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    The Importance of Lake Mapping and Bathymetry

    Are you aware of the current state and characteristics of your lake or stormwater pond? Do you know how quickly the sediment is accumulating at the bottom of your water bodies and what is really going on below the surface of your pond? In order to properly plan and care for your aquatic investments and prolong the need for costly and undesired dredging, a series of 3D maps and bathymetric studies are an incredible resource and tool for every lake or pond manager/owner.


    Bathymetry is the process whereby the surface of the lake or pond is plotted using GPS technology, and each of the GPS points recorded is correlated to the corresponding depth of the lake or pond at that specific point. After collecting thousands of surface points with their associated depths, a three dimensional model of the bottom of the lake can be developed.

    - A custom contour map will provide you with the information needed to fully understand volume and the characteristics of your lake or pond.
    - A 3D bathymetric map provides the ability to easily visualize the environment beneath the water line.
    - A sedimentation map will show where pockets of high sedimentation are located and the thickness of these deposits.

    Utilizing this advanced technology gives lake and pond owners and managers the ability to more precisely locate problem areas, estimate existing sediment volume and accumulation, and monitor the sedimentation rate over a given amount of time to determine when dredging is needed.

    It is important to know that sediment is a pollutant and many times is introduced into ponds via stormwater runoff. The grass clippings, leaves, fertilizer and other organic and inorganic materials accumulate in a water body and can lead to an assortment of problematic issues. Ponds become more problematic with age and this can be directly attributed to sedimentation. Sediment can significantly degrade the water quality, by clogging fish gills, diminishing drinking water supply, and adding nitrogen and phosphorous which can lead to aquatic weed infestations and algae blooms. Sediment can also negatively impact the watershed, specifically drainage. As time passes, sediment accumulates in ponds, which reduces how much water and sediment can be stored at any given moment. As the sediment increases in a pond the storage capacity decreases, the incoming water and sediment can no longer be adequately stored, and flooding and severe aquatic weed and algae infestations can result.

    Once bathymetry studies are completed, accurately measured lake and pond depths can provide a baseline and also determine if past sediment accumulation is affecting the health and function of the pond. Also, now that you know the current amount of sediment accumulation, and you know how old the lake or pond is based on original construction plans, you can calculate an approximate annual sedimentation rate from the time the lake or pond was constructed to now. This knowledge can then be used to project forward and determine how many years from now dredging will in fact be required.

    Bathymetry provides pond owners and managers with powerful information with which to manage their lakes and ponds, and most importantly, provides them with a tool they need to quantify and plan for what will in many cases be the single most costly expense a community or property will face. No budget is ever complete if bathymetry is not performed on a periodic basis. 




    SOLitude Lake Management partners with the experts at The Mapping Network, a nationwide group of professionals providing the highest quality and most affordable bathymetric and asset mapping products on the market today.  

    Contact SOLitude Lake Management to speak with an expert biologist, ecologist or scientist for all of your lake, pond and fisheries management needs. 888-480-LAKE (5253) or info@solitudelake.com. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Aquatic products and consultation are available nationwide. 

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