Written by Industry Expert Brea Arvidson, Aquatic Biologist
Natural 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.