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A Homeowner’s Guide to Aquatic Hitchhikers

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 01, 2018


Written by Industry Expert Josh Perry, Environmental Scientist

Do you know what costs homeowner’s associations, small communities and government agencies over 120 billion dollars annually? The answer is invasive species. Far beyond the monetary costs, invasive species create unsightly, unbalanced and unhealthy aquatic ecosystems. Unfortunately, human activity is responsible for most infestations. Whether you’re a part of a lake community, live near a stormwater pond or even own a decorative backyard water garden, we all play pivotal roles in spreading—but also preventing—invasive aquatic species.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

Nuisance Species Highlight: Bladderwort

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 22, 2018

Nuisance Plant Management

Bladderwort (Utricularia spp.) is a genus of carnivorous aquatic plants consisting of more than 200 species. The submersed free-floating plants utilize bladder-like traps (0.2mm-1.2cm) to capture small prey, including mosquito larvae. Hundreds of traps cover the plant’s 4- to 10-inch stem, which can be topped by yellow or lavender flowers.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Did You Know? Professional Answers to Common Lake & Pond Questions

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 14, 2017


AS SEEN IN CAI New England: Written by Industry Expert Kara Sliwoski, Aquatic Biologist 

Despite the beauty, recreational space and natural wildlife habitats that our nearby waterbodies provide, lakes and ponds are often plagued by various ailments that can detract from the aesthetics, health, and functionality of their aquatic ecosystems. The following are a few responses to common questions often asked by those interested in lake and pond management.

Why is our pond green?
Without proper water quality testing and analysis, it can be difficult to determine the exact causes behind a green pond. The green you’re seeing may be algae. While algae look similar to some aquatic plants,

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

Nuisance Aquatic Plant Highlight: Fanwort

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 23, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist

FanwortWhat’s purple and green, with a little white flower? Fanwort: it’s a competitive aquatic plant that grows in dense mat-forming patches. Its submersed leaves are its name-sake — dissected into a thin, flat fan-shaped display. The submersed leaves grow approximately 5 cm across and appear in opposite pairings on the stem. Small, diamond-shaped floating leaves are sometimes present at maturity, growing up to 3 cm long, but only 4 mm wide. The 3-petaled flower is inconspicuous and typically blossoms right at the water’s surface.

To date, fanwort occurs in 28 U.S. states, of which 12 

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

Combating Invasive Species While Protecting Native Plants Downstream

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 12, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Amanda Mahaney, Aquatic Biologist

FanwortAgawam Mill Pond, located in Wareham, Massachusetts, is a 150-acre waterbody owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is managed by the MA Division of Fish and Wildlife (MA DFG). It is used heavily for recreational activities, such as boating, fishing and swimming, and supports moderate residential development. The pond has an average depth of six to eight feet with a maximum depth of twelve feet; therefore, emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation has the capability to flourish, rapidly expanding into dense colonies. Currently, the invasive, non-indigenous submersed vegetation (fanwort and variable watermilfoil) has inundated the pond causing a decline in water quality and has severely limited recreational activities for residents and guests.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

The Nuts and Bolts—and Bubbles—of Lake and Pond Aeration

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 26, 2017

AS SEEN IN CAI ROCKY MOUNTAIN: Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

CAI Rocky MountainThere are few events that can occur in a community pond that cause the amount of anxiety and uproar among the residents as a fish kill. Sure, we get plenty of calls about lake and pond algae blooms and clogged fountains and excessive trash, but nothing creates the level of panic that ensues when there are dead fish floating on the surface of the water. Many residents become concerned that there may have been a toxic spill or illegal dumping incident, or they think that the landscaping company must have used something on the surrounding property that killed the fish. In reality though, most fish kills occur not because of a poisonous substance, but because of low dissolved oxygen conditions in the water.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Aeration

Debunking Myths: A Professional’s Take on Herbicides and Algaecides

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 29, 2017

AS SEEN IN Virginia Turfgrass: Written by Industry Expert Trent Nelson, Aquatic Specialist

Aquatic HerbicidesIt’s not uncommon for irrigation pond managers to invest thousands on irrigation pumps, water quality tests, beneficial submersed aeration systems, and floating fountains, but it’s rare to find a manager who establishes and uses a comprehensive lake management plan. Often times, this apprehension is based on a misunderstanding of lake and pond management and how herbicides and algaecides could potentially have a negative impact on the waterbody from improper treatment. I’m here to set the record straight, and let you know that with the proper choice of a product, application style and timing, algaecides and herbicides can greatly enhance the effectiveness of an irrigation pond management program, while working in conjunction with proactive, sustainable solutions.

Many turf and golf managers fear that aquatic herbicide and algaecide treatments will damage their greens and the surrounding ornamentation, and put a hold on their irrigation water usage. These concerns are valid; shutting down an irrigation system for more than a day or two can be virtually impossible, especially during the growing season. But without proper herbicide and algaecide usage, an irrigation lake could experience more harm than good. If algae and aquatic weeds are allowed to grow and mature, this vegetation can enter irrigation intakes, clogging pipes and pumps and preventing irrigation systems from running properly. In the end, the headache of shutting down an irrigation system to fix a broken pipe or clear nuisance vegetation from a drain will often outweigh the inconvenience of scheduled beneficial treatments.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

SOLitude Lake Management Offers Tips to Prevent Toxic Algae Blooms

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 21, 2017

Toxic AlgaeLakes, ponds and reservoirs can provide drinking water, irrigation and space for year-round recreation, but it’s common for these waterbodies to develop algae blooms, especially during the heat of the summer. While many species of pond algae are harmless, Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are becoming more prevalent as a result of increased nutrient runoff from commercial developments, industrial parks, livestock farms and agricultural facilities. 

When directly exposed to toxic algae species like cyanobacteria, which is often referred to as blue-green algae, humans and animals can experience liver and kidney toxicity, skin rashes, nervous system problems, respiratory complications and even death. Toxic algae blooms are also known to cause undesirable tastes and odors in drinking water from affected waterbodies. 

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

Nuisance Aquatic Plant Highlight: Watermeal

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 10, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Amanda Mahaney, Aquatic Biologist

Watermeal_Woes_pic1_cropped_e.jpg“What is that green scum on the surface of my pond?”

Is this a question you have asked yourself before? If so, further investigations are in order. It may not be “green scum” or pond algae after all, but rather a tiny plant called watermeal, with no roots, stems or “true” leaves. By simply rubbing this tiny, pale green plant between your fingers, it will most likely resemble cornmeal.

Watermeal prefers slow-moving or stagnant, nutrient-rich waterbodies and is frequently found among its closest relative, duckweed (Lemna spp.). Although it is commonly used as a food source and camouflage cover for wildlife, it can easily develop dense mats when proper conditions allow for it. Sunlight penetration necessary for aquatic vegetation growth and oxygen concentrations essential for the health of underwater wildlife can all be negatively affected by concentrated growth of watermeal and duckweed.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

Invasive Species Highlight: Starry Stonewort

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 30, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

starry-stonewort-d.jpgStarry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) is a species of macroscopic green algae in the Characeae family. It was first discovered in the United States in 1978 in the St. Lawrence River, but has since spread to Michigan, New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont. When the algae were first discovered in new areas, they were often misidentified as less invasive native species of macroscopic algae. However, the growth habit of starry stonewort is much more aggressive and robust, and can reach nuisance abundances. These nuisance plants can reduce the growth of desirable aquatic vegetation, reduce suitable fish habitat and cause fishing frustration. Although the algae are non-vascular and have no true plant structures, they have been found to grow as much as eight feet tall. The blooms have severe negative impacts on the habitats where they occur, and have posed unique challenges for lake managers in these areas.

Now that the presence of starry stonewort has become more familiar to lake managers, it is actually quite easy to identify. The blooms appear more “raggedy” than other macroscopic algae species, and have much greater height and biomass. They are also characterized by distinctive “starry” rhizoids, also known as bulbils, which are the reproductive structures of the pond algae. The blooms are very transient, and are subject to a “boom and bust” phenomenon where large blooms will crash suddenly and unpredictably. This can cause hazardous low dissolved oxygen conditions in the waterbodies where it occurs.

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Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Invasive Species

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