AS SEEN IN Community Manager, a publication of Community Associations Institute (CAI). Reprinted with permission. Written by Gavin Ferris, Ecologist
Pond management experts are rarely asked to visit a lake or stormwater pond that is in good health. Though it is not a responsible practice, many property managers don’t call us until significant water quality problems have already appeared. I remember the first pond I was called to in my early days as a pond management professional. A neighborhood association was not able to host their annual fishing tournament because their 5-acre pond was completely covered in thick green filamentous algae. When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was a dozen bales of barley straw bobbing in the green slime. I’ve since had many clients tell me they tried this folk remedy for pond algae, but I’ve never seen it work.
In the years following that first site visit, I’ve seen lots of homegrown pond management efforts. Sometimes a jug of algaecide from the local farm store or manual removal of the offending vegetation is all that’s called for. But many times, these “do-it-yourself” (DIY) solutions go horribly wrong—and we get called in after a major fish kill or another avoidable catastrophe as a result.