Grass carp were introduced into the United States about 60 years ago. Their immense consumption of aquatic vegetation made them ideal candidates for controlling plant growth in lakes and ponds. In this role, grass carp helped to protect ecosystems by balancing plant growth and the needs of fish and other aquatic life.
During the 1980's, fertile grass carp became an invasive species in Lake Erie and in other locations. Their enormous food intake and rapid reproduction negatively impacted fish populations and changed the ecological balance. The source of the invasive quantities of grass carp were likely escapes from waters near Lake Erie where pond and lake managers used them as a natural and non-chemical plant control system.
The unchecked population growth and high rates of plant consumption negatively impacted Lake Erie and other bodies of water. Depending on the goals of pond or lake management, the use of grass carp in well-controlled environments demonstrated their effectiveness and benefits in protecting aquatic ecosystems.
Responding to the impact of the invasive grass carp, states began regulating their use. The key was to require sterilization during the commercial breeding process. If all carp sold were unable to reproduce, then carp would not be able to overwhelm aquatic environments by population and over feeding.
Grass carp hatcheries were required to sterilize their crops by altering the egg development process. The resulting crops of sterile carp could not reproduce in the wild. The US Fish and Wildlife Service inspects hatcheries for compliance and tests carp for fertility. The sterilization process was effective in reducing unplanned reproduction but not completely capable of eliminating fertile carp.
Barriers Supplement Sterilization
Barriers play a key role in protecting ponds and lakes. Grass carp like salmon and some other species have an instinct to spawn and reproduce in flowing water. Barriers must be well designed to prevent escape from ponds and lakes into rivers and streams. Barriers also protect the breeders investment in stock and equipment by reducing loss of grass carp.
The State of Florida has strict rules to protect against release of grass carp. Pond and lake managers must secure a permit riot to obtaining grass carp. The permit conditions requires the managers and owners to keep the fish in the specific lake or pond and not allow them to escape by using barriers.
Barriers Must be Well-Designed
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission sets standards for fish barriers. The gaps between the sturdy bars must meet specific measurements to block the escape of fish. The design requirements must also contemplate rising waters during rains and heavy storms. The barrier openings must be small to prevent escape by fish capable of reproducing and large enough to let other materials pass through. The barriers must be able to function without undue clogging. Barrier designs must accommodate maintenance and cleaning and resist corrosion.
Effective Plant Control Solutions
Grass carp provide aquatic plant control as a natural part of a balanced ecosystem. Carp suppliers for pond and lake management companies in Florida must meet state and federal guidelines for safety. With effective low-maintenance barriers, grass carp can contribute to healthy aquatic environments that protect fish and other aquatic species. Effective barriers are an essential tool for protecting fish and aquatic habitat.
When the weather changes during the spring season, and again in the fall, algal blooms appear in many open bodies of water. Temperature changes and seasonal winds during these periods stir the water, in turn stirring up sediment from the floor. In doing so, this adds a fresh concentration of nutrients to the water. While this phenomenon, known as the turnover process, is completely normal, it can make your pond turn a green or brownish-green color when it occurs.
At the same time as this is occurring, additional nutrients are entering the water from outside the pond. If only a minimal amount of these outside nutrients are added to the water while the turnover process is also taking place, then it doesn’t take long, only about a few weeks, for the water to clear back up. If the nutrients coming from outside the body of water are too excessive however, then, combined with the turnover, the brownish-green tint to the water could linger.
Immediate Fix: Aquatic Dyes
Fortunately, there is a method you can use to get immediate relief from those algae explosions and the unsightly brown and green water they produce: aquatic dye.
There are non-toxic dyes you can buy from pond management companies in Florida that will help keep the excessive growth of algae in your pond under control. To always be safe, never use dyes not labeled non-toxic and made specifically for use in open bodies of water. Pond dyes are similar to food dyes in that they contain colorants not found harmful to wildlife. (That said, don’t try eating pond dye or substituting it for food dye in your next batch of holiday cookies.)
If you’ve ever noticed how fresh, clear, blue and, above all, algae-free the water looks at golf courses and recreational parks, in decorative fountains and ornamental ponds, it’s because the tenders of those water bodies add an aquatic blue or blue-green dye to the water.
Benefits of Aquatic Dyes
In addition to providing that familiar, healthy tint to the water, aquatic dyes also reduce the penetration of sunlight into the water. This acts as a form of shade that helps to impede photosynthesis, thereby reducing algal growth.
Aquatic dyes are most effective for controlling blue-green algae and filamentous algae. They are not herbicides, however, and cannot be used to kill off algae that has already proliferated.
Aquatic Dye Colors
You can get pond dyes in a range of colors:
Pond management companies in Florida can help you determine the best aquatic dye for your needs to make your pond look its purest and cleanest while keeping the life it sustains healthy and safe.
With summer fast approaching, now is the ideal time to have your pond or lake checked out by a professional management company. Early preventive measures are important when it comes to keeping things clean and clear. That's why you'll want to be sure to have your water body inspected, cleaned and maintained in the spring. Waiting too long could result in issues that are challenging to control and expensive to manage.
By the time summer arrives in full force, pond and lake management companies in Florida start to come across troublesome and preventable issues. Any professional will advise you to address maintenance now in order to plan for success in the future. Ultimately, timely preparation and foresight can allow you and your guests to enjoy your summer water activities without interruption. Here are the maintenance tips you'll need to have a successful summer.
Check Your Equipment
Hopefully, you're checking on equipment such as aerators, fountains, lights, cables and control panels at regular intervals throughout the year. However, if you want to have full use of your water body when the weather gets warm, you'll definitely want to have these items checked before summer.
Develop a Management Plan
When determining what actions to take toward lake management, you can actually get a good idea of what needs to be done by looking back on previous seasons. What sorts of problems were you facing last year at this time? Issues like algae bloom, plant overgrowth and invasive plant life can typically become a recurring problem. Professional lake management companies in Florida have the knowledge to tackle these problems and to develop a plan to proactively manage them.
Be Aware of Neighborhood Development
Any large construction projects or development in your close geographic area can impact the health of your water body, resulting in problems like increased sedimentation. Failed best management practices (BMP) can occur on or around construction sites, causing upheaval to your water system. These include sediment traps and basins, seeding and mulching, silt fencing and earth dikes.
Check Water Quality
Checking the quality of your water now can provide insight into any issues that may develop with the warmer weather. A pond management professional can help you to better understand potential impacts of your quality readings so that proper adjustments can be made. Taking preventative measures now can ensure a healthy ecosystem and clear water body all summer long.
Arrange Meetings with Governing Bodies
If organizations such as lake or homeowners' associations are responsible for upkeep of a water body, it's crucial that these stakeholders meet regularly to discuss maintenance plans for the waters in their care. Working in combination with a reputable pond and lake management company aid in determining the budget needed for proper maintenance. This type of collaboration is essential to keep your pond clean and beautiful.
Follow these suggestions to get a handle on your pond's health. Taking action now toward proper maintenance can ensure you enjoy a hassle-free summer.
With their prehistoric protection shells and reptilian extremities, turtles are fun and fascinating animals. But can they harm your backyard pond?
Generally speaking, turtles should be seen as welcome additions to most aquatic ecosystems. If a small bale takes up residency in your property’s water feature, you probably have little to worry about. In fact, turtles can be helpful. But in certain situations, they may cause a few problems.
So today, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of having turtles in your property’s pond.
First a Crash Course on TurtlesTurtles are cold-blooded reptiles that can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and there are currently about 350 species on the planet. Highly adaptable and relatively easygoing about their diets, turtles will eat whatever is available and can digest both plants and meat.
Fun Fact: A turtle's outer shell is made of bone, and it's called a carapace.
Benefits of Pond Turtles
Turtles are like pond vacuum cleaners. Their omnivorous palates aren’t discerning, and they’ll munch on just about anything in front of them. Folks assume that turtles will eat up all the fresh, healthy fish in a pond. And they may occasionally catch a sushi-grade swimmer. But they usually opt for the path of least resistance — the slow, sick, and dead ones — which helps prevent unwanted bacteria from building up.
Turtles also chow on underwater plant life, keeping pond weeds under control. Conveniently, they’re particularly fond of issue-causing strains. In a way, having a few turtles around is like medicine for your pond.
However, you shouldn’t rely on turtles to keep all of your weeds under control. Instead, enlist the services of a certified pond landscaping expert to help keep your underwater ecosystem healthy and thriving.
Potential Drawback of Pond Turtles
Problems with pond turtles arise when they overtake an ecosystem — and certain species reproduce at rabbit-like rates. When they become the dominant species, turtles compete for food and other resources and may eventually starve out the fish.
Having too many turtles can also obscure problems that are causing fish to die. After all, if they’re gobbling up all the dead swimmers, you may not notice their carcasses and miss a fatal bacteria problem metastasizing in your pond.
Turtles are fun to observe and make a great visual addition to landscaped water features. So long as you keep their populations in check, they’re more helpful than harmful. The key is maintaining a healthy balance. Crosscreek Environmental is one of the premier pond management companies in Florida. So if you’re in the Sunshine State, and need a landscaper with expert knowledge of Florida pond maintenance, give us a call.
At Crosscreek Environmental, we believe in providing a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach in creating solutions to maintain the beauty and health of Florida's ponds, lakes, wetlands, and shorelines. We use the B.E.S.T.™ geo-tube solution and are one of the best geo-tube solution providers in the state of Florida.