Pond Management

Lake & Pond Management

Lakes and ponds are a great natural resource.  Providing recreation, habitats for wildlife and fish, and physical beauty.  Bodies of natural water are biologically complex physical and chemical communities.  Water quality controls the whole systems health.  Including fish, bacteria, and other aquatic organisms that live in the system.

Three main methods for pond management are adding aeration, water treatments like beneficial bacteria, and weed and algae controls.

Pond Management Supplies

Pond Aeration Kit

The single best water management strategy you can implement is adding pond aeration.  Pulling water from the bottom and oxygenating it provides a huge list of benefits including: better water quality, reverses aging and muck build-up, evens out oxygen levels and water temperatures, entire pond can be used by fish, boosts natural beneficial pond bacteria, fish habitat is improved and kills protected in summer and winter, entire pond ecosystem enhancement, surface scum is reduced, better recreation and swimming areas.  With age lakes and ponds tend to build up organic muck.  This raises the TOD (total oxygen demand).  Adding aeration helps prevent, and reverse the build up of muck from aging.  Think of oxygen as fuel that drives all the chemical and biological functions in your water.

Pond & Lake Water Treatments

Pond and Lake Water TreatmentsSometimes mother nature needs a little help keeping pond ecosystems in balance.  Pond and lake water treatments have been used for decades and help keep water clear and healthy.  No longer is it a weird concept to be adding bacteria to your pond like it was ten years ago.  Most customers today realize the power of pond water treatments to improve water quality and lower sludge build up.  Using natural organisms that live in ponds.  Helping to slow down and stop the pond aging process that happens when dead weeds, algae, fish waste, etc begin to accumulate on your pond bottom surface.  Providing you with boosted oxygen levels, reducing odors,  better water quality, and a improved home for aquatic life and fish.

Pond & Lake Weed Control

Pond and Lake Weed ControlSafely controlling aquatic weeds can be done with a wide range of products designed specifically for lakes and ponds.  Pond weed control products are approved and tested to provide a quick and safe method to get control of infested waters.  Removing unwanted aquatic algae or weeds.  Which may be a good short-term solution.  Long-term you want to investigate the whole ecosystem and figure out what is the main cause of the issue.  Most of the time aeration along with the help of some beneficial bacteria and pond dye will be a quick health booster.  Allowing you to reduce or eliminate using these types of chemicals for weed control.


Pond Management Companies

When researching pond management companies we suggest you look into professional organizations that are in your area.  For instance we are members of the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society which is a sub-chapter of Aquatic Plant Management Society, Inc.(APMS website).

APMS is an international group of students, educators, scientists, administrators, commercial pesticide applicators and anyone that has a concern or interest in the study and management of aquatic plants.

Make sure your pond management company knows what they’re doing.  Not applying harmful or potentially toxic short-term treatments that could lead to future disasters.

Biologic Performance is a southern Wisconsin and Chicago small pond management company.  Please contact us for more information if you’re in our service area.

Restoring Water Quality Through Nutrient Management

The greatest task you’ll face in maintaining water quality is balancing nutrient levels in the water.  If you dont have enough nutrients aquatic life will not survive and die off.   If you have too much nutrients (eutrophic) then you will get large blooms of unhealthy weeds and algae.    Which is usually the case most of the time.  Man-made ponds will get run-off from storms that carry fertilizer, organic matter, and sediments flowing into the pond.  Then throw in some grass clipping from the landscape company and organic matter from ducks or other animals and the water is overloaded with nutrients.  Most commonly phosphorous.  Decreasing the water quality by eutrophication (NOAA link – excessive nutrients).

The right balance of nutrients helps maintenance simpler, aquatic life healthier, and water clearer.

What Does Excess Nutrients Do

The pond ecosystem will change with excess nutrients.  Increasing filamentous algae, phytoplankton, invasive aquatic weeds, and macro algae.

All this leads to the dreaded algae bloom.  Which not only is it not pretty to look at, but also dangerous to aquatic life and fish.  Due to the depleted oxygen levels.

Left unmaintained the pond will become anoxic.  Foul odors may develop and any recreational activity will be hampered.  Which for commercial developments, private landowners, parks, communities, or golf courses this could be a huge problem.  Especially when the body of water is used for irrigation.  Valuable crops, turf, or nursery stock can be lost.

What Is the Right Nutrients

The amount of nutrient ratios and levels will vary based on the use and type of the pond or lake.  For example, a fishing pond will need to have healthy amounts of plants and some algae.  Otherwise the fish would die.

First we need to identify common pond and lake nutrients.  Knowing which need to be kept under control, and which are beneficial.

Common pond nutrients:

  • Phosphorous
  • Silicon
  • Nitrogen
  • Carbon

The most common nutrient that we deal with will be phosphorous.  Due to it being responsible for feeding algae.  When we can control the addition or existing levels of phosphorous we can make a large impact on water quality.

Nitrogen is also another key lake nutrient that has a large impact on water quality.

How to Control Pond Nutrients

There are some temporary short-term fixes for excessive nutrients.  Such as using an algaecide.  Which will clear up the water, but then release nutrients back into the water when through the dying algae.  Causing a newer and bigger bloom.

What we want to do is to create a plan based on professional water testing that helps maintain and mitigate problems.  While keeping an ideal balance of all nutrients long-term.  Combining the benefits of positive water quality controls like improving cultural practices, biological controls, aeration, binding agents, and vegetative buffers.  Helping to keep excess nutrients out of the water column.

Lake management treatments like aluminum sulfate or Phoslock (Europe Corp Website), bind phosphorous and take away algae’s food source. Decreasing turbidity and purifying the water.

We prefer Phoslock because it provides a permanent bond (binds with free floating phosphorous and sinks to the bottom where it continues to work) with the phosphorous and is more stable.  Plus there are no worries about water chemistry constitutes like pH.  Such as is the case sometimes with aluminum sulfate.

This will help you avoid having to dredge your pond, or other last resort solutions.  Keeping the area or business open with a less costly treatment.

Vegetative buffers are a great addition to any new lake or pond.  Beneficial buffers are usually created along the shoreline with native vegetation.  And in any low forebays or channels.   These native plants should be helped to thrive and grow.  As once they establish the buffer will help filter run-off, prevent erosion, remove excess nutrients from the water, and stabilize the shoreline.

Is the site has a graded slope that run-off carries pollutants into the pond a sediment forebay should be created. This will keep the sediment from entering the main body of water.  Allowing frequent small removals of accumulation.

Conclusion on Pond Management

In a perfect world nature would manage all ponds with healthy ecosystems.  However that just isn’t reality anymore and most bodies of water suffer without proper pond management equipment and services.

Each pond will be suited for different solutions.

Long-term solutions that are based on scientific knowledge and ecological balance should be used.  Also incorporating water quality and habitat restoration in a environmentally sound and sustainable method.

When you do so, you’ll make sure that your pond or lake will be beautiful and healthy.

Additional Resources

Pond Boss Magazine
Pond Owner Magazine

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