How Hurricanes Are Increasing the Spread of Invasive Species In Our Communities
Hurricanes are known for flooding, widespread destruction, and displacement of families. But a less recognized consequence of hurricanes is the spread of invasive species. When hurricanes pass over vast areas, water levels rise and disperse plants and animals to new habitats. This phenomenon can have a detrimental effect on our communities – and it’s becoming more commonplace as these weather events continue their pattern of increased frequency and intensity.
Invasive Species Can Be Introduced From Overseas
We often associate the presence of invasive species with global trade or the illegal pet industry. And, in some cases, invasive species have been purposefully introduced for objectives like pest control. Herbivorous Triploid Grass Carp, for example, is used for natural aquatic weed management in lakes and ponds. Though native to Eastern Asia, their populations are kept in check through legal oversight and mandatory sterilization. Conversely, South American cane toads (also known as bufo toads) were introduced to Florida in the 1930s to help control sugar cane pests. Unfortunately, due to irresponsible management, their populations have exploded. Now, they are outcompeting native toads for food and habitat, and continue encroaching new regions each year.
Species Spread by Hurricanes: Apple Snails, Burmese Pythons, Zebra Mussels, Armored Catfish & More
Hurricanes are helping to expedite this process. In fact, 2020’s Hurricane Isaias displaced at least 114 aquatic species, according to the United States Geological Survey’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species team. Among them was the apple snail, which aggressively feeds on vegetation that native snails need to survive. Though they are normally found in coastal areas across Florida, seasonal hurricanes are pushing them inland. This is the case for many other foreign invaders, including Burmese pythons, zebra mussels, armored catfish, and blue tilapia, to name a few. Each of these animals has an alarming impact on our ecosystems, from shoreline degradation to stormwater equipment damage.
Invasive Species Like Phragmites & Alligatorweed Feed On Beneficial Plants
Invasive species don’t just outcompete their native counterparts, they contribute to a restructuring of the entire food web. They excessively feed on beneficial plants, allowing vegetation like Phragmites, Brazilian Elodea, watermilfoil, alligatorweed, and hydrilla to grow in their place. Eventually, these small changes can have a far-reaching impact on our stormwater facilities, drinking water reservoirs, and irrigation systems. In fact, the spread of invasive species costs the United States an estimated $120 billion a year.
Invasive Bufo Toads & Apple Snails Resemble Beneficial Species
We face hundreds of hurricanes in the coming years, which we know will continue exacerbating these problems. Stopping the spread may seem like a lost cause, but we all can play a role in preventing the dispersion of invasive plants and animals in our areas. Municipalities, health departments, and other community groups can find great success through public education. Many people are unable to distinguish invasive species from their native counterparts. Bufo toads, apple snails, and many plants closely resemble the beneficial species with which they’re competing. And in some cases, invasive plants like Lantana are seen as a beautiful addition to natural areas due to visually appealing flowers and colors.
Take A Proactive Approach
Our waterways play a large role in the spread of invasives due to hurricanes and tropical storms. That’s why proactive management around lakes and ponds is so important. Regular monitoring may help identify an undesirable species early on so that intervention can take place before it gets out of hand. Professional annual management programs make this easy. Aquatic Specialists have the access and authority to use highly-targeted EPA-registered pesticides, as well as advanced technologies like drones to make surveillance safer, more efficient, and more precise. Professionals also have reliable strategies to cultivate the delicate habitat back to its original state, such as water quality testing, shoreline restoration, buffer management, biological augmentation, nutrient remediation, and aeration using innovations like Oxygen Saturation Technology.
Offering Premiere Lake Services Like Aquatic Weed Control & Invasive Species Prevention
The spread of invasive species is a problem that won’t go away anytime soon, but it is not a lost cause. If you suspect an invasive plant or animal is present in your area, be sure to contact a professional for identification and sustainable management.
Great Partnership for Nearly A Decade
I’m the property manager of a large residential community in the Tampa Bay area. The property has 27 waterbodies ranging in size from several hundred square feet to almost 69 acres. SOLitude has serviced our aquatic needs for nearly a decade which have ranged from shoreline restoration and aquatic plantings to algae treatment and aeration with excellence and integrity. As a partner in our efforts to always improve our water quality they are a great resource and are able to provide any service relating to water that may be needed.
Our Clear Lake Wouldn’t Be Possible Without SOLitude
Our Lake Association believes that good service and good results deserve a positive review. We’ve been doing business with SOLitude for about 25 years. The results of their treatments are quite obvious because of the amount of recreational use our lake gets during the summer months that wouldn’t be possible without the weed control SOLitude provides. Back in 1986, the lake became almost unusable because of the invasive weed problem. After two years of treatments, the lake became what it is today – a beautiful body of water that is usable for all summer recreation. SOLitude has been great to do business with. Their people are responsive to any issues and are always ready and willing to help in any way they can. We are happy to recommend them to any lake or pond association that may need assistance dealing with weed problems.
No More Algae!
SOLitude has completely corrected our community pond. No more algae, which has kept the fountain running well. We have a monthly maintenance contract, and I always receive notice of when they are coming and if they found any issues.
Turned Pond Into a Thing of Beauty
SOLitude has been servicing our large residential pond for some years now. They do a wonderful job in all respects! They took a water plant and algae-clogged mess and turned it into a thing of beauty! Work quality is superb, customer service is first-rate. We are extremely well pleased.
Keep Lake Free of Algae & Debris
SOLitude Lake Management has been the lake management company for our community lake located in Alexandria, VA, for five years now and we have found them to be very professional and responsive to our needs of keeping the lake free of algae and other debris. They also service the lighted fountains when needed. The team members are friendly, receptive, and willing to discuss lake maintenance options when signing the contract.
Recommend Without Hesitation
I have used SOLitude’s services for about five years. They have turned my pond into a very fine little fishery for bass and bluegills. They have also made the pond much more attractive. SOLitude’s consultants check my pond on a regular basis and I have found them all to be knowledgeable, friendly, and very service oriented. For any landowner looking to improve the appearance and the fishing productivity of their pond, I would recommend SOLitude without hesitation.
My subdivision in College Station, Texas, has two lakes and SOLitude Lake Management took over water and shoreline management six months ago. While we still have occurrences of water weeds, algae, and duckweed, we are getting on top of the problems much quicker. While we are only halfway into our 1st-year contract, these early, positive results are encouraging. We appreciate the service and especially the science SOLitude brings to our relationship.
Restored Our Basin
SOLitude has been professional, timely, and cost-effective while providing services to our Borough. They’ve assisted with pond management, treatment of invasive vegetation, and restoration of an overgrown detention basin/pond. I would highly recommend their services.
Our Lake Is In The Best Condition
Our lake had portions of it that you couldn’t get a kayak through. We used to call SOLitude when we saw a problem, but then it was too late. We entered into an annual contract for them to periodically inspect our lake and treat it accordingly. SOLitude’s employee, Jeff, calls regularly, visits our lake, inspects it, and if needed, treats whatever required -We have not had any major weed or algae problem. Many of our members have commented that the lake is in the best overall condition in a long time. I am very pleased with their constant care of our lake.
#1 Choice for Lake Management
Great client relations and very professional & knowledgable service teams. #1 choice for lake/pond clean-up, treatment, and removal of invasive species (among other services).
Addressed Overgrowth In Canal
We had major overgrowth in our canal leading to lake tarpon. SOLitude came out promptly, assessed the situation, and addressed the problem. We are very happy with their service and have also retained them to maintain our canal on a monthly basis.
Pond Is Completely Clear
When SOLitude came to our rescue, our pond was covered in water lettuce. As each month went by, the pond became clearer and clearer until now it is completely clear and I am completely grateful that the beautiful, clear pond that was there when we moved in 36 years ago, is once more. Thanks to Mike and everyone at SOLitude who made this possible!
Homeowners Are Happy with Results
SOLitude has been maintaining our community lakes for the past two years and they are now in excellent shape. Before we switched to SOLitude, we had severe problems with algae growth during the summer. They were able to analyze the problem and over a period of about a year get the lakes cleared up. Our homeowners are very happy with the results.
A reliable company that you can trust. A+ service. Keeps our lakes stocked up with fish and algae-free throughout the year.
Thorough Assessment Of My Pond
Received prompt and thorough assessment of a pond on my rural property. Received the advice I needed to prevent algae and for improving conditions for fish. They have good educational material on their website that is free.
Responsive & Resolved Our Issues
SOLitude has managed our community’s 24 lakes for many years and we are very satisfied with their performance. One of our lakes has been experiencing regular algae blooms and SOLitude’s biologist, Christina, performed a comprehensive lake and water analysis to determine the cause of the problem. Recommendations were presented and the problem was resolved. The SOLitude technician, Maxwell, is in control of managing our littoral plants and is very responsive to resolving identified issues.
You Can Count On SOLitude
Christine and SOLitude are the best lake company I have had the privilege of working with as a Property Manager. I do not have to worry about service, fountains, aerators, littorals, or most importantly weed infestation on lake banks. I have been in the business for over 10 years and if the property is one Christine is in charge of with SOLitude, you can count on them running things very professionally. Absolute 5-star treatment.
Managed Invasive Plant In 45-Acre Lake
Thomas has been my service tech over the last year helping to manage our 45-acre lake’s problem of dealing with horribly invasive water hyacinths. Thomas is professional, courteous, and knows his profession well. I look forward to continuing to work with him and SOLitude next year and moving forward.
Helped Restore Community Pond
These guys are great. Every time I stop them to ask what they are doing they are very polite and knowledgeable. Before we had them in our community our ponds were loaded with scum. Keep up the good work!
From Swap to Beautiful, Clear Pond
For about 30 years I watched the encroachment of weeds across my pond, limiting not only our recreational use but our aesthetic appreciation as well. SOLitude Lake Management came in with their hydro-raking harvester and clear it all out! It was the first time I could swim across the entire pond! No swamp, just beautiful water that passers-by slow down to look at.
SOLitude Provided Wise Counsel
SOLitude provided wise counsel on how to keep our lake healthy and provided frequent onsite follow-up visits to check the success of new products. I am particularly impressed with the herbicide team!
Successfully Eradicated Hydrilla
I’ve been battling Hydrilla milfoil for a number of years, without great success. I stumbled across SOLitude Lake Management online and I’m so glad I did! Noel and his team of professionals listened to our problem, gave advice, and developed a management plan for our lake. They applied a very thorough milfoil-specific treatment and now, all of the visible weed is eradicated! I wish I would’ve found this company years ago! I would highly recommend anyone who is looking for a team to help with any lake weed issues.
Recommendations Are Thoughtful & Achievable
Erin and the rest of the SOLitude crew do a fantastic job monitoring water quality and algae growth. Erin used environmentally friendly products to control both the algae and maintain water quality with great success. Site visits are as promised and reports are clear and concise and recommendations are always thoughtful and achievable. We appreciate the effort by Erin and the other SOLitude staff that support our effort.
I Suggest You Call SOLitude
SOLitude was very professional and understood the budget constraints that we have at our community center and lake. They proposed properly sized solutions to help us solve the algae problems in our lake. The staff was great to work with – I suggest you call them.
Our Fishery Is In It’s Best Condition Ever
Thank you to SOLitude for all your help at our Fishing Club. Our hydrilla problem is practically non-existent now. The fish survey you completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program you developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been! Your presentation to our stockholders at our annual meeting was extremely well received. We are getting ready to enhance our fish attractors as suggested. We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that you are available to talk with us when we have questions. We look forward to continuing our association with SOLitude.
A Huge Improvement with SOLitude
I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the results of the algae treatment. We noticed a huge improvement very quickly, and at this point, the pond looks really, really great. Also, the fish are thriving – some of the bass are over a foot, and the Bluegills have also gotten big. We are just thrilled. Thank you so much for your responsiveness.
From an Eyesore to Thriving Ecosystem
In one season, SOLitude Lake Management turned the two lakes on my Virginia property from dead, weed-infested, eyesores into thriving, fish-filled, ecosystems – and they have maintained them as such ever since!
Pleased with the Quality of ServiceWe’ve been working with SOLitude Lake Management since 2009 when an aggressive aquatic weed was becoming a problem and taking over our pond. The staff of SOLitude Lake Management identified the weed and treated the pond promptly with much success. Since that time, our ponds have been monitored monthly by their competent staff and precautions have been taken so that the pond weeds do not get out of control. We are pleased with the quality of service and their effort to work with us towards an organic approach to keeping our ponds healthy.
Thank You from Camp Holiday TrailsThank you for coordinating the restoration effort for our pond and donating labor for the aerator installation and watermeal treatment. This will ensure that hundreds of kids with special medical needs, and those who have the honor, joy, and inspiration of working with them, will benefit from the Camp Holiday Trails experience this year!
Top Notch Service
When one of our stormwater BMPs was overtaken by phragmites, we called SOLitude for treatment. From the bidding process to the follow-up, the service we received was top-notch. A year later, the Phragmites have still not returned. Considering how invasive this species is, this is quite an accomplishment!
Got Ponds Back Into Shape
We have 5 water features on the property and before SOLitude Lake Management came, our ponds were full of algae and aquatic weeds, looking very unhealthy. In the past 7 years, SOLitude has cleaned out our ponds and got them back into shape making them look like amazing water features as they should be.
Taken A Huge Burden Off My Shoulders
We used to struggle with many different issues on holes 15, 16, and 17 at our Country Club. It was not uncommon for us to see algae blooms appear out of nowhere along one of the most important focal points of the course. Since SOLitude Lake Management has been taking care of the pond for us, we have had very few issues with the aesthetic qualities of our pond. SOLitude has taken a huge burden off of my shoulders and now I don’t even have to worry about the appearance of our pond
Controlled Invasive Plant Growth
Phragmites had taken over our waterfront and choked out the wildlife access to our pond. SOLitude worked in conjunction with our engineer to procure the necessary coastal and environmental permitting. We are now in year one of a multi-year plan to control invasive plant growth. Almost immediately, the wildlife returned to our pond. Well done SOLitude!
Go-To for Wetland Preservation
Liz was extremely helpful in providing diligent and competitive pricing and pushed aggressively to meet our deadlines. The quality exceeded expectations and the service was first class! I strongly recommend SOLitude Lake Management to anyone seeking wetland/preservation/lake or even pond maintenance and/or mitigation of EPD. SOLitude performed our initial wetland preservation mitigation to clean and treat for invasive species of plants and maintain/treat on-site ponds & wetlands. Great job Liz & SOLitude!
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.