Below are some suggestions for taking care of your natural areas in the summer months.
Do you think Sediment is an issue?
Are you starting to see mudflats in your lake? Having trouble getting your boat out to the deeper sections? Are aquatic plant growth and/or algae taking over your lake? You may need to have excess sediment removed – commonly called dredging. The first step to determine if dredging is necessary is for a bathymetric mapping to be conducted. ILM can create a sediment thickness map by determining the volume of sediment across the bottom of your water resource. Once determined we can help determine the feasibility of removal and being any necessary permitting.
Water quality testing
Understanding your water quality is important to gauge the health of your water body and making good choice in future management. Early June is a good time to begin water quality testing in lakes and ponds if multiple visits are planned over the summer. The warm water causes algae and plant growth, which helps indicate how the lake will perform later in the summer, when the lake is stressed from hot dry weather and dense growth. Testing for phosphorus, chlorophyll a, and water clarity can help determine the lake’s trophic state index (TSI) for the health of the lake. Dissolved oxygen profiles can determine if there is enough oxygen for fish, or if an aeration system is needed. Other tests can be performed to determine if the water is suitable for irrigation.
Are your swimming areas safe?
If your lake or pond is used for swimming periodic testing for E. coli is required if it has a public beach. If you have a private beach, testing is not required, but is highly recommended. E. coli levels tend to be highest after a heavy rain event, or when geese, or dirty diapers are present. If swallowed, E. coli can create sickness, which can be serious. Swimming beaches typically are tested every two weeks and after rain events greater than 0.5 inches.
Evaluate long term trends in your stream or river
Water quality in streams can change dramatically depending on droughts, rain events, or the addition of pollutants. These changes may be temporary, but the macro invertebrates, or river bugs, represent a long term trend in the stream’s water quality and ecology.
Inspect your aeration systems
Mid-season inspections of aeration systems ensure that fountains and lake bed aeration systems continue to operate properly throughout the season. Clogged air filters, unbalanced diffuser manifolds, blocked debris screens, dirty spray patterns, and algae covered light lenses not only affect how efficient the systems are at properly aerating lakes and ponds, but also affect the physical appearance and aesthetic appeal of these features.
Control non-native species
Herbicide application is most effective when applied during the correct season for the targeted plant. Common plants that are treated in the Great Lakes Region during the summer months include: two types of non-native cattails (Typha angustifolia and Typha glauca), common reed (Phragmites australis) and Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). These plants have a tendency to quickly dominate an area and produce monotypic stands that reduce the overall habitat value. Treatment is most successful when executed with the onset of these plants rather than once a monoculture has been established.
Manual removal of algae
The manual removal of plants involves the use of a mechanical harvester, where accessible, or the use of rakes to remove excessive plant growth. The removed material is taken off site and disposed of at an organic recycling facility. The body of water is typically treated with chemical after the removal. this removal process prevents the nutrients from returning to the water column and help limit future growth.
Check for odors and standing water
Does your pond smell very musky? Does it have a green scum that looks like someone dumped a can of bright green paint? You probably have a blue-green algae bloom. Call us for assistance. If dogs or people swim in the lake, posting of signs may be recommended.