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The Importance of Properly-Sized Lake and Pond Aeration

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 07, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Kyle Finerfrock, Environmental Scientist

AerationOne of the great tools in a lake or pond manager’s tool box is the use of floating and subsurface aeration systems in a waterbody. Aeration is the mixing of water in a lake or pond to increase exposure to the atmosphere and decrease harmful gases like hydrogen sulfide within the aquatic ecosystem. A healthy waterbody that is well aerated will have suitable oxygen levels from the bottom to the surface.

Now, you may be wondering: why is it important to increase the oxygen levels in my pond? The benefits of an oxygenated lake or pond are tremendous. Oxygenation can help limit nuisance vegetation and algae by facilitating the conversion of pond nutrients to forms that do not sustain algae growth. Improved oxygenation and water circulation can also help reduce the accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the waterbody, which is one of the most common signs of an aging pond. Organisms that thrive in low or zero oxygen (anoxic) conditions promote poor waterbody health. A lake or pond that has no aeration will likely have anoxic conditions at depths greater than 8 feet deep in the summer months. In this zone, anaerobic bacteria can produce ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, which can be toxic to other organisms and produce foul odors. Anoxic conditions can also change the chemistry of a lake or pond. For example, pond nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus promote nuisance algae growth and can become excessive when low oxygen conditions exist in the aquatic environment

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Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Aeration

A Young Fishery with a Bright Future: Part II

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 31, 2017

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

A Young Fishery II_e.pngThree years ago, I started on a journey with a client who was interested in growing big Largemouth Bass. He had recently closed on a farm with a seven-acre pond and was looking to create a special retreat for friends and family.

As you may recall from an article in the July/August 2016 issue of Pond Boss, this pond is picturesque and full of character, tucked down in the center of the property where rolling hills lead to a perennial creek that cuts through the landscape. The natural topography of the land, teamed with a large watershed yielding year-round flow, created an area that was destined for a productive pond.

In the spring of 2014, the pond was sampled using an electrofishing boat to determine how the newly purchased fishery was doing. The findings depicted a predator heavy waterbody with a depleted forage base. The stunted bass population had an average relative weight (Wr) of only 87, with most fish ranging between 11 and 14 inches in length. The water quality was also assessed, and the findings indicated the pond was eutrophic (nutrient rich), which was supported by the visual cues provided by the large biomass of aquatic vegetation.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Debunking Myths: A Professional’s Take on Herbicides and Algaecides

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 29, 2017

AS SEEN IN Virginia Turfgrass: Written by Industry Expert Trent Nelson, Aquatic Specialist

Aquatic HerbicidesIt’s not uncommon for irrigation pond managers to invest thousands on irrigation pumps, water quality tests, beneficial submersed aeration systems, and floating fountains, but it’s rare to find a manager who establishes and uses a comprehensive lake management plan. Often times, this apprehension is based on a misunderstanding of lake and pond management and how herbicides and algaecides could potentially have a negative impact on the waterbody from improper treatment. I’m here to set the record straight, and let you know that with the proper choice of a product, application style and timing, algaecides and herbicides can greatly enhance the effectiveness of an irrigation pond management program, while working in conjunction with proactive, sustainable solutions.

Many turf and golf managers fear that aquatic herbicide and algaecide treatments will damage their greens and the surrounding ornamentation, and put a hold on their irrigation water usage. These concerns are valid; shutting down an irrigation system for more than a day or two can be virtually impossible, especially during the growing season. But without proper herbicide and algaecide usage, an irrigation lake could experience more harm than good. If algae and aquatic weeds are allowed to grow and mature, this vegetation can enter irrigation intakes, clogging pipes and pumps and preventing irrigation systems from running properly. In the end, the headache of shutting down an irrigation system to fix a broken pipe or clear nuisance vegetation from a drain will often outweigh the inconvenience of scheduled beneficial treatments.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

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


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 Increase 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

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