How far we’ve come—from a one-man operation to a team of more than 350 scientists and aquatic management professionals. As we greet 2019, two of SOLitude’s leading lake and pond experts each celebrate the completion of 25 years in the field. With half a century of knowledge and experience between them, they reflect on the infancy of the freshwater management industry and forecast the exciting innovations held in the future.
Marc Bellaud, SOLitude President, has been a leader in the lake and pond management industry since 1993. After graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in biological sciences and a concentration in natural resources, Marc worked for two non-profit organizations before joining Aquatic Control Technology (now SOLitude Lake Management). He started as a field biologist and quickly became immersed in every aspect of the business. His roles and responsibilities expanded as the company continued to grow and he was named SePRO Applicator of the Year in 2006. He was later promoted to company President in 2013. Throughout his career, Marc has been actively involved in advancing the science of the aquatics industry as a good steward and widely-respected thought leader.
Glenn Sullivan, Certified Lake Manager and Environmental Scientist, has more than 25 years of hands-on freshwater management and industry leadership experience. Glenn Sullivan joined the lake and pond management industry in 1993 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Before joining SOLitude, Glenn served clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic as the President of Allied Biological. He is very active in the industry and has won several SePRO awards for his environmental stewardship and best practices approach to lake and pond management, including the Aquatic Environmental Stewardship Award (2003), Best Management Practices Award (2005), Sustainable Leadership Award (2008), and, most recently, the 2015 Applicator of the Year.
How has freshwater management changed since you joined the industry 25 years ago?
Marc: For me, the biggest overarching change that I’ve witnessed is the industry movement towards becoming more proactive than reactive. People are looking at more long term solutions like nutrient remediation, mechanical hydro-raking, nanobubbles, biologicals and other tools that can be used to solve water quality problems. We’re moving away from the band-aids and focusing more on the holistic side of management.
I’ve also found that more resources are being put behind research, data and scientific processes. We now have a better understanding of things like how invasive species spread, how to more effectively manage fisheries, and how human activity impacts the environment. Just 10 years ago, no one really had any awareness about the potential toxicity of cyanobacteria; now, we have tests for that. What was once confined to university settings or more well-known industries is now overlapping with ours—and this increased public awareness has brought the acute need for lake and pond management to the forefront.
Glenn: I would add that herbicide and algaecide use has certainly become more technical over the 25 years I’ve been in the industry. In addition to the introduction of new tools and technologies, applicators are becoming more educated. We’ve educated our clients on the importance of overall concentration and exposure times. There is also a greater awareness around the value of maintaining healthy native plants and beneficial vegetative buffer cover around water resources.
The industry has also shifted to become more selective about how and what we manage. We now understand the importance of striking a balance between target and non-target species. We’ve accomplished this by rethinking the ways that we use existing products and leveraging cutting-edge tools and technologies like ProcellaCOR, which are designed with this goal in mind.
What is one of the most important understandings we have about lake and pond management today?
Marc: We know that customization is key to establishing a successful management program. Everything, from land use practices, to the depth contours of your waterbody to the amount of sunlight it receives, has an effect on water quality and the health of the aquatic environment. Cutting-edge freshwater management companies understand this concept and take the time to understand the goals of their clients and create personalized, measurable plans to ensure those goals are exceeded. No two waterbodies are the same, so we believe no two management plans should be the same either.
Glenn: Agreed. Additionally, we know that the more tools and equipment available for the management of an aquatic resource, the better you can tailor your program. Today, we certainly have more tools than we did 25 years ago. For example, aeration is no longer a one-size-fits-all system. Nowadays, aeration equipment comes in a variety of sizes for different types and uses—from floating fountains to submersed diffused aerators to nanobubble technology. Likewise, we’ve gained more knowledge about the benefits of monitoring throughout the entire management process, and today this has become one of the most important things we do.
What should clients get excited about in the coming years?
Marc: Clients can get excited about the research and development of new technologies that will enable us to provide long term management of nuisance problems and better attack the source. SOLitude continuously works with leading researchers and manufacturers to bring new approaches to the forefront that have less potential for adverse impacts. Our shared company goal is to provide more sustainable solutions that enhance the natural processes of the environment. We recently accomplished this with the introduction of nanobubble technology, and we have many more exciting innovations in store.
Glenn: Looking towards the future of the aquatics industry, I expect that we will continue building upon and fine-tuning the existing technologies of today—and make these innovations available to a wider market. As we continue enhancing our use of technologies like aeration, nutrient remediation and biological augmentation, I see these strategies becoming integral in management programs. I believe that as knowledge and research about best freshwater management practices continues to be shared in a mainstream way, proactive maintenance will become the unquestionable standard. This is why we continue to educate our clients and the public around the biggest issues affecting their water resources—and why we are committed to staying on the leading edge of new industry developments.
Congratulations to Marc and Glenn for completing their 25-year milestone anniversaries. Here's to 25 more! Click to meet the rest of the SOLitude team.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, 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, 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.