Enhancing A Community’s Canal EcosystemAnnual Management Program Case Study
Location and Acreage:Leland, NC | 56.7-Acres
Project Timeframe: March 2015 to present
Key Staff:Ross Dion, Fisheries Scientist
Site Description:This property in the Carolinas is a residential community located in Leland, NC. The ~500 acre development currently has around 1,000 single family homes within its confines. The waterbodies within the community consist of a 56.7-acre canal system that runs behind many of the homes, an 11.2-acre lake and eleven other small ponds.
At the end of 2014, the Homeowners Association was looking to improve the aquatic environment located throughout their community so they requested bids from several companies. After a competitive bidding process and long discussions with the stakeholders, SOLitude Lake Management won the contract to manage the waterbodies and restore their aquatic ecosystem.
Upon commencing work in the spring of 2015, our staff encountered significant populations of Bladderwort (Utricularia) and Proliferating Spikerush (Eleocharis Baldwinii). Small algal blooms of both the planktonic filamentous variety have also been observed within the waterbodies.
Scope of Work:SOLitude worked with the property management firm and homeowners of Waterford to develop a comprehensive management plan that utilized several of the services we offer. In addition to an annual maintenance program, which was tailored to fit the stakeholders needs, we brought additional techniques and resources to bear that have enabled us to produce a balanced aquatic ecosystem for the residents.
Project Description:Annual Maintenance – After extensive observation and water testing, our staff elected to use the best tools and techniques in order to get nuisance vegetation under control throughout the canal system behind the homes. Several products were used to manage the population of bladderwort and proliferating spikerush within the canals.
Bathymetric Study – The stakeholders were interested in having bathymetric charts produced for the waterbodies within the community. Over a few days, several thousand data points were recorded by traversing acres of the canal system and Osprey Lake. With these data points, our partners at the Mapping Network were able to produce a highly detailed map of the waterbodies and what lied beneath the surface. The information gleaned from bathymetry proves invaluable when making decisions about how best to manage a waterbody.
Aeration Installation – Due to persistent water quality issues within the entire canal system, our team worked with the engineers at Airmax Aeration and Fountains to design an aeration system that would greatly improve the oxygen levels throughout. Starting in 2016 and adding more in 2017, our staff installed 31 aeration systems throughout the canal system. By introducing circulation and efficiently adding dissolved oxygen throughout the lake or pond, many undesirable symptoms of a stagnant and stratified lake or pond can be removed. Pond aerator installation can also help limit water cloudiness and odors. Most importantly, aeration helps to reduce the overall accumulation of organic sediment on the bottom and reduces the available nutrients in your water column, thereby reducing the likelihood of problematic algae blooms and other water quality problems. It also aids in the promotion of a healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
Lime Application – During our initial water testing, it was discovered that the pH readings were less than ideal. After consulting with the stakeholders, SOLitude added pulverized limestone to the waterbody in order to raise the pH, making the water less acidic and improving overall water quality. The applications were made on two separate occasions and involved loading a pontoon boat with the pulverized lime and applying the lime throughout the entire canal system.
Fish Stocking – Because of excessive vegetation growth within a few areas of the canals, the decision was made to add Triploid Grass Carp. These carp feed on aquatic vegetation, consuming up to 3 times their weight in food each day. Due to fish mortality, an annual stocking is recommended to keep carp populations at an optimal level.