Written by Industry Expert Emily Walsh, Environmental Scientist
“Cowabunga!!” shouts Jimmy as he splashes in the crystal refreshing water and laughs to his friends to the side of the rope swing. “Come on in, lunch is ready!” yells mom as she smiles happily at the thought of the memories currently in the making.
Ten years later mom stares off into the distance where that rope swing used to sway to the beat of her children’s laughter. She now notices the empty space, along with the aquatic vegetation and accumulated organic matter that has been slowly creeping in year after year. She sits there for a few minutes, pondering how much life has changed – not only for her family, but for the aquatic ecosystem as well.
This moment, as it relates to our lakes and ponds, is one that is shared by many private shoreline residents. As time elapses, organic matter buildup can slowly increase from a variety of sources including leaf debris, woody sticks, inlet flows, and point sources such as culverts or non-point sources such as rainfall runoff. Input of organic matter slowly accumulates, leading to decreased water depth, altered hydrologic movement, hindered aquatic habitats, increased turbidity and impeded recreational value.