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SOLitude Lake Management Offers Tips to Prevent Toxic Algae Blooms

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 21, 2017


Toxic AlgaeLakes, ponds and reservoirs can provide drinking water, irrigation and space for year-round recreation, but it’s common for these waterbodies to develop algae blooms, especially during the heat of the summer. While many species of pond algae are harmless, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are becoming more prevalent as a result of increased nutrient runoff from commercial developments, industrial parks, livestock farms and agricultural facilities.

When directly exposed to toxic algae species like cyanobacteria, which is often referred to as blue-green algae, humans and animals can experience liver and kidney toxicity, skin rashes, nervous system problems, respiratory complications and even death. Toxic algae blooms are also known to cause undesirable tastes and odors in drinking water from affected waterbodies. 

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

Adaptive Management of a Prominent Recreational Fishery

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 17, 2017


Written by Industry Expert Vic DiCenzo, PhD, Fisheries Biologist

Laremouth BassLakes and ponds contribute substantially to society by providing recreational opportunities, water supply, flood control and power generation. These multiple purposes often challenge lake managers, as different stakeholders have different goals and expectations. Successful management of fisheries resources requires a thorough understanding of fish populations, fish habitat and the users of those waterbodies.

Lake Monticello is a 352-acre recreational lake in central Virginia that was impounded in the late 1960s. This private community is home to approximately 13,000 residents who desire that Lake Monticello has a healthy and sustainable fishery. An initial fisheries assessment of the water quality, habitat and fish populations was conducted in 2014 to determine the current status of the fishery.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

The Vectors of Invasive Phragmites Spread & Effective Control Methods

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 15, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Richard Ruby III, Aquatic Biologist

PhragmitesPlants become classified as invasive species when they invade areas outside of their native range, upset the natural community they have invaded and cause considerable damage to either the ecology or economy of an area. Phragmites australis, or common reed, is a plant that most definitely meets all of these criteria. Native to Europe and Asia, invasive Phragmites is an aggressive colonizer of a variety of wetland habitats across the United States. Once established, the nuisance plant’s growth habits allow it to quickly outcompete most native species, ultimately creating a dense monoculture which reduces species richness and overall habitat value. As a result of these invasive characteristics, Phragmites has become a significant threat to freshwater and coastal wetlands across the country.

Whether managing established Phragmites colonies or endeavoring to prevent its introduction, it is critically important to understand the plant’s methods of reproduction and dispersal. Phragmites is spread through several means, called vectors. The natural reproduction of Phragmites is accomplished in three ways: by seed, rhizome fragmentation and the use of stolons. Seeds can be spread by the wind, wetland birds, surface currents and wave action as well as on recreational and construction vehicles. Expansion through the development of stolons (lateral vegetative growth of the stem), also allows for very rapid spread of the infestation. Rhizomes, the underground root structures of the plant, when fragmented through land disturbance or other natural processes such as erosion, have the potential to become re-rooted in any suitable area they are deposited. ATVs and construction vehicles can also be vectors of rhizomal spread if the root debris is not removed when leaving a Phragmites infested area.

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Topics: Invasive Species, Buffer Management

Nuisance Aquatic Plant Highlight: Watermeal

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 10, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Amanda Mahaney, Aquatic Biologist

Watermeal_Woes_pic1_cropped_e.jpg“What is that green scum on the surface of my pond?”

Is this a question you have asked yourself before? If so, further investigations are in order. It may not be “green scum” or pond algae after all, but rather a tiny plant called watermeal, with no roots, stems or “true” leaves. By simply rubbing this tiny, pale green plant between your fingers, it will most likely resemble cornmeal.

Watermeal prefers slow-moving or stagnant, nutrient-rich waterbodies and is frequently found among its closest relative, duckweed (Lemna spp.). Although it is commonly used as a food source and camouflage cover for wildlife, it can easily develop dense mats when proper conditions allow for it. Sunlight penetration necessary for aquatic vegetation growth and oxygen concentrations essential for the health of underwater wildlife can all be negatively affected by concentrated growth of watermeal and duckweed.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

SOLitude Highlights Nine Talented Professionals

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 07, 2017

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SOLitude Lake Management, an industry leader in lake and pond management, fisheries management and related environmental services for the United States, is pleased to highlight nine exceptional team members who were hired this summer. These experienced professionals, spanning from Massachusetts to Texas to Colorado, bring diverse experiences to SOLitude, but all work towards the common mission of improving aquatic ecosystems throughout their local communities.

Aquatic experts Erin Stewart, Jason Emmel, Buford Lessley, Clay Stabley, Elijah Pridgen, John Maday and Todd Prater use their expertise to help implement sustainable solutions for our clients’ reservoirs, lakes, stormwater BMP ponds and wetlands. Jennifer Bonzani focuses on establishing and maintaining professional relationships with clients and business partners and develops effective management plans to meet budgets and exceed expectations. Carolyn Stabley plays an integral role in support of SOLitude’s clients, staff and leadership.

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Topics: SOLitude News

The Benefits of Stocking All Female Largemouth Bass

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 03, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Dr. Vic DiCenzo, Fisheries Biologist

Fisheries AssessmentThere are approximately 4.5 million lakes and ponds in the United States, and many of these waterbodies are utilized for recreational fishing. Anglers often have wide ranging objectives for their fishing experience, including catching fish to eat, catching and releasing a variety of fish for sport, catching fish in a trophy fishery, or simply being outdoors and relaxing in a natural setting. These disparate motivations often require pond managers to develop different strategies to meet angler desires.

Largemouth Bass are the most popular sportfish in the US. Many anglers have transitioned from wanting to catch Largemouth Bass to eat to seeking trophy fish to catch. Because of this, most anglers practice catch-and-release fishing and rarely harvest Largemouth Bass. Low harvest of Largemouth Bass often skews the predator-to-prey ratio, creating an environment for fish to become overcrowded and leading to poor growth, poor condition and a population comprised of smaller individuals (< 15 inches). In the absence of harvesting, fisheries management professionals often seek alternative ways to mitigate the overcrowding (fish removal and resetting the pond) and improve population structure of Largemouth Bass.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices

Dredging Alternative: Hydro-raking to Maintain Stormwater Pond Depth

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 31, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Emily Walsh, Environmental Scientist

Mechanical hydro-rakingAs communities continue to expand and infrastructure is heightened, stormwater management is becoming a crucial element in neighborhood planning. Oftentimes, community developers incorporate stormwater retention ponds into their plans to help control runoff during significant rain events. Retention or stormwater ponds look similar to natural ponds, except that their major function is to reduce the risk of flooding as well as filter collected pollutants.

Urban runoff is led to the pond through a series of stormwater drains leading to underground pipes. The majority of the water is then left within the stormwater BMP, allowing suspended particulates to settle and pollutants to break down through microbial activity and plant uptake. The water is then slowly released from an outflow pipe, positioned higher than the inflow pipe, to a nearby waterbody or stream. This has proven to be an efficient technique, with a detectable decrease in pollutants shown and a natural outflow rate achieved.

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Stormwater BMPs

SOLitude Announces Cole Kabella as Volunteer of The Quarter

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 27, 2017

The SOLutionThrough its corporate volunteering program, The SOLution, SOLitude Lake Management has named Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist Cole Kabella as its Volunteer of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2017. Cole has dedicated many of his free weekends to volunteering and participating in fundraising events in Bryan, TX.

Much of Cole’s efforts went towards supporting the Aggieland Humane Society. There, he helped the shelter walk the dogs, clean kennels and clear the surrounding fence line of overgrown trees.

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Topics: The SOLution, Nature's Creatures

Ponder These Thoughts - Summer Pond Management Tips

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 24, 2017

Floating FountainSOLitude Lake Management wants your lake or pond to be prepared for warm weather. With this in mind, we recommend that you consider the following during the summer months:

• Warm summer weather seems to bring out the best and the worst in ponds. Although pond algae and aquatic weeds seem to be more abundant at this time of year, a year-round maintenance plan is the best way to ensure a healthy pond all year long.

• Reduced flows and warmer water temperatures increase the potential for Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs), which can be a threat to the environment as well as the health of humans, pets and wildlife. If you experience blue-green algae and surface scum or suspect an increase in microscopic algae growth, contact one of our biologists.

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

6 Tips to Prevent Summer Fish Kills

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 20, 2017

Fish KillHot summer temperatures can put a strain on aquatic environments and often push animals, such as fish, to their limits. As temperatures increase, so does the possibility of a fish kill. When a fish kill is discovered, it’s common for communities to fear the worst – from chemical spills to foul play. However, most fish kills are a natural occurrence that can happen as water warms and dissolved oxygen levels become depleted. While nature is often to blame, communities can take action to improve the summer conditions of their waterbodies.

“The risk of a fish kill can remain high over time unless proactive steps are taken by property owners to break the cycle,” said David Beasley, Director of Fisheries at SOLitude Lake Management, an industry leader in lake, pond and fisheries management. “It’s important for communities to understand the cause and introduce proactive lake and pond management strategies before a fish kill occurs.”

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices

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