Written by Fisheries & Wildlife Scientist Daniel Hood
As a Fisheries and Wildlife Scientist who regularly travels to client properties, people often recognize me as an aquatic consultant at gas stations or while I’m parked getting lunch. Sometimes people will approach me to ask a question, and it tends to be the same one every time: “Hey, I have some weeds in my pond that have taken over in the past few years. What can I do to get rid of them?” It is a well-intentioned and welcome question, but often one which cannot be answered as quickly and simply as the inquirer expects. Aquatic weed control is a nuanced problem, and the best approach is usually influenced by many different variables.
Lake and pond management professionals generally refrain from making recommendations until they have a chance to conduct an official aquatic weed survey. An onsite evaluation is the most direct, effective way to identify important physical factors within the waterbody, determine potential problem species, and consider the management goals of the property owner or community. Each of these variables is equally important in its own regard and require a unique custom approach and management plan to effectively address.
When it comes to getting rid of pond weeds, lake managers typically begin by properly identifying the invasive species that is present, taking careful note of its physical characteristics. Proper identification removes the risk of using an ineffective control measure—a mistake that can result in a large loss of time and resources. Plant identification is sometimes a difficult task, requiring dichotomous keys, stereoscopes, and even lab tests. Once the species has been properly identified, we will consider its physical requirements in order to develop a multi-faceted management approach.
Sustainable control of a problem species is the primary objective when developing a management plan. Lake management professionals utilize many products and services to eradicate undesirable invasive species. Some ponds can simply be managed through the application of nutrient remediation products such as Alum, Phoslock, or Biochar—or, biological control measures such as stocking triploid grass carp. Others situations may call for extensive vegetation and sediment removal through hydro-raking or dredging. More established infestations may require the use of a new “reduced risk” herbicide-alternative called ProcellaCOR, which is designed to only impact target species. Working with a professional who understands these options and how to best use them is the most efficient way to ensure the safe, thorough resolution of your aquatic weed issue.
While environmental balance and safety are of upmost importance, stakeholder goals are also at the forefront of our consideration when designing management programs. Just as no two waterbodies are the same, neither are stakeholder desires. A fishing and duck hunting pond owner will almost certainly have vastly different goals than a homeowners’ association with a five-acre pond within city limits. Each group has their own idea of what a perfect lake looks like. This is where communication becomes the key to reaching our client’s goals. We take the time to ask the right questions and allow the client to explain their vision. We communicate with our clients throughout the restoration process and beyond to ensure the heath, beauty and function of their waterbody continues to exceed their goals.
Water resources with multiple stakeholders present their own challenges. However, our team is experienced in communicating with multiple stakeholders to develop goals and strategies tailored to the interests of the entire group. Programs are designed to correct existing problems, improve the quality of the lake or pond to fit the group’s desires and provide through ongoing education. Community education within these settings is especially important, as each small action by individuals has a cumulative effect on the aquatic system as a whole.
So, to answer the original question… it depends. We can solve your pond weed issues, but what are you looking to get out of your lake? Is it a family fishing pond for the grandkids to enjoy, or a lake serving 500 homeowners that enjoy everything from waterskiing to bass fishing? Once the right questions are asked, then we can then recommend an appropriate aquatic weed control plan and begin helping you reach the full potential of your waterbody.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management needs.
Daniel Hood is a wildlife and fisheries scientist who provides SOLitude’s clients with sustainable solutions for the management of their lakes and ponds. Daniel is passionate about the outdoors and has a special interest in utilizing the most current environmental technologies to help clients enjoy the full potential of their properties. Daniel graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010, earning his bachelor’s degree in Marine Science with a concentration in Biological Oceanography.
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.