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SOLitude Supports High School Pond Restoration Project

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 21, 2017

Environmental StewardshipAs part of SOLitude’s commitment to community outreach, members of the company’s Mid-Atlantic team recently joined forces with 30 students from Maple Shade High School to begin a long-term restoration project at Steinhauer Pond in Burlington County, NJ. The pond, located in a park near the school, suffered from poor water quality, a lack of beneficial vegetation and insufficient water circulation.

Environmental Scientist and Senior Business Development Consultant John Phelps provided ongoing educational expertise for the project, meeting with the students throughout the spring to answer questions about lake and pond management best practices and help them develop a long-term pond restoration plan.

The program began with a dedicated trash cleanup in March and a beneficial vegetative buffer planting of more than 1,000 plant bulbs in May, where SOLitude’s Director of Marketing Tracy Fleming and Business Development Specialist Shane Edwards provided additional guidance. In 2018, the project will culminate with a native fish stocking

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Topics: The SOLution, Pond Management Best Practices

Managing Mosquitoes: Help Reduce the Spread of Disease

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 19, 2017

AS SEEN IN Various Community Associations Institute Chapter Newsletters: Written by Industry Expert Gavin Ferris, Ecologist

Managing MosquitoesI was on a genealogy website not long ago when I was reading about an ancestor, and this line stuck out to me: “…the first year after his return from the army he was able to do but little work, as he suffered greatly from fever and ague, which he had contracted in the service.” Fever and ague was, at the time, the terminology used to describe what we now call Malaria, and the war in which my ancestor contracted the disease was the American Civil War. He probably was bitten by an infected mosquito somewhere in Virginia.

Zika virus is making a lot of news lately, but mosquito-borne diseases are nothing new in the United States. Malaria was common over most of the country up through the 1800s, and wasn’t eradicated here until the early 1950s. Other mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, and more recently Chikungunya, are currently carried by mosquitoes in the United States, and can pose a serious threat to public health. Preventing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and the other unpleasant consequences of mosquito infestation, requires a proactive multi-pronged approach. It is important to understand the biology of the mosquitoes involved, their behavior, and how environmental conditions contribute to mosquito problems.

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Topics: Mosquito and Pest Control, Published Articles

Fisheries Management: The Benefits of Electrofishing

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 15, 2017

AS SEEN IN The Angler Magazine: Written by Industry Expert Steven King, Field Manager

ElectrofishingWhether you’re interested in creating a prized trophy fishery or just want to improve the health and longevity of your fishing pond, electrofishing is an essential tool for fisheries managers. This method is the primary sampling technique used to gather necessary information about the current state of a waterbody and determine what can be done to meet or exceed the goals of the specific fishery.

What exactly is electrofishing?

Electrofishing helps biologists track reproductive success and survival rates of fish species. The assessment is performed by sending an electric current into the water in order to safely stun any nearby fish. Stunned fish can then be easily scooped up in a net and placed in a temporary holding tank where they can revive and be observed for data collection. Most often, fish are measured, weighed and marked with PIT or Floy tags, which are used to determine the health and growth of the fish year over year. Then, they are released back into the water completely unharmed.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

A Dirty Day in the Life of a Lake and Pond Manager

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 13, 2017

AS SEEN IN Quorum Magazine: Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

cai-dc-metro-page-pond-manager-e.jpgThere are numerous reasons why a homeowner’s association would hire a professional company to do certain jobs rather than having the work done “in-house” by members of the community. It may be that the task requires technical expertise or special training, and there may not be residents qualified to perform the service. Or perhaps the nature of the job would require extensive manpower or specialized equipment. But let’s face it—sometimes the job is just so unpleasant that no one from the community would be willing to do it.

Welcome to a day in the life of a lake and pond manager. Our job requires all that was noted above - education and technical certification, physical exertion, training with specialized equipment, and yes, the willingness to perform services that others might find objectionable. One of the necessary tasks performed by our aquatic specialists is the application of herbicides and other products used for water quality management. In every state where we work, pesticide applicators are required to receive extensive training and to pass an examination prior to receiving a license to apply the products. And while all of the substances that we apply to the waterbodies that we manage are completely safe for humans, wildlife, and the environment when used according to the product label, many of the products do require that personal protective equipment (PPE) is used by the applicator when handling the products at full strength, and during the mixing and application process. Although there is increasing concern from the public regarding the use of pesticides, the process is very safe for the aquatic ecosystem when the appropriate product is selected and applied properly by an experienced licensed technician.

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Topics: SOLitude News, Published Articles

The Importance of Monitoring Before Active Lake and Pond Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 08, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist

Parks and Rec Water Quality Testing SLM 3-e.jpgNatural or man-made, big or small, freshwater lakes and ponds are all aquatic ecosystems that serve an important role in our environment. So, they’re all the same? Water is water, right? Not quite. The individual characteristics, uses and management goals can vary drastically from waterbody to waterbody. That’s why actively monitoring and testing your lake or pond is so important.

How are waterbodies different?

Our waterbodies are an enigma; they are connected by rivers, streams and groundwater flow, but also function as their own interactive ecosystems. Differences in dimension, flow, nutrients, watershed, pre-existing organisms and plant growth all determine the variation of the lake or pond system. Exceptions to this are synthetically-lined ponds and stormwater ponds that are specifically constructed for flood management. These “closed systems” are typically disconnected from other waterbodies.

Not all waterbodies are formed or created equally, and most lakes and ponds quickly reach their biological and ecological threshold without proper management. Fish, plants, invertebrates and plankton may live within one waterbody, while another may not be capable of supporting the same amount of growth without becoming unbalanced. Furthermore, we use lakes and ponds for enjoyment – wildlife and scenic viewing, boating, swimming and fishing. High recreational activities and land development in and around lakes and ponds often lead to nutrient loading, nuisance aquatic plant growth and other water quality problems. When it comes to internal loading, sediment and biological decomposition are the two primary contributors.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Pond Management Best Practices

Invasive Species Removal: Restoration of a Coastal Freshwater Pond

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 05, 2017

AS SEEN IN Land and Water Magazine: Written by Industry Expert Keith Gazaille, Senior Biologist and Regional Director

Mckill Pond_Cover_e.jpgEffective Control and Removal of Non-Native and Invasive Plants to Restore Open Water and Wetland Habitats

Project Background
The Mickill Pond system is a freshwater pond group located on a 15-acre private property at the southern tip of Westerly, Rhode Island, in an area known as Watch Hill. The ponds are separated from Block Island Sound by an approximate 250-foot-wide coastal dune and beach. Given the increasing development of the Rhode Island seacoast, this freshwater pond system represents a unique and desirable wetland habitat feature for the area and the state. Over the last decade, the ponds and associated wetlands became infested with non-native and invasive plant growth, specifically, common reed (Phragmites australis), porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). These species developed dense monotypic stands throughout the wetland areas and significantly encroached on the ponded areas, reducing open water. As a result of this invasive species colonization and the subsequent loss of species diversity and richness, the property owner sought to develop a project to control the invasive plant growth, restore open water and increase a diverse native plant assemblage.

Site Assessment & Plan Design
Coastal freshwater wetlands support many desirable and even rare native plant and animal species; therefore, the introduction and expansion of invasive plant growth threatens the resources’ ability to provide the habitats necessary for these species to flourish. In order to design an appropriate wetland restoration plan, the project team first cataloged plant species and mapped existing habitat zones.

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Topics: Invasive Species, Published Articles

Sweat Equity’s Role in Trophy Fisheries Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 01, 2017

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine: Written by Industry Expert, David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries

sweat-equity-role-trophy-fishery-pond-boss-david-beasley-pg1-e2.jpgImagine stepping out your back door and strolling down to your pristine, sparkling fishing hole, where you spend time in a boat catching trophy caliber fish. Sound enticing? Fisheries management techniques have improved to the point where it’s feasible to develop a high-end private fishery in your backyard, but it comes with a price—payable by either writing large checks or making a big investment in sweat equity—or a combination of both. 

To help combat potentially overwhelming budget numbers, many people invest large amounts of their time and energy. As a general rule, the less money spent, the more sweat equity is required. If you have time, this work can be lots of fun.

The sweat equity method often boils down to understanding what needs to be done to reach the end goal, and then staying diligent about getting it done.One practical way to achieve a trophy fishery with sweat equity is to take an integrated approach, such as working together with a fisheries biologist to ensure all of the required tasks are understood, communicated, and completed properly. Often, a biologist needs to be involved with several key management tasks including electrofishing, water quality analysis, and fish stocking. In addition to paying a biologist, other typical expenses include the purchase of fish feed, fish feeders, fertilizer, fish stocking, aeration, water quality equipment, lime, gravel, installing beneficial vegetation, and herbicides and algaecides to control nuisance vegetation.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Invasive Species Highlight: Starry Stonewort

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 30, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

starry-stonewort-d.jpgStarry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) is a species of macroscopic green algae in the Characeae family. It was first discovered in the United States in 1978 in the St. Lawrence River, but has since spread to Michigan, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont. When the algae were first discovered in new areas, they were often misidentified as less invasive native species of macroscopic algae. However, the growth habit of starry stonewort is much more aggressive and robust, and can reach nuisance abundances. These nuisance plants can reduce the growth of desirable aquatic vegetation, reduce suitable fish habitat and cause fishing frustration. Although the algae are non-vascular and have no true plant structures, they have been found to grow as much as eight feet tall. The blooms have severe negative impacts on the habitats where they occur, and have posed unique challenges for lake managers in these areas.

Now that the presence of starry stonewort has become more familiar to lake managers, it is actually quite easy to identify. The blooms appear more “raggedy” than other macroscopic algae species, and have much greater height and biomass. They are also characterized by distinctive “starry” rhizoids, also known as bulbils, which are the reproductive structures of the pond algae. The blooms are very transient, and are subject to a “boom and bust” phenomenon where large blooms will crash suddenly and unpredictably. This can cause hazardous low dissolved oxygen conditions in the waterbodies where it occurs.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

Mosquito Control: Tips to Reduce Mosquitoes & Disease in Your Community

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 25, 2017

Aedes aegypti-e-1.jpgMemorial Day marked the unofficial beginning of summer—and the onset of mosquito season. Cold-blooded mosquitoes thrive in balmy temperatures and can get dangerously out of hand without proper management. To limit the impact of mosquitoes during summer travel and activities, SOLitude Lake Management, an industry leader in lake and pond management, fisheries management and related environmental services for the United States, recommends the following ecologically sustainable, preventative, and proactive measures to homeowners, landowners, golf courses and municipalities. 

Eliminate breeding habitats
Throughout her six- to eight-week lifespan, a female mosquito will lay about 300 eggs, often in standing or stagnant water. Clearing gutters, picking up litter and emptying buckets and small outdoor containers can help decrease the number of available habitats for mosquitoes to reproduce and thrive.

Circulate stagnant lakes and ponds
In aquatic environments such as lakes, ponds and stormwater basins, the introduction of aeration can help consistently circulate warm stagnant water and help create unfit mosquito breeding grounds. 

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Mosquito and Pest Control

Invasive Species Highlight: Hydrilla

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 23, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Emily Mayer, Aquatic Biologist

invasive-hydrilla-e.jpgHydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is a highly invasive aquatic plant that is plaguing freshwater ecosystems in the US, particularly in the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and (most recently) the Northeast. Hydrilla has several distinguishing characteristics. Its small leaves are arranged in whorls of three to eight, and these leaves are heavily serrated and can be seen without the aid of magnification. Reproduction typically occurs through fragmentation, although hydrilla also produces tubers, which are subterranean potato like structures. These tubers can stay dormant in the sediment for up to 12 years, causing significant challenges in eradication.

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Topics: Invasive Species, Pond Management Best Practices

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