Written by Industry Expert Erin Stewart, Aquatic Biologist & Regional Leader
When it comes to the management of a lake or pond, many people look for natural and environmentally friendly options. There are, in fact, many eco-friendly solutions that can be used to help improve aquatic environments. And these strategies are often employed as part of a proactive lake and pond management program.
The most effective and sustainable management strategies should be chosen based on the specific conditions of the waterbody. A basic water quality analysis is typically the first step in identifying possible causes of problems in our lakes and ponds. Water quality analyses often show that nutrient imbalances are causing undesirable conditions. Managing these nutrients creates a more balanced aquatic ecosystem, which helps reduce the potential for nuisance algae, aquatic weeds and foul odors. Unwanted lake and pond nutrients can be limited through the use of environmentally friendly management practices including the addition of beneficial bacteria, nutrient remediation products, vegetative buffers and aeration.
Beneficial bacteria products work to reduce and cycle problem-causing, excessive nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. These products are made of high concentrations of naturally occurring aquatic bacteria that help improve water quality by speeding up the natural process of nitrogen cycling and breakdown of organic material.
Nutrient remediation can also be a very effective way to bind nutrients, so they are no longer bio-available. Aluminum sulfate, or Alum, and Phoslock are products that bind phosphates and reduce the potential for release of phosphorus from the sediments. When applied properly by a licensed lake and pond management professional, these products are non-toxic and safe for aquatic life and all water uses.
In states where permitting allows, stocking sterile Grass Carp can be a great option for biological weed control. These fish are strict herbivores that feed on aquatic vegetation and do not compete with game fish for food or habitat.
Submersed aeration systems and floating fountains help to improve water quality by increasing oxygen levels throughout the resource. In high oxygen concentrations, phosphorus remains less likely to re-suspend from the bottom sediments and fish are able to utilize more of the water column. In places were electricity access is limited, solar and wind-powered aeration systems offer an equally effective and even “greener” aeration solution for lake and pond owners.
Listen to Industry Expert Bo Burns discuss the importance of aeration:
Managing vegetation in and around waterbodies can have a positive effect on water quality as well. Beneficial vegetative buffers surrounding lakes or ponds with native grasses and wetland plants can act as natural filters to absorb nutrients and keep sediments from entering the aquatic resource.
It’s important to keep in mind that the implementation of these solutions is often most effective when they are used together or in conjunction with other management strategies already in place. For example, in the presence of aeration, beneficial bacteria will be more effective and provide better results. Adding one or many proactive, eco-friendly measures to your management program can ultimately lead to a greatly improved aquatic habitat—and you’ll also feel good knowing that you are being kind to your Mother Earth in the process!
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management needs.
Erin Stewart is an Aquatic Biologist and Regional Leader based in Denver, CO. She has managed lakes and ponds in the region since 2008. Erin has in-depth knowledge of water quality and its impacts to fisheries and the overall health of local aquatic environments. Erin has interests in aeration design, fisheries management and wetlands restoration. She has also worked on several projects involving the management of cyanobacteria in drinking water reservoirs and recreational lakes out West.
SOLitude Lake Management is an environmental firm committed to providing full-service solutions that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Our services include lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management programs, algae and aquatic weed control, mechanical harvesting, hydro-raking, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, water quality testing and restoration, bathymetry, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat assessments, invasive species management and nuisance wildlife management. Services, consulting and aquatic products 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, parks, and state and federal agencies. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.