Misconceptions About Lake & Pond Nutrients: What’s The True Story?
Nutrients are required for all living things to survive. They are metabolized for energy or fuel so organisms can develop and grow. The nutrients that humans and animals need are provided by the food we eat. Similarly, plants take up the nutrients they need from soil and the atmosphere through roots and leaves. In lakes and ponds, these nutrients are found suspended in the water and within bottom sediments. However, nutrients, which we normally think of as a good thing, can also be very damaging to aquatic resources if concentrations are too high.
Excess Nutrients = Excess Pond Algae & Invasive Plants
Phosphorus and nitrogen are the primary nutrients found in lakes and ponds. Aquatic plants absorb nutrients through roots down in the sediments or leaves. A reduced amount of these major nutrients is considered a limiting factor that can impact healthy plant and wildlife growth. But if a pond or lake is experiencing excessive algae or weed growth, it is likely due to an excess of these nutrients – this is often referred to as nutrient pollution. Just like it is not good for our bodies to eat too many cookies, it is not good for water to contain more “fuel” than aquatic life can utilize in a healthy way.
To prevent a waterbody from becoming too green or fueling excess plant growth, there are physical, chemical, and biological options to safely and effectively manage the excess nutrients in the water:
Solutions To Increase Water Circulation & Oxygenation
Increasing water movement and dissolved oxygen concentrations is one effective way to improve water quality and reduce the potential for algae and vegetation growth. This is because oxygen helps create water quality conditions that make nutrients less bioavailable for plant and algae consumption. Floating fountains and submersed aeration are great tools that circulate the water column from bottom to top through physical mixing. And new innovations like Oxygen Saturation Technology can be used to target specific layers in the water column that are deficient in oxygen and create balanced, oxygen-rich conditions through the aquatic environment.
Alum & Phoslock Are Used To Naturally Bind Nutrients
Likewise, there are products available that naturally bind to excess nutrients and sink them to the bottom, thus limiting the presence of reactive concentrations. Aluminum sulfate (alum) is a salt-based product that binds phosphorus and other suspended particles in the water, forming a floc which settles to the bottom of a pond or lake. Phoslock is another product which is a mineral bound to a bentonite or clay matrix. It permanently binds to phosphorus in the water so that it can no longer contribute to plant and algae growth.
Biological Products “Digest” & “Breadown” Excess Pond Nutrients
Biological products also work by breaking down or “digesting” nutrients within a pond or lake. Beneficial aquatic bacteria consume and absorb nutrients before plants and algae can. Supplementing a lake or pond with high concentrations of these beneficial bacteria helps accelerate the natural processes of nutrient consumption and cycling within a resource. As other beneficial organisms such as beneficial diatoms, zooplankton, and fish feed on the bacteria, nutrients are directed towards the native food web, leaving less for algae and weeds to uptake.
Restore Your Shoreline & Plant A Natural Vegetative Buffer
In addition, controlling external sources of nutrients is important. Correcting erosion issues with bioengineered shoreline technologies and introducing a beneficial vegetative buffer can help absorb runoff from surrounding areas. Preventing grass clippings, leaves, and debris from collecting in the waterbody reduces the nutrient influx from this organic material. Switching to low phosphate, slow-release fertilizers near resources or stopping fertilizer use altogether within the watershed helps limit what enters the water. It is also helpful to limit the presence of geese and be sure not to overfeed fish.
Regular Water Quality Tests Are A Must
As always, it is important to assess water chemistry of every aquatic resource, especially if there is a problem that may likely be due to a nutrient imbalance. Regular water quality assessments will provide the information needed to determine the best solution or “work-out routine” to manage nutrients and get your pond or lake back into great shape. One of the best ways to ensure your waterbody receives timely, consistent care is through a professional annual management program, which protects your waterbody with an entire toolbox of strategies and technologies.
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The SOLitude Team is absolutely fabulous!SOLitude consistently provides top notch customer service and performance, whether it is over the phone or in person on-site. My questions are always answered promptly by your professional and knowledgeable staff. The SOLitude Team is absolutely fabulous!
Working with the team from SOLitude Lake Management took away the pressure of dealing with an issue that I had never specialized in
Working with the team from SOLitude Lake Management took away the pressure of dealing with an issue that I had never specialized in. The knowledge of everyone involved helped keep the process moving, from engineering to local code compliance. They knew the course that needed to be taken and it was implemented in a timely manner, causing the project to come to completion well within our expectations
Immediate Communication and Actionable Timelines
SOLitude Lake Management has consistently performed to a high standard within the three communities they currently service for my clients. Whether it is routine maintenance or a major issue, I can always be assured that when I call or email we will have almost immediate communication and actionable timelines. I am particularly impressed with Brent Weber, the Environmental Scientist that is routinely assigned to my properties. He consistently keeps me informed and up-to-date on the status of new issues and general or routine upkeep. In a busy industry such as this one, having someone that stays in touch is critical and appreciated. Hat’s off to Brent and to SOLitude for a job well done!
Fantastic Lighting Job“Your professionalism and expediency in getting a job done makes my life as a Property Association Manager so much easier. Thanks for the fantastic lighting job on the BMP fountain. I have had nothing but great comments from residents.”
Reliable and Quick to Respond“SOLitude Lake Management has been managing our lake/stormwater pond, and fountains since 2005. Kevin Tucker and his team have always been reliable and quick to respond to any issues. They are all very knowledgeable, able to explain what is happening with any situation, and find solutions to problem as they arise. Overall, I have been very pleased with their work and would highly recommend them to anyone with lake, pond, and other BMP management needs.”
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!
Many thanks to SOLitude for always doing such a great job in Crofton Meadows!
I had two phone calls today from homeowners telling me how beautiful the pond is and that they love the festive lights. Many thanks to SOLitude for always doing such a great job in Crofton Meadows!
The staff of SOLitude Lake Management identified the weed and treated the pond promptly with much success.We’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
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
We used to struggle with many different issues on holes 15,16,17 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 little 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
Who We Are
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.