Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic BiologistNatural or man-made, big or small, freshwater lakes and ponds are all aquatic ecosystems that serve an important role in our environment. So, they’re all the same? Water is water, right? Not quite. The individual
How are waterbodies different?
Our waterbodies are an enigma; they are connected by rivers, streams and groundwater flow, but also function as their own interactive ecosystems. Differences in dimension, flow, nutrients, watershed, pre-existing organisms and plant growth all determine the variation of the lake or pond system. Exceptions to this are synthetically-lined ponds and stormwater ponds that are specifically constructed for flood management. These “closed systems” are typically disconnected from other waterbodies.
These impacts on lakes and ponds mean that we have to manage them, right?
Yes, but there are many types of management, and monitoring should always be the first step—followed by active management. Without monitoring, how do you know which plant is taking over your waterbody, or what’s causing a fish kill? Is the green surface of the waterbody from duckweed, green algae or cyanobacteria?
Speculations are often made regarding water quality or biological
What does monitoring do, exactly
Monitoring determines the external and internal influences on a lake or pond system, and can be accomplished through, but not limited to: water quality testing,
Various survey options document physical details of the waterbody that are otherwise overlooked. For example, many lakes and ponds have weeds – but what species? Native or invasive? Rare or common? Are they good for fish? Moreover, the habitats and land-use around a lake or pond can be indicative of nutrient loading and wildlife dependency, which further help determine the best course of management. Much like edging your lawn from growing into your garden or from covering your stone walkway, vegetation management will always be needed to slow the natural wetland-succession of lakes and ponds. Similar to researching how to edge your lawn, monitoring should be done in order to understand the best lake and pond management options for your waterbody.
Often, the problems we notice result from a myriad of underlying issues that we can’t physically or directly see. Why exert effort reacting to problems instead of proactively managing to prevent future issues? Water quality monitoring is an important foundation of
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Brea Arvidson is an Aquatic Biologist based out of SOLitude’s office in Shrewsbury, MA. As part of the Biology Team, she provides clients with a complete range of ecologically based water quality solutions and has a particular interest in the management of Nostoc as well as aquatic and wetland plants.
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