Biochar tech can mitigate climate change and bolster soil quality while simultaneously cutting down on waste and generating energy in the process. This article is concerned with fully explaining what biochar is and how it is a positive for the environment.
What Is It?
Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is created by burning "biomass," organic substances from agricultural or forest waste like leaves and tree limbs, through "pyrolysis." While it may resemble charcoal, biochar minimizes contamination and safely stores the resulting carbon; wood chips, leaves and other dead plant matter get burned up in a vessel containing minimal oxygen and converted into stable biochar with hardly any fumes. The end result is a light, porous and grainy black chunk; roughly 70% of the stuff is pure carbon, followed by nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.
The earliest evidence of biochar goes back two millennia ago with the Amazon basin's "terra preta." While we are unsure if its use was intentional, we do know that terra preta-infused soil was significantly more fertile than the rest of the Amazon. Furthermore, plants found in that soil grew quicker and more nutritious than other local plants. Lastly, those terra preta soils still retain carbon.
The quality of the materials affects the final biochar product; the ideal "feedstock" would contain 10-20% moisture and high amounts of lignin. Contaminated feedstocks can transfer their contamination into the soil, upping soil pH and/or stopping plants from absorbing minerals.
Biochar can be made to any scale, from cheap, small-scale operations with a stove to massive industrial pyrolysis plants. Top-lift updraft biochar machines are the most common means by which farmers produce biochar.
Soil degradation is a big issue for agriculture and biochar has been suggested as a solution for things like:
Biochar also helps with composting by retaining nutrients otherwise lost in composting, cutting greenhouse gases and accelerating the process by exciting microbial activity. It also minimizes ammonia loss and odor.
On Improving Soil
The rate of application and prep work for biochar depends on the soil and specific biochar. Common knowledge suggests blending biochar with compost materials to give it nutrients and useful organisms.
An Environmental Solution
Biochar is a simple material with grand benefits. For example, manufacturing biochar can hold billions of tons of carbon within the soil for thousands of years. Another benefit would be lowering groundwater pollution, cutting the costs to filter water and making crop farming more profitable. It can even help food security by upping crop yields and water retention in drought-prone regions.
On Carbon Sequestering and Climate Change
Biochar production lessens carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting unstable carbon sources into a stable final product. Put otherwise, the feedstocks that create biochar would otherwise add to the atmosphere's carbon dioxide level. Turning those feedstocks into an oxygen-nonreactive form means that biochar lessens carbon dioxide.
Lakes are ubiquitous in Florida. Natural and man-made, small and large, manicured and wild, they dot the landscape like rhinestones on a Dolly Parton gown. And though attractive, all those lakes require upkeep — because untamed bodies of water can easily mutate into unruly quagmires. Before you know it, you’ll be battling a formidable marine environment, which can be costly.
Why You Need Vegetation Control in Your Lake
Failing to control pond and lake vegetation can make them inaccessible. Boating, fishing, and swimming become a dangerous hassle in neglected waters. Marine life also suffers. In worst-case scenarios, certain species may die off due to excessive aquatic vegetation.
Weed Removal Techniques
So how do you keep things under control in your lake, pond, or stream? Traditionally, landscapers and groundskeepers use three techniques to manage aquatic vegetation.
Mechanical Weed Control
The most environmentally friendly method of aquatic vegetation control is mechanical weed removal, which simply means removing underwater plants by hand. But it’s an unpleasant job that takes a very long time and costs a fortune. After all, mechanical weed control requires paying people to wade in the water for hours on end to pick up seaweed.
It’s also inefficient because the vegetation continues to grow during the picking process. So once you’re done, the cycle starts all over again.
Biological Weed Control
Another eco-friendly aquatic weed control method involves stocking lakes with fish that consume heaps of vegetation, like the Triploid Grass Carp and Mozambique Tilapia. A single Triploid Grass Carp can provide 10 to 13 years of vegetation control. They get unfettered access to leafy pond weeds — their version of caviar — and the water stays under control. It’s a win-win.
Similarly, Mozambique Tilapias enjoy algae and floating vegetation, like duckweed. Since the species can’t survive in waters cooler than 55 degrees, marine control specialists stock lakes with Mozambique Tilapias in the spring when the pond water is over 60 degrees.
What makes this method somewhat less environmentally sound than the manual method is that you’re introducing fish species to a body of water in which they may prove intrusive and crowd out other native animals. However, under the supervision of a trained professional, it’s typically not a problem.
Chemical Weed Control
Though it’s the least eco-aware option, chemicals are the most cost-effective. A single person with a commercial tank can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Moreover, not all chemicals are dangerous and destructive, and most companies now use formulas with minimal environmental impact.
Apartment complexes and homeowners with pond features are wise to use lake management companies in Florida instead of doing it themselves. The professionals have the expertise to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Take pride in the environmental water features on your property that make it a unique and special place. Whether it's a body-of-water or waterway that's natural or man-made, utilize the professional expertise of environmental companies in Florida to keep water assets healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Let's take a look at five top services performed by our licensed, certified experts for beautifully maintaining and preserving lakes, ponds, wetlands, and other waterways.
You've got a lot invested in your land so don't let it slip away (literally), because of erosion that's preventable. Weather conditions from mild to wild cause erosion in minutes and over time. Wind, waves, and stormwater runoff pummels shorelines and can even destabilize homes. Highly trafficked areas, whether frequented by humans or livestock also cause erosion.
Our state-certified eco-solutions stabilize, restore, and beautify your water assets. One method, our three-step process starts with environmentally beneficial geo-tubes filled with sediment we retrieve on site. Once filled, these geo-tubes are used to form a natural barrier along the shoreline. Finally, we establish native plants and grasses over the geo-tubes. Indigenous vegetation from our own nursery or by aquatic harvesting creates powerful root systems that help hold this barrier in place.
Is your pond or lake getting shallower due to accumulating silt or debris? Would you like to deepen, expand, or reclaim a waterway for a boat dock, pier, or bridge? We have appropriate dredging equipment to suit the job, large or small. Removing contaminated debris is also great for maintaining a viable, flourishing ecosystem.
Toxic algae bloom creates huge problems in all types of waterways. It's lethal to fish and other aquatic wildlife. Also, you want don't want family or pets swimming in a toxified lake, pond, or river. Quick action is crucial and organic biochar, derived from wood is an effective solution. Similar to activated charcoal, it enables us to safely rid waterways of this eco-hazard.
Maintaining healthy wetlands is good ecological stewardship with positive impacts for your land or business, even increasing property value. Environmental companies in Florida know the importance of establishing a littoral shelf that absorbs contaminants and minerals from stormwater before they reach major waterways. Establishing indigenous aquatic vegetation within the littoral zone prevents erosion and beautifies your water asset; it also provides habitat for fish, birds, and other wildlife.
Being proactive with more frequent storm inspections than is required by Florida agencies enables us to identify issues before they become costly problems. It's also likely you'll pass those required state inspections without a hitch. Plus, the bio-data we collect enables us to monitor key elements of your water asset's ecosystem including water quality, aquatic vegetation, muck depth and more. This enables us to adjust your waterway's management plan as needed.
Whether your property is commercial or private, discover all the ways environmental companies in Florida like Crosscreek Environmental can enhance your water attractions and help them thrive so you can derive greater enjoyment from your natural surroundings.
Soil erosion in Florida tends to happen very slowly over time and many times people won't even notice that it's happening until it becomes an issue. With that said, though, it can also happen very quickly when you least expect it. Not only can this cause damage to property, but it can also make the water source look unappealing or cause various wildlife to lose their homes. To help you find the best erosion control companies in Florida, we've listed the most common types of erosion for the area, as well as provided some tips for preventing or slowing down future erosion.
Types of Erosion in Florida
The four main types of soil erosion in Florida include rainfall and surface runoff, water erosion, tunnel erosion, and bank erosion. Take a look below to learn more about these types.
1. Rainfall & Surface Runoff
This is one of the main types of soil erosion in Florida and happens due to rainfall. There are four main ways rainfall causes erosion, which we talk about below.
Rills are around 12 inches deep and are shallow drain lines. As the water flows through overtime, the soil begins to break apart and get washed down the stream. While it might not be a big deal now, it can lead to hills and divots that can cause a lot more damage.
This happens when the raindrops hit the soil causing it to separate into several smaller pieces. The little pieces will sit as a crust on top of the soil until wind or water comes and washes it away. This is a big issue in those areas that get excessive amounts of rainfall.
Gully erosion is the one that causes the most damage and makes it extremely difficult to save the area. It happens when there's a lot of runoff happening in one place. Examples include springs or small waterfalls. As the water comes down, it has enough force to take chunks of soil away. It can go anywhere from 2m to 15m deep.
This type of erosion happens when something like runoff or heavy rain happens. They cause a thin layer of soil to come loose and be washed away. It usually happens slowly over a period of time and isn't obvious until a large amount of soil gets washed away. Areas that don't have any coverage from vegetation or plants will lose soil quicker than those with.
2. Water Erosion
This type of erosion happens as water flows along the same path over a period of time. These will start as vertical valleys that are shaped like a V, then they will become steeper over time. Once the water hits the bottom, the erosion will start going sideways.
3. Tunnel Erosion
Tunnel erosion happens as water goes through small cracks or holes and washes away bits of soil. As time goes on and more water flows through, the tunnel becomes both wider and deeper.
4. Bank Erosion
The final type of erosion is bank erosion, which is when the banks of ponds or lakes start getting washed away. While this happens over time, flooding can cause it to happen faster and some banks can be completely washed away.
How to Prevent Erosion
Listed below is a bullet list that includes a few tips for helping prevent soil erosion. As long as you have a water source located on your property, you won't have to get any kind of special clearances to do any of these.
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.