While it may feel like the season is winding down, there are lots of things to do before everything goes dormant.
Understand and enhance your fish population
Are the fishermen complaining about no large fish in the lake? Should stocking be done? Before stocking a lake, find out what you have to properly prepare for stocking. Fish surveys are best performed during the spring and fall, when plant growth is minimal and fish have fewer places to hide. Surveys work best when the water is above 55 degrees. Once you know what you have you can then determine what you need to stock!
Eliminate cool season invasive species
Natural areas are being invaded by cool season invasive grasses despite utilizing even the most conservation-oriented management. These grasses include Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), Common Reed (Phragmites australis), and Quack Grass (Elytigia repens). Now is the time to treat them!
Cattail and phragmites removal
After herbicide treatment it is a good idea to remove the dead cattails and phragmites. This provides native species the ability to expand to the newly cleared area; establishing the natives will help prevent further infestation by the cattails and phragmites. The area will look much cleaner after removal.
In a dormant seeding, the seed remains inactive until the ground warms the following spring. It is important to seed once soil temperatures have cooled sufficiently to insure that germination will not occur until the following spring. In our area, the recommended dormant seeding dates are from late September thru freeze up.
Limit goose grazing
Applying a goose deterrent on lawns can hinder goose grazing. Applications should occur throughout the year to discourage both resident and migratory geese. Spraying goose deterrent is a great alternative to dog services or other methods of harassing geese.
Keep culverts flowing
Culverts transport water from waterways under roads and highways. With the springtime precipitation and warmer weather culverts can become overwhelmed with debris. If the debris is not removed, flooding and slow drainage can cause damage to the surrounding area. Regular inspection and removal of debris are easy and effective ways to minimize potential flooding. Preventative maintenance is essential to keeping your culverts fully functional and is the most cost effective route.
In the Midwest fall marks the time for fountain removal and one last opportunity to inspect aeration systems for necessary repairs and routine maintenance. It is recommended that fountains be washed and stored in an above freezing environment. The removal of excessive debris from the motor housings assists with heat displacement when the unit is in operation which will increase the longevity of the motor. All fountains should be removed before the lakes and ponds freeze to prevent any possible damage to the units.
Most native plantings need to be burned. Burning yields better growth and minimizes non-native species. Burning is also an ecologically sound way to improve wildlife habitat. Fire used as part of a land management plan can help game species and plants or animals that are endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Special permitting may be required so plan ahead.
Are you thinking of leaving your aeration system on to provide oxygen in the water for your fish over the winter? Ask ILM about it. There are safe ways to do this and ways to reduce the presence of overwintering geese. Perform a final lake cleanup from the strong winds of November. Remove trash and organic debris before it decomposes over the winter.