Summer means longer, sunnier days filled with fishing, boating and other outdoor activities. But as the warm weather arrives, it can create conditions that may be dangerous for the health and well-being of your family and the environment. Implementing the following proactive and sustainable strategies—or working with your homeowners association, parks service or municipality to do so—can help prevent harmful algal blooms, nuisance mosquitoes and the spread of dangerous invasive plants throughout the summer.
Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
HABs (blue-green algae) can occur in the water naturally, but have been a problem for decades due to the negative environmental impacts associated with mass urban development and pollution. In addition to interfering with recreation and threatening agriculture and drinking water resources, scientific studies support evidence that exposure to cyanotoxins may lead to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
1. Correctly identify HABs
HABs often manifest in parallel streaks or clumped dots. They can also look like spilled blue, green or white paint or turn the water a bright “pea soup” green. If you suspect a harmful bloom, professional laboratory testing is necessary to confirm. Contact your lake management professional immediately.
2. Regularly test water quality
Property owners and municipality leaders often wait until after HABs appear to conduct water quality tests, but a regular proactive testing program can help predict and address water quality impairments before they get out of hand.
3. Introduce nanobubble aeration
Nanobubble aeration is a new technology registered with the EPA to naturally destroy existing HABs and algal toxins while infusing dissolved oxygen in the water resource for long-lasting water quality enhancement and algal bloom prevention.
4. Remediate excess nutrients
Nutrient loading is a vicious cycle that can accelerate with decades of invasive plant growth. Apply products like eco-friendly Phoslock, Alum and biochar, to bind with pollutants and keep them from supporting invasive species
Eradicate Invasive Plant Species
Invasive plants diminish the biological diversity of native plant life and destroy native habitats that insects, birds and mammals rely on for food and refuge. They can also interfere with recreation by clogging boat motors, tangling fishing lines and creating hazards that could drown swimmers. Without proper management, invasive species can cost municipalities, homeowners associations and taxpayers billions of dollars each year to effectively eradicate
5. Reduce stormwater runoff
Excess nutrients like Phosphorous and Nitrogen help fuel algae and invasive species growth. Prevent undesirable nutrients, from fertilizer and pet waste, from entering your waterbody by planting a beneficial vegetative buffer comprised of native grasses and flowering plants. Allow it to grow 3-5 ft from the shoreline.
6. Physically remove vegetation
A mechanical harvester can be used to achieve “area selective” control of nuisance aquatic vegetation through physical removal. Typically, one to two harvests are recommended to provide season-long control of commonly targeted species.
7. Educate your community
Support proactive management with community education. Place signs around lakes and ponds to discourage the transportation of plant matter. Install dog waste disposal stations and encourage residents to pick up garbage and grass clippings.
Thwart Mosquitoes & Midges
Mosquitoes pose a significant risk to public health as they carry many debilitating and deadly diseases, such as Zika and West Nile Virus. Though mosquitoes often lay eggs in lakes and ponds, they can reproduce in very small bodies of water, including those that form in potholes, clogged gutters and even trash. Midges, the “cousin” of mosquitoes, don’t suck blood or transmit diseases, but they can be quite the nuisance by swarming lights and building exteriors. When large numbers die, they smell of dead fish.
8. Stock fish
Stocking native fish species is a great tool to keep midge and mosquito populations in check. Arrange a professional electrofishing survey to analyze fish populations and create a strategic plan to introduce bluegill, minnows and mosquitofish.
9. Circulate the waterbody
Mosquitoes and midges lay eggs in stagnant water. A floating fountain or submersed diffused aeration system can help create turbulent water conditions that deter them and raise dissolved oxygen levels that help oxidize nutrients – a primary food source of filter-feeding larvae. Adding a flowering vegetative buffer around the waterbody can help attract dragonflies that consume mosquito larvae.
10. Schedule stormwater inspections
Stormwater ponds are designed to capture water and pollutants before releasing it slowly, but clogged or damaged systems can create stagnant conditions that encourage mosquito breeding. Regular inspections will help minimize this threat.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management needs.
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.