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How Often Should Water Quality be Tested?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 13, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist

water-quality-aquatics-in-brief-e.jpgHealthy water quality is extremely important for all lakes and ponds, and proactive testing and monitoring is vital when it comes to helping prevent water quality problems in recreational lakes, stormwater ponds and drinking water reservoirs. Lake and pond owners often wait until an algae bloom, fish kill, foul odor or other negative water quality problem occurs before implementing a basic water quality program. This can have dire consequences.

Poor water quality can quickly lead to an unbalanced ecosystem, which not only negatively impacts the ecology and recreational use of a waterbody, but can also affect surrounding waterways. Take the enormous toxic algae bloom in Florida, for example, which originated in Lake Okeechobee in the summer of 2016 and impacted Treasure Coast waterways and beaches; the dangerous cyanobacteria limited boating, fishing and swimming throughout South Florida and posed a serious threat to the health of residents, tourists, pets and wildlife. While a number of unique factors contributed to the development and spread of this harmful algae bloom, it is clear that water quality problems in our lakes and ponds can rapidly turn into ecological nightmares.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Fish Habitat Management: “Cover” Your Waterbody

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 09, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist and Territory Leader

How to Create a Better Aquatic Habitat for Your Fish

1_Fish Cover e-1.jpgThere’s an old adage that states, “Ninety percent of fish live in ten percent of the water.” This statement has more truth than most realize. Fish move throughout their environment for a variety of reasons including spawning, optimizing their temperature, feeding, and avoiding predators. For “lie in wait” predators and many baitfish species, these movements are mostly relegated to being in or around the desired cover at varying depths. The availability of quality fish cover and the fishes’ desired depths will determine which 10% of the aquatic environment the fish choose to live in at any point in time. Therefore, placement of the right amount of cover at the appropriate depths should be a major objective of a lake or pond owner’s habitat improvement projects.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll limit discussion to the non-living cover that can be placed in a waterbody to provide cover for your fish. The first consideration in choosing cover type is the physical make-up of this cover with respect to its suitability for both forage fish and predator species. Baitfish tend to prefer large dense cover that offers the tight interstitial spaces and volume needed to protect them from predators. Larger predator species, however, prefer less dense cover with larger interstitial spaces that provide them a place to “loaf” while they await prey to make “their last mistake.”

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Drinking Water Reservoir Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 07, 2017

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

Beaver Creek Reservoir 2_After_Crozet VA_ShannonJ_e.jpgWe are fortunate in the United States that our country has the technology and resources to provide clean and palatable drinking water to our citizens. However, the recent catastrophic situations in Flint, Michigan earlier this year and in Lake Erie in 2014 have reminded many Americans that this is a privilege that we should not take for granted. And while the lead crisis in Flint was caused by human negligence and could have been prevented, the ongoing cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Erie are due to a much more complicated process of phosphorus pollution and water quality degradation.

Cyanobacteria were previously identified as blue-green algae due to their ability to photosynthesize, although they are actually prokaryotic and more closely related to bacteria than algae. Now commonly referred to as harmful algae blooms (HABs), cyanobacteria blooms are particularly problematic when they occur in waterbodies that are used as a source for drinking water utilities. Not only do cyanobacteria excrete compounds such as MIB and Geosmin that cause unpleasant tastes and odors in the water, but they also have the potential to produce cyanotoxins that can be harmful to humans, pets and wildlife.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

A Success Story: Restoring Fiske Pond Through Mechanical Harvesting

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 02, 2017

Written by Industry Experts Jeff Castellani, Director of Mechanical Operations, and Emily Walsh, Environmental Scientist

3_Fisk Pond Harvester_e.jpgFiske Pond is a 67-acre waterbody located in Natick, Massachusetts within the Lake Cochituate sub-basin of the Sudbury River Watershed. Nestled in an urban area outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Fiske Pond was traditionally enjoyed by the community for recreational activities such as fishing and canoeing. Unfortunately, these leisurely activities became increasingly limited due to the dense mat of Water Chestnut (Trapa natans), an invasive aquatic plant that has proliferated since 2004. By 2008, the infestation had established a monoculture covering over 40 of the 67 acres, leading to major biological and recreational concerns. At this time, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) contacted SOLitude to initiate a management program.

Due to the competitive nature of invasive Water Chestnut, it was decided that mechanical and physical removal, via harvester and hand pulling, was the proper management approach for the removal and eventual eradication of the nuisance aquatic weed from Fiske Pond. Mechanical harvesting was an ideal management option due to the machine’s mobility and capability to remove plants from the water’s surface with minimal disturbance to the sediment below. This option was more attractive than herbicide applications because it removed the plant biomass and prevented the dense mat of vegetation from decaying, releasing nutrients back into the water column and contributing to further eutrophication of the pond.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Utilizing Bathymetry to Budget for Future Repairs and Dredging

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 19, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Kevin Tucker, Chief Executive Officer

If you live in a planned community governed by a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), are part of a lake association, own commercial developments, belong to a golf club, are a member of a recreational club, or you are a board member or manager for any of the above, you are likely familiar with the need to maintain a reserve and replacement budget. In many cases, it is a statutory requirement.

Reserve Studies are a great tool to help prepare stakeholders for significant future repair and replacement expenses. They often uncover items that might not have been top of mind if left unaddressed, but would pose a significant financial risk to the group. In most cases, the Reserve Specialist preparing the report is able to identify very accurate estimates for the expected life of your physical assets, as well as the corresponding costs for making significant repairs or replacing them as their expected life comes to an end.

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Topics: Lake Mapping and Bathymetry, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Ponder These Thoughts - Winter Pond Management Tips

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 17, 2017

8 ponder these thoughtsSOLitude Lake Management wants to be certain that your lake or pond is prepared for 2017. With this in mind, we recommend that you consider the following during the winter months:

  • Review your lake and pond budget and replacement reserve funds to ensure that funds are available for bathymetry to determine if and when you will have a need for hydro-raking or dredging.
  • Evaluate your waterbody to determine if you need to add aeration to meet your management goals and objectives for 2017, and don’t forget to schedule annual maintenance and service for your existing fountains and aeration systems this winter.
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Topics: Seasonal Pond Tips, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Pond Management: The Restoration of Cliff Pond, in Brewster, MA

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 01, 2016


By Industry Expert Dominic Meringolo, Senior Environmental Engineer and Territory Leader

cliff-pond-restoration-e.jpgCliff Pond, located in Brewster, Massachusetts, is one of the most popular destinations on Cape Cod for water recreation. It also serves as the highlight attraction of Nickerson State Park, a heavily used property which includes a large campground that is often booked solid each summer. Cliff Pond has a surface area of 207 acres and is the deepest pond on Cape Cod with a maximum water depth of about 88 feet. Unfortunately, in the past few years the waterbody has experienced frequent bluegreen algae (cyanobacteria) blooms. Water quality issues have also resulted in a frequent loss of suitable cold-water habitat for what once was a very healthy and productive trout fishery.

Cliff Pond began having problems with nuisance algal blooms in the 1980s, and in the late ‘90s two dog deaths were attributed to algal toxin consumption. In recent years, following the establishment of state guidelines on Harmful Algae Blooms, advisories have been in place restricting use of the pond for contact recreation for most of the summer. Realizing the deteriorating condition of the pond and its impact on recreational use, the state of Massachusetts through its Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR) contracted with SOLitude Lake Management for a comprehensive study in 2014 and 2015.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

The Solar Solution: Solar Powered Aeration for Lakes and Ponds

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 29, 2016


By Industry Expert Brent Weber, Environmental Scientist and Territory Leader

solar-aeration-pond-management-e.jpgThe list of benefits that an aeration system can provide a lake or pond is endless. Besides helping to enhance fish habitat, improve water quality, reduce algae and remove unwanted nutrients, aeration can also break down unwanted bacteria, help prevent mosquito infestation and remove foul odors from a waterbody—all by circulating the water and adding dissolved oxygen. Sometimes, though, it’s not feasible to install an aeration system in an isolated lake or pond with no economical way to provide a power source. This predicament presents itself in a variety of different areas, including golf course lakes, farm ponds, private waterbodies, and homeowner association stormwater ponds.

Fortunately, there is a solution for those who are unable to get electric power to their lake or pond. Solar aeration systems were introduced to the lake and pond management market about a decade ago, and have made great strides in their overall effectiveness and efficiency over that time. Instead of going through the hassle or expense of running electricity to an area in need, there are now a variety of viable solar powered alternatives available from many different manufacturers. So, that waterbody on “the other side of the property” can now get the proper attention and aeration it needs to help keep it healthy and balanced.

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Topics: Aeration, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Pond Management: Don’t Feed the Wildlife!

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 15, 2016


Written by Industry Expert, Gavin Ferris, Ecologist

dont-feed-wildlife-deer-pond-e.jpgIn March 2015, residents of South Hampton, New Hampshire found six dead deer on a suburban lot. Several biologists and a game warden then investigated the site and found six more. The deer had not been shot or killed by predators, nor had they starved or died of exposure. They had been fed to death. With their stomachs and digestive systems used to their winter diet of woody browse, a sudden bounty of corn from a well-meaning human can be a shock to the system, in this case resulting in fatal enterotoxemia.

This example is dramatic, perhaps even extreme, but it illustrates the potential consequences of feeding wildlife. Certainly, not every animal that gets fed by a human will inevitably suffer a gruesome and untimely death. All the same, it usually isn’t good for the wildlife, it might not be good for the environment or its human inhabitants, and in the vicinity of a lake or pond it can be extremely bad for the water. It is perfectly natural, even admirable, for people to want to help the wildlife that they share their surroundings with. Unfortunately, there are several major consequences to feeding wildlife that make anything more than a backyard bird feeder quite unhealthy for all involved.

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Topics: Nature's Creatures, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Fisheries Management: Strategies for Stocking Triploid Grass Carp

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 03, 2016


Written by Industry Expert, Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist 

At first glance, the idea of stocking triploid grass carp appears to be a win-win. Win number one is that grass carp offer a natural solution to controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation. Win number two is that they are cost effective and offer long lasting results. But, how do you keep an aquatic weed problem from becoming a grass carp problem?

Stocking triploid grass carp in your lake or pond can be a beneficial strategy as part of your overall fisheries management plan. Overstocking can be a concern, particularly when predator species such as largemouth bass are your management goal. Although they are sterile and will not reproduce, overstocked grass carp can denude the entire waterbody of vegetation and increase turbidity in the form of suspended solids or harmful algae blooms while also disrupting the balance of the fishery. If not managed properly, stocking grass carp can be worse for your aquatic ecosystem than not stocking them at all. The best way to get the most benefit from triploid grass carp, while minimizing risk, is to work with a fisheries biologist to tailor a custom stocking rate based on the needs of the waterbody.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

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