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    The Pond Management “Do-It-Yourself” Dilemma

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 15, 2019

    Virginia Beach (5)-1

    AS SEEN IN Community Manager, a publication of Community Associations Institute (CAI). Reprinted with permission. Written by Gavin Ferris, Ecologist 

    Pond management experts are rarely asked to visit a lake or stormwater pond that is in good health. Though it is not a responsible practice, many property managers don’t call us until significant water quality problems have already appeared. I remember the first pond I was called to in my early days as a pond management professional. A neighborhood association was not able to host their annual fishing tournament because their 5-acre pond was completely covered in thick green filamentous algae. When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was a dozen bales of barley straw bobbing in the green slime. I’ve since had many clients tell me they tried this folk remedy for pond algae, but I’ve never seen it work.

    In the years following that first site visit, I’ve seen lots of homegrown pond management efforts. Sometimes a jug of algaecide from the local farm store or manual removal of the offending vegetation is all that’s called for. But many times, these “do-it-yourself” (DIY) solutions go horribly wrong—and we get called in after a major fish kill or another avoidable catastrophe as a result.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Pond Management Best Practices, Published Articles

    Nuisance Algae & Invasive Hydrilla Management in Community Ponds

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 05, 2019

    Hydrialla in hand_Will_2015-1

    AS SEEN IN CAI Central Virginia's Consensus Magazine: Written by Kyle Finerfrock, Environmental Scientist

    Without proactive management in place, the resulting environmental conditions can spur a perfect storm of nuisance aquatic weeds and algae in your lake, stormwater pond or reservoir. Under unhealthy conditions, it is common to find invasive plants like hydrilla, which can compete with and choke out native vegetation. Poor water quality may also lead to the development of various forms of nuisance algae, as well as toxin-producing harmful algal blooms (HABs).

    Before you can implement a sustainable management plan to restore balance and beauty to the waterbody, it’s crucial to properly identify the species ailing your lake or pond. Hydrilla has several distinguishing characteristics. Its small leaves are arranged in whorls of three to eight, and these leaves are heavily serrated and can be seen without the aid of magnification. Reproduction typically occurs through fragmentation, although hydrilla also produces tubers, which are subterranean, potato-like structures. These tubers can stay dormant in the sediment for up to 12 years, causing significant challenges in eradication. Hydrilla forms dense
    mats at the surface of lakes and ponds, which limits recreational use and diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the waterbody. This invasive plant also out-competes native aquatic plant species, reducing biodiversity and negatively impacting water quality.

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

    6 Tips to Help Prevent Mosquito-borne Diseases in Your Community

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 29, 2019

    mosquito-management-community-tips-1

    This month, the first human case of Eastern Equine encephalitis (EEE) since 2013 was in reported in Massachusetts. Now, multiple New England communities are considered at “critical risk” of exposure to this mosquito-borne disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms, brain inflammation and, in severe cases, death. Though EEE has been detected in samples across multiple states, including Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Michigan, and Louisiana, historical data indicates that communities in Massachusetts, New York, and Florida are the most at risk. 

    To protect your family and community from EEE, as well as other viruses like Zika and West Nile Virus, SOLitude Lake Management recommends the following tips:

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Mosquito and Pest Control

    Know Your Surroundings: A Healthy Lake Begins Outside of the Water

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 21, 2019

    Floating Fountain_SOLitude Lake Management-1

    AS SEEN IN Lawn and Landscape: Written by Paul Conti, Environmental Scientist and Regional Manager

    While all lakes, stormwater ponds, wetlands and fisheries are susceptible to water quality problems without proper management, the cause of these issues doesn’t always originate within the waterbody. Pond maintenance companies know that these complications often begin outside of the water. During precipitation events, water follows the course of gravity, either seeping into the earth to replenish groundwater or running across the ground as surface water runoff. The area of land that directs flowing water to lakes and ponds is called a “watershed.” As water travels across the watershed, it picks up and carries whatever is in its path—which can pose an enormous threat to your waterbody.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Buffer Management

    Bioengineered Living Shorelines the Newest Erosion Control Solution

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 27, 2019

    J. Wesley Allen, Environmental Scientist and Regional Manager 

    When development companies design community associations with lakes and stormwater ponds, they envision them as beautiful aquatic resources to attract homeowners, connect with nature and enhance the surrounding property. Without proper management, however, these waterbodies can quickly become eye-sores that produce harmful algae and bad odors, lead to damaged and eroded shorelines, and result in displeased community members.

    Most aquatic management professionals will tell you that when a property manager calls about an issue at their waterbody, it’s often past the point of a quick fix. This is regularly the case when we arrive onsite to look at an erosion issue on a lake or pond embankment. Rather than finding a few problematic patches of rock or soil, we discover steep, unstable banks, deep washouts and extensive bottom muck caused by years without an erosion control plan in place.

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    Topics: Pond Management Best Practices, Published Articles, Buffer Management

    SOLitude Publishes Reports Featuring New Technologies and Innovations

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 25, 2019

    Informative Guides

    With the goal of making the management of our precious lakes, stormwater ponds, wetlands and fisheries more effective and more eco-friendly than ever, SOLitude Lake Management, the largest aquatic management firm in the nation, has published a wealth of new and enhanced information covering all aspects of aquatic management.

    The 8 industry reports comprise the collective knowledge and insights of SOLitude's nationwide team of biologists, ecologists and environmental scientists, many of whom hold Master's degrees and PhDs in their respective subject areas. They also include exclusive information about recent technologies and advancements in the aquatic management industry, including nanobubble aeration, bio-engineered shorelines, highly-selective herbicides and more. 

    By releasing this information for free to the public, SOLitude aims to show that the sustainable management of aquatic resources is both attainable and budget-friendly when supported by proactive techniques and the expertise of professionals.

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    Topics: SOLitude News, Pond Management Best Practices

    Biochar: A Natural Solution to Safely Filter Excess Nutrients

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 06, 2019

    20190412_101434-1

    Written by Erin Stewart, Aquatic Biologist and Regional Manager, Colorado

    The use of biochar is an emerging technology in nutrient management. Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, in suitable quantities, are necessary for aquatic ecosystems to flourish. However, excess nutrients introduced to lakes and ponds through human impact, leaf debris and stormwater runoff can lead to the growth of nuisance plants and algae blooms. Restoring balance to a lake or pond plagued with water quality issues, or proactively preventing these issues, can be naturally achieved with the latest technology in nutrient management: biochar.

    Biochar is produced from wood products processed in a high heat, low oxygen environment to create a highly porous, carbon-rich substrate. The physical structure and ionic properties of the biochar creates an affinity to absorb contaminants. Independent laboratory testing of contaminated water has shown significant removal of nutrients, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and even suspended solids by the introduction of biochar.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Pond Management Best Practices

    Citizen Scientists: Using Your Smartphone to Enhance Lake Stewardship

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 01, 2019

    Citizen Scientist - SOLitude

    Written by Amanda Mahaney, Freshwater Biologist

    Understanding water as a finite natural resource has defined a century long debate about how to use it, maintain it, preserve it and protect it. Yet, despite these efforts, water quality has continuously declined across the country. Urban development near waterbodies often imparts negative impacts, such as nutrient loading and the spread of nuisance or invasive species. In order to solve a problem, lake management professionals first diagnose and document it using established procedures, but with poor environmental conditions on the rise, scientists cannot be everywhere at once.

    Enter your smartphone. With

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

    Water Quality Testing: A Balancing Act

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 16, 2019

    Water Quality Testing - SOLitude

    AS SEEN IN Parks and Rec Business Magazine: Written by Trent Nelson, Aquatic Specialist and Business Development Consultant

    Most people have heard the adage that no two snowflakes are the same, but did you know this truth also applies to bodies of water? No two lakes or ponds are the same—and location, the size, water use, aquatic vegetation coverage and type, pond nutrient levels, and water depth are all factors that can combine in unique ways to influence the health of a community waterbody. Oftentimes, odor and water color can reveal a lot; however, the unique characteristics of a lake or pond are not always this simple to observe.

    A professional lake manager tests water quality to determine the unique attributes that make up a waterbody and uses the data to create a totally customized lake or pond management plan. Many different and important parameters can be tested, but the basic values are pH, alkalinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature, and nutrient levels.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Pond Management Best Practices, Published Articles

    Toxic Golden Algae and Fish Kills

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 14, 2019

    Fish Kill - SOLitude Lake Management

    Written by Bob Revolinski, Aquatic Biologist and Regional Manager

    2019 marked the start of my 36th year in the lake management industry. It’s a career that is constantly evolving, due to the vast number of variables associated with aquatic ecosystems. Every now and then, a novel and completely unexpected problem or species will appear, requiring the implementation of new and adaptive lake management strategies. One of my strangest encounters occurred about 15 years ago in Arizona, when I came across golden algae (Prymnesium parvum) for the first time.

    Golden algae occur worldwide, but the first blooms identified in North America were confirmed in Texas in 1985. They arrived in Arizona around 2004 and then eventually appeared in California in 2013. In 2018, golden algae were reported in more than a dozen states!

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices