the City of Virginia Beach to address storm water issues impacting Crystal Lake. Storm drains collect rainwater from large surface areas and funnels the rainwater into the lake. This water usually contains numerous pollutants, such as nutrients from fertilizer, sediment, and bacteria all of which directly harms water quality. The Crystal Club will partner with the City to try and reduce the amount of pollutants entering the water through the storm water system.