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    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

    A Technological Break-Through in Sustainable Lake Management

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 21, 2019

    Nanobubbles - SOLitude

    Written by Industry Expert Bo Burns, Biologist & Market Development Manager

    Algae: it comes in many forms and colors. It’s slimy, stinky and can ruin the beauty and function of your golf course lakes and irrigation systems. It’s also one of the oldest known organisms on this planet, which might explain its knack for survival, even under the toughest conditions. Over time, golf courses and property management companies have learned to pick sides when it comes to the safe eradication of stubborn and harmful algal blooms—some in favor of natural management techniques; others in support of applying EPA-registered algaecides to ensure the job gets done. But this year, a new game changing technology will make the management of stubborn algae blooms a no-brainer with more long-lasting results that are beneficial for the environment.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Aeration

    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

    Case Study: Managing Aquatic Weeds & Algae in a Complex Canal System

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 20, 2019

    Nic Butler Aeration

    Written by Industry Expert Nic Butler, Aquatic Specialist 

    Aquatic management plans vary as no two waterbodies or properties are alike, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to lake and pond management. Several years ago, we came across a particularly interesting opportunity that exemplifies how our team is able to successfully utilize a variety of aquatic management strategies to develop an effective and customized plan for the restoration of an aquatic ecosystem.

    In 2014, the homeowners association of a large community in North Carolina approached SOLitude for help with restoring balance to their system of waterbodies. The 500-acre development consists of a 56-acre canal system, an 11-acre lake and 11 other small ponds interspersed throughout the community. Significant populations of nuisance bladderwort (Utricularia) and proliferating spikerush (Eleocharis baldwinii) were observed through the waterbodies, along with several algal blooms of both the planktonic and filamentous varieties.

    Our first step was to

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae

    Top 10 Ways: How to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms and Cyanobacteria

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 10, 2019

    cyanobacteria-blue-green-algae-fishery

    AS SEEN IN Common Ground™ magazine: Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist 

    In communities with lakes and ponds, managers need to be vigilant to prevent cyanobacteria - also known as blue green algae. Algae is a natural component of any lake or pond system. But in more and more communities that include water features, harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasingly common. Whether naturally occurring or human induced, large concentrations of algae blooms can threaten a pond system’s chemical balance and create conditions that could be toxic to humans or wildlife. Environmental changes or pond nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) imbalances in the water can encourage and intensify toxic algae.

    Cyanobacteria are the primary culprits of HABs. For this reason, many states are adopting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cyanobacteria guidelines to

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae

    The Importance of Understanding Your Watershed

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 25, 2018

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    Written by Industry Expert Greg Blackham, Aquatic Specialist

    Did you know that everyone on this planet lives in a watershed? A watershed, defined, is any amount of land that collects water through precipitation and transports it to a common outlet. That common outlet could be a stream, river, reservoir, lake or even a large bay like the Chesapeake Bay. A watershed is simply a term used to describe a transitional downhill area that water collects and flows through to reach its destination, including groundwater. The topography of the land, through elevated ridges, outlines the edge of each watershed, and small sub-watersheds can combine to form larger watersheds. Everything we do affects our watershed and our watershed affects the quality of all life within it and beyond, which makes it critically important to understand our impact on surrounding freshwater ecosystems.

    Water traveling through the watershed is altered in numerous ways throughout its journey. Surface runoff, creeks and ditches pick up all types of organic and inorganic materials. Harmful

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

    FAPQ: Frequently Asked Pond Questions

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 27, 2018

    community-pond-fountain-beneficial-buffer

    Whether your waterbody is a stormwater management facility constructed for nutrient removal and flood mitigation, an irrigation or livestock pond, or an amenity feature created for recreation, there are many ecological problems that can affect the health and appearance of the pond and its suitability for the intended water use. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about pond and lake management.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

    Fertilizer in Your Pond: Managing Nutrients to Change the Game

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 01, 2018

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    Written by Industry Expert Matthew Ward, Fisheries Biologist

    If you own or manage a body of water long enough, you will experience invasive vegetation and algae growth. This growth can be associated with bad smells and dead fish, converting an otherwise pristine waterbody into an ugly mess. Often, a manager’s first reaction is to identify the intruder, apply a fast-acting herbicide/algaecide and wash their hands of the matter. This strategy may work for a while, but unfortunately, growth returns time after time. Managers can eventually enter a cycle where the frequency and severity of invasive growth begins to climb out of control along with expenses. Enter Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM considers biological, mechanical and chemical controls alongside adjustments in cultural practices, enabling us to treat the problem, not just the symptoms.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Pond Management Best Practices

    Stormwater Management Trends: Environmentally Friendly Pond Maintenance

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 30, 2018

    AS SEEN IN Quorum, Washington Metropolitan Chapter and Community Associations Institute: Written by Industry Expert Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist

    The_Greenlands_1_Summer_Scenic_AquaMaster_Fountain__York_County_VA__Kyle_Finerfrock__2013_cThe last decade has brought major changes to the pond and lake management industry. Every community that has privately maintained ponds, lakes or stormwater best management practices has responsibilities to manage the structural, functional and aesthetic integrity of the facilities. The primary ongoing maintenance issue in these facilities is typically the prevention and control of nuisance aquatic vegetation.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Published Articles

    Use Water Quality Testing to Customize Your Lake Management Strategy

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 11, 2018

    Water Quality Monitoring

    Written by Industry Expert Trent Nelson, Business Development Consultant & Aquatic Specialist

    Everyone has heard the adage that no two snowflakes are the same, but did you know this truth also applies to your waterbody? No two lakes or ponds are the same—and location, size, water use, aquatic vegetation coverage and type, pond nutrient levels and water depth are all factors that can coincide in unique ways to influence the health of your 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 capture and analyze the unique attributes that make up your waterbody and uses the data to create a totally customized lake or pond management plan. Many different parameters can be tested, but the basic values are pH, alkalinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, water temperature and nutrient levels. These parameters are of particular importance because they can help identify problem areas and significantly influence or help shape a management plan.

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