3 Signs Your Pond Is Healthy
Spending time around a tranquil, stunning waterbody is one of life’s simple joys. Watching fish and wildlife, feeling the gentle movement of water under a kayak, or soaking in the sunset are unbeatable experiences that everyone deserves access to. Stakeholders who oversee a waterbody understand the value it can add to their properties, but it can be difficult to know whether or not it’s in good shape. Sometimes, the symptoms of an unhealthy waterbody are much more obvious than signs that it’s on the right track.
Here are 3 signs of a healthy lake or pond:
1. Balanced Pond Water Quality
Water quality is an excellent gauge of lake and pond health. Though every waterbody is different, and every stakeholder has different goals, water quality can be assessed through both visual inspections and professional water quality tests in a laboratory setting.
Visually, healthy water is usually marked by sufficient clarity, with several feet of visibility. Professionals may use a tool called a Secchi disk to measure water transparency. Though some suspended sediment and matter in the water column can be normal, particularly after rainstorms, a prolonged murky appearance may indicate chronic erosion, poor circulation, or other problems. Likewise, scummy or oily algae with white, blue, red/gold, or “pea-soup” green colors may be cause for concern. These characteristics are common for cyanobacteria, an algal species known to release harmful toxins in the water.
In the lab, scientists can evaluate water quality characteristics that are not visible to the eye, including pH, dissolved oxygen, and total phosphorus. Ideal conditions will depend on the needs of the particular waterbody, but balance is key. When tracked on a recurring basis, these and other parameters help professionals identify any underlying problems and implement strategies to circumvent issues before they physically appear.
2. Stable Pond Shorelines
Healthy aquatic ecosystems start outside of the water. As rainfall flows into lakes and ponds during storms, it picks up pollutants, sediment, organic debris, and other matter that can significantly affect water quality conditions.
When evaluating the health of a pond, professionals often begin with shoreline observations. A robust population of native plant species around the perimeter is a good sign. This growth forms a beneficial buffer of protection that helps filter pollutants swept up by stormwater, and slows its velocity, limiting physical distress on the delicate shoreline.
A healthy pond shoreline will also be free of exposed roots or pipes, steep drop-offs, and sediment “islands” or peninsulas. If any of these signs are detected, professionals may recommend using bioengineering techniques to restabilize the pond bank.
3. Ecological Balance in Your Pond
Ecological balance refers to the state of equilibrium between plants, animals, and other organisms within a pond or lake. In a balanced environment, all species keep each other in check and are better able to withstand and recover from disturbances like weather events, swings in temperature, or disease.
Ponds with strong ecosystems are less likely to experience disproportionate growth of pond weeds or algae. In fact, small amounts of native pond plant growth may be considered healthy in these environments as they provide essential habitat and nourishment for desirable species. The presence of diverse fish and amphibians, beneficial insects like dragonflies, bees, and butterflies, and wildlife like ducks and hummingbirds may indicate that your pond ecosystem is healthy.
Signs of imbalances may be the presence of invasive pond plants or animals, which can disrupt the equilibrium by out-competing native pond plant and animal species. Through regular monitoring, professionals can keep an eye out for invasive species and take steps to safely eliminate them if identified.
Restore Your Pond's Health
- Before & After Invasive Plant Removal
Achieve Aquatic Sustainability with Sustainable Solutions
Just like your body, the health of a pond is influenced by hundreds, if not thousands of factors – and what affects one may not have the same impact on another. It can be difficult to distinguish if your lake or pond is truly healthy or if it’s developing problems that aren’t yet visible.
An experienced partner not only understands this struggle, but also the importance of getting to the bottom of it through consistent data collection, surveillance, and maintenance solutions such as nutrient remediation, fountains and pond aerators, biological bacteria, mechanical hydro-raking, and more.
Gaining as much information as possible about your lake or pond will allow you to make informed decisions and preserve a beautiful ecosystem for new experiences and memories to be made.
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.