Make Your Lake a Luxury, Not a Liability
Lakes and ponds can be an amazing asset in HOAs, golf courses, city centers, and private properties. Clean, healthy waterbodies have the ability to transform these spaces by adding dynamic movement, attracting desirable wildlife, and engaging our innate, biological desire to spend time in and around the water. However, these are sensitive and sometimes volatile environments; they can easily begin to deteriorate, and even become hazardous, if the right management strategies are not in place. Rather than enhancing a community, they may aggravate residents and plague the managers responsible for maintaining the safety, aesthetics, and value of their property.
The longer we let problems persist, the more they compound, creating a negative cycle that is impossible to ignore—and very challenging to reverse. Luckily, stakeholders have many professional solutions at their disposal to make their water resources a focal point for all to admire and enjoy:
Create Beautiful, Clean Water that All Can Enjoy
We find ourselves drawn to the water for many reasons. Often, it’s to take in the beauty of nature. Watching the sunset across a lake or pond is one of life’s simple pleasures. Communities can further enhance these experiences by integrating floating fountains that delight the senses with mesmerizing spray patterns and the peaceful sound of moving water. Fountains can incorporate unique lighting features to create an elegant backdrop long after the sun has set. To subtly bring out more desirable colors in the water, eco-friendly black or blue pond dyes can also be applied.
For additional enhancement, stakeholders may also introduce native plants in the form of a vegetative buffer around the waterbody’s perimeter. Buffer plants not only help shield the water from trash and pollutants, but they can also produce stunning flowers and attract native birds and butterflies that charm wildlife watchers. Consider installing benches or gazebos to encourage these experiences.
Improve and Support Functionality
Most of the waterbodies found in homeowners communities were originally established by developers to collect and divert stormwater during rainstorms. This means they typically contain many important components located both under and around the water. Damage to inflow pipes, outlets, irrigation fixtures, and other equipment can occur as a result of severe flooding, invasive plant growth, and an influx of trash and debris. Removing these materials is essential to the health and functionality of the waterbody.
Though proactive management is key to preventing weed growth, aquatic plants that are choking up stormwater parts should be quickly eliminated with highly-targeted EPA-registered herbicide technologies. Once the waterbody has been reset, communities can begin implementing proactive management programs to maintain balance. Professionals may also recommend scooping out accumulated bottom muck and detritus with a hydro-rake (floating backhoe), or a full-scale restoration via dredging. Dredging is the process of removing all organic materials to restore the waterbody to its original condition.
Lakes and ponds are multifaceted, meaning functionality can go beyond stormwater management. Communities can increase the functionality of their waterbodies by stocking largemouth bass, bluegill, and minnows for fishing, and by providing kayaks or paddle boats for resident use.
Improve Water Safety
While drowning is usually the biggest concern associated with the water, communities face other water-related safety risks.
Toxic algae is a growing danger in freshwater ecosystems. Dogs, fish, and wildlife can become sick and die following exposure to cyanotoxins. Humans may develop rashes, nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches, fever, and possibly even neurological diseases. Algal toxins can be found in the water and air around the aquatic environment, and they can be difficult to eliminate once discovered. That’s why proactive management is the most effective approach. Regular water quality monitoring allows professionals to analyze and intercept algal blooms before they get out of control.
Improve Shoreline Safety
In addition to toxic algae, one of the largest areas of liability is the shoreline. Crumbling, deformed banks aren’t just visually off-putting, they can pose a safety risk to residents and their children if they venture too close to the edge. To prevent residents, guests, or vendors from falling or injuring themselves around the water—and avoid potential lawsuits—professionals suggest rebuilding damaged shorelines using new bioengineering technologies that physically hold soil in place. This solution not only provides long-lasting stability and safety, but it also supports aesthetic beauty. Following restoration efforts, communities commonly install turf or introduce flowering buffer plants directly into the knitted containment material so that it integrates naturally into the surrounding environment.
Start Enjoying Your Water with Sustainable Management
We all have memories around lakes or ponds that will stay with us forever, but we tend to forget that aquatic ecosystems age just like we do. This can have a direct impact on property values, the appeal, and the reputation of your community. An annual management program will help you achieve the trifecta of beauty, functionality, and safety by prioritizing your waterbody all year long. Contact your freshwater management professional to start designing a plan that fits your unique budget and needs.
Repair Unsafe Shorelines with Effective Solutions
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.