Written by industry expert Marc Bellaud, Director of Technical Services
As seen in Lakeline Magazine, a publication of the North America Lake Management Society (NALMS). NALMS' mission is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow. Founded in Portland, Maine in 1980, this organization has grown into one of the largest societies in the lake and pond industry.
Similar to what has occurred with technology, the science of applied lake management has evolved considerably over the past three decades. This evolution has occurred partly because of scientific advancements and partly out of need. Pressures from continued development, agricultural practices, climate change, greater recreational usage and increasing water demands are adversely impacting lakes at an accelerated rate. Fortunately, there is greater awareness of the challenges, and applied lake managers now have more tools at their disposal than ever before.
Lake management needs and solutions vary considerably depending on the type of waterbody, its uses, geographic location and the particular challenges it is facing. Many of the old axioms remain true. First, every lake and pond is different. This needs to be taken into account as lake management plans are being developed. Assessment, monitoring and even permitting requirements must be appropriate for the size and type of waterbody, and for the management strategy being proposed. Second, prevention is the most effective form of management. No one can dispute the concept that preventing a highly invasive aquatic plant like hydrilla from being introduced to a lake is more preferable than trying to manage it once it’s established, or that eliminating nutrient sources in the watershed is better than trying to control harmful algal blooms (HABs) once they develop in a nutrient-rich system. However, the unfortunate reality is many of our lakes have already been adversely impacted, and in-lake management is often needed to preserve desirable conditions and to prevent further deterioration.