The mid to late summer period (July-August) is the time we get asked, “What is going on with all this algae?” or “Why is my pond green?” or “My pond turned colors overnight.”
1. Algae or aquatic weed growth does not necessarily mean you have a problem – This is referring what you, the owner(s), want or the goals you have for the pond or lake. As aquatic management professionals, we have to know what you want from your pond in order to develop a management program for you. Example – If you are managing for trophy bass, then you may want to encourage plankton growth as this is the very beginning of the food chain for the fish. If the waterbody is always in the public eye or on a high end golf course, then even a little algae/plant growth can be bad for aesthetics. So, always consult with an aquatic professional to determine the best methods for management.
2. Nutrients are the cause of your plant/algae growth – Ponds and lakes revolve around nutrients and oxygen (dissolved). The key is keeping a balance of water quality parameters. Nutrients are good, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing. The addition of nutrients stimulates the growth of aquatic life. Weed and algae species require nutrients to flourish; mainly nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the largest quantities. Nutrients enter the system many different ways including stormwater runoff, lawn maintenance practices, geese droppings, and decaying organic matter. All organic material releases nutrients back into the ecosystem when it is decomposed. Adding all those nutrient pathways up over many years you can start to see why aquatic systems can become overloaded with nutrients (eutrophic). Start limiting the nutrients and you can start controlling nuisance weed growth.
Contact Clearwater Lake & Pond for more consultations and to learn how we can help you with your pond, lake, or stormwater control measure.
Whether you recognize them or not, SCMs are here to stay, and it’s a good thing. If they are done right, you won’t even notice them because they can and should be an attractive addition to the landscape. But make no mistake, they serve a very important purpose. SCMs are engineered structures that are designed to remove pollutants from runoff waters, improve water quality, and control quantity (flood control) before the water reaches our streams and drinking water supply reservoirs.
SCMs can include stormwater retention ponds, detention ponds, stormwater wetland, bioretention cells, bioswales, sand filters, and others. These practices are designed to operate effectively provided they receive the proper maintenance and management. This is a crucial aspect of ownership and one that is often overlooked until it’s too late. These structures MUST be maintained and inspected regularly to stay compliant with local and state laws. Notice of Violations are never something any community or business wants to receive and can result in hefty fines if not addressed immediately. Fortunately, Clearwater Lake & Pond can provide you with certified maintenance and inspections for any of the SCMs you may have.
Proper operations and maintenance means any action necessary to keep stormwater control measures and devices in proper working condition, so that such facilities will continue to comply with applicable ordinances to prevent safety hazards, public nuisances, and the failure of stormwater control measures and devices to function as intended. Maintenance includes activities identified on approved stormwater management plans, any applicable stormwater operations and maintenance manual, any applicable agreements or certifications.
That couldn’t be more true when it comes to pond management. Unfortunately, most pond owners neglect the prevention part of this equation until there is a size-able problem. Algae blooms, fish kills, sludge build up, bad smells, etc. are not something folks enjoy spending time around. But there is hope, and nature will always find a way. Every spring, Mother Nature gives us sore of a “re-do,” but it’s up to us to make the most of it.
The Spring Awakening
This time of year ponds in the Carolinas are starting to “wake up” from their winter dormancy. Longer days and warming waters kick everything into gear – from photosynthetic activity of plants, to increased activity of your fish. Warmer temps allow the microbes and beneficial bacteria in your pond to do what they do best: eat nutrients. So, what can you do to help the good processes in your pond prevent problems from occurring later in summer?
The Best Option
Without a doubt, the single best thing you can do for your ponds overall health is add oxygen and water movement. The more dissolved oxygen (DO) you can keep in the pond, the better almost every biological process in the pond works. Aeration allows for a more oxygen rich environment, promoting better fish health and activity. Aeration also keeps microbes and beneficial bacteria processing the excess nutrients in an oxygenated environment, which prevents bad smells, reduces muck, and thereby limiting the nutrients available for unwanted aquatic weeds and algae to grow. The physical movement of the water can prevent various forms of cyanobacteria, certain types of aquatic weeds, and has even been shown to limit mosquito activity around the shoreline. Who doesn’t want less pesky mosquitos?!
Other prevention steps to limit nutrient loading:
Use aquatic plants as a shoreline buffer to filter run off from the adjacent land. Also helps prevent shoreline erosion.
Blow grass clippings away from pond while mowing.
Get an early start on a routine bacteria treatment. This can prevent nutrient loading throughout the summer. Contact Clearwater Lake & Pond for more details.
Prevent geese from gathering. They add tons of nutrients to the water.
Monitoring and treat for unwanted plants.
Contact us today for consultations on how to keep your pond healthy and beautiful all year round.