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Hydro-raking: A Lakefront Management Tool

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 26, 2017

 Written by Industry Expert Emily Walsh, Environmental Scientist 

Hydro-raking“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.

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

The Importance of Monitoring Before Active Lake and Pond Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 08, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist

Parks and Rec Water Quality Testing SLM 3-e.jpgNatural or man-made, big or small, freshwater lakes and ponds are all aquatic ecosystems that serve an important role in our environment. So, they’re all the same? Water is water, right? Not quite. The individual characteristics, uses and management goals can vary drastically from waterbody to waterbody. That’s why actively monitoring and testing your lake or pond is so important.

How are waterbodies different?

Our waterbodies are an enigma; they are connected by rivers, streams and groundwater flow, but also function as their own interactive ecosystems. Differences in dimension, flow, nutrients, watershed, pre-existing organisms and plant growth all determine the variation of the lake or pond system. Exceptions to this are synthetically-lined ponds and stormwater ponds that are specifically constructed for flood management. These “closed systems” are typically disconnected from other waterbodies.

Not all waterbodies are formed or created equally, and most lakes and ponds quickly reach their biological and ecological threshold without proper management. Fish, plants, invertebrates and plankton may live within one waterbody, while another may not be capable of supporting the same amount of growth without becoming unbalanced. Furthermore, we use lakes and ponds for enjoyment – wildlife and scenic viewing, boating, swimming and fishing. High recreational activities and land development in and around lakes and ponds often lead to nutrient loading, nuisance aquatic plant growth and other water quality problems. When it comes to internal loading, sediment and biological decomposition are the two primary contributors.

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

Sustainable Lake and Pond Solutions Through Nutrient Remediation

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 02, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Matt Salem, Permit Coordinator and GIS Specialist

Beneficial Buffer - Fountain - Community Pond (16) - e.jpgReducing excess nutrients in a waterbody has proven to be an effective means of managing harmful algal growth and shifting the remaining algae population towards more beneficial species. Nutrients enter lakes and ponds from a multitude of vectors including watershed inflow, stormwater runoff and accumulated bottom sediment. As management practices are refined and better strategies are developed, successful nutrient remediation projects are a paramount part of an integrated lake and pond management program, with the ultimate goal being to sustainably manage internal and external nutrient vectors.

The most effective nutrient management and remediation programs are ones that limit external and internal nutrient loading. Performing low-impact design on a watershed can provide relief from nutrient-rich water from entering a waterbody, but that strategy has limits to its effectiveness. Excess nutrients introduced into the waterbody can recycle and cause annual impairment, even after watershed management strategies have been implemented.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation

How Often Should Water Quality be Tested?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 13, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist

water-quality-aquatics-in-brief-e.jpgHealthy water quality is extremely important for all lakes and ponds, and proactive testing and monitoring is vital when it comes to helping prevent water quality problems in recreational lakes, stormwater ponds and drinking water reservoirs. Lake and pond owners often wait until an algae bloom, fish kill, foul odor or other negative water quality problem occurs before implementing a basic water quality program. This can have dire consequences.

Poor water quality can quickly lead to an unbalanced ecosystem, which not only negatively impacts the ecology and recreational use of a waterbody, but can also affect surrounding waterways. Take the enormous toxic algae bloom in Florida, for example, which originated in Lake Okeechobee in the summer of 2016 and impacted Treasure Coast waterways and beaches; the dangerous cyanobacteria limited boating, fishing and swimming throughout South Florida and posed a serious threat to the health of residents, tourists, pets and wildlife. While a number of unique factors contributed to the development and spread of this harmful algae bloom, it is clear that water quality problems in our lakes and ponds can rapidly turn into ecological nightmares.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Sustainable Solutions for Lake and Pond Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 28, 2017

AS SEEN IN Various Community Associations Institute Chapter Newsletters: Written by Industry Expert, Shannon Junior, Aquatic Ecologist and Senior Business Development Consultant

nutrient-remediation-sustainable-solutions-e.jpgAs lakes and ponds age, they are continually impacted by sedimentation and nutrient enrichment. Eventually, sediment and nutrient overload can lead to poor water quality and increased algae and nuisance aquatic vegetation blooms. It is extremely important to establish maintenance programs for community lakes and ponds which also function as stormwater management facilities. A key feature of these programs is the ongoing management of invasive vegetation and algal blooms.

The repetitive application of pesticides as the primary strategy for vegetation control is not environmentally sustainable, and the management focus is shifting toward non-chemical methods. In addition, due to tightened regulations and general public wariness regarding the use of algaecides and herbicides, it is becoming increasingly important to find alternatives for our nuisance aquatic vegetation treatment programs.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Published Articles

Five Irrigation Water Management Tips for the Golf Course Superintendent

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 21, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Trent Nelson, Aquatic Specialist and former Assistant Golf Course Superintendent

Golf Course with Beneficial BufferWhether the golf season is just getting started or already in full swing, it’s important to address the growing irrigation needs of your course. Turf health is highly dependent on the irrigation source and delivery system. While there are a multitude of management techniques that dictate the amount of irrigation water needed, there are also a handful of strategies that can be used to benefit your turf and help ensure that your waterbodies remain healthy. Healthy lakes and ponds equate to superior, reliable and predictable irrigation water quality.

Conducting an audit of your irrigation system may be the best place to start when developing techniques to maximize the efficiency of your irrigation water supply. This audit should include documenting and repairing any leaking or malfunctioning irrigation heads, checking and confirming the overall output of the system, and adjusting any site specific needs for dry or wet areas by reducing or increasing the application time of these areas. In addition to conducting an audit of your irrigation system, collecting samples of your water sources and testing the water quality can help uncover any underlying water chemistry problems or nutrient imbalances.

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

Bank Erosion Control, the Importance of Buffer Zones and Buffer Plants

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Mar 14, 2017

Written by Industry Experts Brandon Tindley and Greg Blackham, Aquatic Specialists

Have you seen the banks of your lake or pond slowly recede and retreat year after year? Have you noticed soil and silt deposits building up along the shoreline? Does the average water depth of your waterbody get shallower each year? The erosion you are seeing is the natural, yet unwelcoming process of bank erosion. This is especially problematic in man-made lakes as nature utilizes gravity to level everything out. With erosion comes the mobility of additional pollutants into your water including nutrients, chemicals, and additional pathogens. When you combine all these factors, erosion can contribute to an overwhelming amount of stress factors on water quality, wildlife balance, and functionality. In most cases, the easiest and most cost effective measure to help prevent bank erosion is by creating a vegetative buffer zone. This should also be the first consideration when designing a long term solution to an existing bank erosion problem.

The number one benefit of a beneficial vegetative buffer is its ability to act as a natural filter for runoff. The longer and wider the buffer zone extends, the more particles it can slow down, intercept, and settle before reaching the pond. Vegetation can also protect the bank from rain impact erosion. Rain drops that hit bare soil can displace a lot of soil in a short amount of time. Another critical defense a buffer zone can provide is protection from wind and wave erosion. Plant roots can also help hold soil together whether it is along the shoreline in the water or even upland.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Buffer Management

Drinking Water Reservoir Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 07, 2017

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

Beaver Creek Reservoir 2_After_Crozet VA_ShannonJ_e.jpgWe are fortunate in the United States that our country has the technology and resources to provide clean and palatable drinking water to our citizens. However, the recent catastrophic situations in Flint, Michigan earlier this year and in Lake Erie in 2014 have reminded many Americans that this is a privilege that we should not take for granted. And while the lead crisis in Flint was caused by human negligence and could have been prevented, the ongoing cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Erie are due to a much more complicated process of phosphorus pollution and water quality degradation.

Cyanobacteria were previously identified as blue-green algae due to their ability to photosynthesize, although they are actually prokaryotic and more closely related to bacteria than algae. Now commonly referred to as harmful algae blooms (HABs), cyanobacteria blooms are particularly problematic when they occur in waterbodies that are used as a source for drinking water utilities. Not only do cyanobacteria excrete compounds such as MIB and Geosmin that cause unpleasant tastes and odors in the water, but they also have the potential to produce cyanotoxins that can be harmful to humans, pets and wildlife.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Pond Management: Sustainable Solutions for Avoiding Green Ponds

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 04, 2017

AS SEEN IN Groundwork Magazine: Written by Industry Expert, Gavin Ferris, Ecologist

sustainable solutions-pg1-e.jpgIn any ecosystem, when you combine water, sunlight, and nutrients, you get plant growth. When that ecosystem is a pond, the result is all too often a waterbody so covered with green filamentous algae that from a distance, it blends in with the grass around it. This situation is not only aesthetically displeasing; it is also potentially dangerous, as some algae are toxic and bad for the ecosystem, limiting the pond’s ability to function properly. Mitigating these conditions without the continual need for algaecides can be challenging unless you implement environmentally sustainable approaches for pond algae control.

Some circumstances and considerations may limit the feasibility of algaecide use in the maintenance of a body of water. Public concern over chemical use, regulatory limitations, and environmental conditions that limit product effectiveness are all factors that might make the use of certain products inappropriate in some situations. Also, many times, ponds are water sources for irrigation, which puts an even greater limitation on the types of products that can be applied to those waterbodies. As a landscape contractor, this can be very frustrating, as ponds within managed landscapes are often prone to algae infestation.

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Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Published Articles

SOLitude Professionals Awarded for Aquatics Industry Research and Excellence in Water Quality Treatment

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 15, 2016

sepro-seeing-is-believing-water-quality-e.jpgTwo aquatics management professionals from SOLitude Lake Management, an industry leader in lake and pond management, fisheries management and related environmental services for the United States, received Technology and Development Awards from SePRO Corporation, a developer and manufacturer of high quality, environmentally responsible solutions for aquatic plant management. The SOLitude team members were honored with this award for their partnership with SePRO in conducting innovative research in the final phase of development of a new herbicide. Additionally, eleven water quality management professionals from SOLitude won Seeing is Believing Awards from SePRO. These awards recognize the highest standard of excellence in water quality treatment for lakes, ponds, stormwater basins or other waterbodies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of SePRO products in improving these aquatic ecosystems.

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Topics: SOLitude News, Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation

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