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Fisheries Management: Grow Bigger Bass with Supplemental Fish Food

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 13, 2017

AS SEEN IN The Angler MagazineWritten by Industry Expert Steven King, Field Manager

Supplemental FeedingMany lake or pond owners interested in growing bigger Largemouth Bass would usually consider stocking forage fish as a primary method. However, there are several limiting factors that can affect growth rates, and the maximum potential size of Largemouth Bass, that should be considered first. For example, when a lake or pond already has a substantial population of forage fish such as Bluegill or other smaller species that Largemouth Bass feed on, adding more fish into the ecosystem could actually have an adverse effect by causing an overpopulation issue. Before implementing any fisheries management strategies, an assessment of your aquatic ecosystem and fish population should be performed by an experienced lake management professional to help determine the best strategies for managing your fishery.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Aquatic Vegetation and Trophy Fisheries

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 06, 2017

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine: Written by Industry Expert Dylan Kwak, Wildlife & Fisheries Biologist

PB_MayJun17_Kwak (1)-e.jpgLakes and ponds are scattered across many a countryside. Anglers often seek trophy fish and spend considerable amounts of time and money to create trophy fisheries. Although it is widely understood in professional circles that multiple strategies need to come together to establish and maintain a trophy fishery, many lake and pond owners struggle to reach their goals. Sure, pond owners understand the basic value of habitat, and know it takes ten pounds of baitfish for a game fish to gain a pound. They often seek the perfect mix of stocking rates, genetics, and water quality to create the best fishery possible, but don’t understand the importance of aquatic vegetation management as a crucial element that ties a system together to produce and grow those special fish.

When thinking about what an ideal lake looks like, the image of a clear lake with fishable banks and abundant wildlife often comes to mind. However, when managing a lake for fish production, it is important to take a step back, or in this case, a step into the water, and look at the lake from a different perspective—a fish’s perspective.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

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

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

Fisheries Management Strategies: Seeking Professional Advice

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 06, 2017

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

seeking-professional-fisheries-advice-pond-boss-e.jpgThanks to the information age and rapid online answers to most any question, creating a high-quality fishery is within closer reach to pond owners than it has ever been. As a result, many pond owners are taking a do it yourself approach to try and produce high quality fisheries. Sifting through the vast resources available on the Internet, pond owners are able to piece together a fisheries management plan on their own, one step at a time. Although this process seems appealing to many, it comes with a larger risk than having a seasoned fisheries biologist help develop a plan and provide foresight and insight as to what to expect. Management processes such as stocking strategies, installing aeration, understanding water quality, and feeding fish can be self-taught, but investing in the opinion of a professional often greatly enhances the odds of being successful.

In the last two years, I have had the pleasure of meeting a large number of people who have taken this do it yourself approach to develop high quality fisheries. In conversations with them, I observed several common threads. First, each of them built new ponds or drained and dredged older ponds, since each of the landowners were well informed that new and reset ponds have much greater potential than trying to fix a broken fishery. Secondly, all of them were capable of affording the advice of a professional, but gained enough confidence through their own research to avoid that expense. Lastly, while all of these pond owners were given good advice through their resources, they were all stumbling over similar issues, resulting in their seeking professional advice prior to stocking predator fish.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Sustainable Solutions for Lake and Pond Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 28, 2017


AS SEEN IN Various Community Associations Institute Chapter Newsletters: Written by Industry Expert, Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

nutrient-remediation-sustainable-solutions-e.jpgAs lakes and ponds age, they are continually impacted by sedimentation and nutrient enrichment. Eventually, sediment and nutrient overload can lead to poor water quality and increased algae and nuisance aquatic vegetation blooms. It is extremely important to establish maintenance programs for community lakes and ponds which also function as stormwater management facilities. A key feature of these programs is the ongoing management of invasive vegetation and algal blooms.

The repetitive application of pesticides as the primary strategy for vegetation control is not environmentally sustainable, and the management focus is shifting toward non-chemical methods. In addition, due to tightened regulations and general public wariness regarding the use of algaecides and herbicides, it is becoming increasingly important to find alternatives for our nuisance aquatic vegetation treatment programs.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Published Articles

Hydro-Raking: Prolong Stormwater Pond Dredging with This Alternative

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 07, 2017


AS SEEN IN Various Community Associations Institute Chapter Newsletters: Written by Industry Expert, Jeff Castellani, Director of Mechanical Operations

Every community will, at some point, be faced with implementing water quality management strategies to slow or reverse the aging process of their stormwater pond. Size of the waterbody, overall condition and available budget will determine which management options you can consider.

When a stormwater pond’s function of collecting and retaining stormwater runoff is impaired due to accumulated organic and inorganic sediment, as well as nuisance aquatic vegetative growth, physical removal of this sediment and vegetation by dredging or hydro-raking should be considered. These two management techniques are typically considered once proactive management techniques are no longer feasible or effective to manage a pond. Determining which of the two management options is right for your community will be highly dependent on the management objectives, ecological goals desired and budget.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Published Articles

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