As any reliable pond management companies in Florida will tell you, nutrients are a vital component of proper pond management. Responsible for sustaining all animals and plants living in an aquatic ecosystem, nutrients, when properly managed, can aid pond owners, managers and enthusiasts in maximizing the health, and therefore usefulness and enjoyment, of a pond.
By the same token, an excess or surplus of nutrients in a pond can cause a host of problems, damaging the pond and its plant and animal inhabitants, as well as posing the risk of harm to the community's who enjoy and rely on the that waterbody.
How Nutrient Overload Can Occur
While water contains many different nutrients, the two most common are nitrogen and phosphorus. As aquatic plants decompose throughout the year, they release these nutrients, which settle in the sediment at the pond floor.
When these nutrients are at balanced levels, they help the pond's ecosystem to thrive. When they reach excessive levels, either through failure to properly clean the pond or by introducing nutrients from outside sources, an excess can develop that surpasses this balanced threshold.
Often, excess nutrients are introduced into a pond via stormwater runoff. As stormwater travels across sidewalks, roadways and other surfaces impervious to water absorption, it captures foreign matter like fertilizer residue, pet waste and grass clippings that it then carries into the pond. Such excess nutrients, along with a variety of pollutants, are thus transferred into the pond, where they inadvertently negatively impact the aquatic ecosystem there. This includes contaminating the food sources for the life in the pond, in addition to causing nutrient overload.
Potential Dangers of Nutrient Overload
When nutrients overload a pond, they can:
Poor water quality can accelerate the rate of aging of a particular body of water and, in so doing, pose risks to the health of any nearby community dependent on that waterbody to thrive or survive.
A buildup of nutrients can fuel invasive species infestations and recurring algae blooms, causing thick mats to develop on the pond's surface. This, in turn, prevents the exchange of oxygen necessary to sustain aquatic plant and animal life in the pond. As a result, fish in the pond can die off en masse, and beneficial plants and zooplankton can be destroyed.
Moreover, as these dead fish and destroyed plants and zooplankton begin to decompose, they will release more nitrogen, phosphorus and other organic material into the water, thereby only perpetuating and exacerbating this cycle of destruction.
If left unchecked, this can lead over time to the accumulation of sediment and muck at the bottom of the pond, significantly reducing the volume and depth of the waterbody. Even worse, harmful algae, like Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can bloom, producing an array of harmful toxins to release into the water. Human exposure to these toxins, such as through swimming in tainted waters, has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and ALS.
To avoid the problems of nutrient overload in your pond, learn to properly manage and remediate your pond's nutrient levels, or hire one of the competent and reliable pond management companies in Florida to do it for you.
North America's 1.5 million ponds aren't just for fishing — they prevent erosion, cool their immediate surroundings, and can be used to recycle greywater from septic tanks, boost energy efficiency, and promote biodiversity.
Although nature does a good job at keeping pond ecosystems in balance, ponds can grow unhealthy over time, exhibiting symptoms such as:
Fortunately, even if your pond shows all of the symptoms above, there's still hope! Although restoring your pond might not be an overnight task, it's worth the effort.
1. Wait Until This Time of Year for Pond Remediation
No matter when you remediate your pond, you're bound to disrupt existing wildlife to some extend. However, experts recommend restoring ponds between November and January.
Pond remediation shouldn't be a yearly task. Go into the pond restoration process with the intention of not remediating your pond for at least a decade, if not longer!
2. Draining Isn't Always Necessary
When restoring neglected ponds, many pond owners want to start from scratch. After all, that's what's recommended for restoring pretty much everything else that's dirty — getting them squeaky clean — right?
Completely draining ponds ruins their natural balance of microorganisms, plants, and animals. This step is generally reserved for ponds that are completely unsalvageable and have been neglected for years on end.
If the water is reasonably clear, don't bother draining it. If it's murky, drain away! Leave at least some water behind — anywhere between one-third and one-sixth of the pond's original contents. While the water's low, scoop out the grime at the bottom.
3. Cover Part of the Surface With Plants
Experts recommend covering at least 50% to 75% of pond surfaces with plants. Water lillies are a fan favorite among pond caretakers. They look nice, grow quickly, and offer easy surface coverage. Although they can crowd out small ponds, you can easily control their growth by trimming them.
Make sure to never introduce invasive species to your pond. These plants will compete with native plants until they're knocked out of contention, ruining your pond's ecological balance.
Always select plants that are well-suited for your area based on the USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
For plant ideas, check out this list or reach out to pond management companies in Florida.
Lastly, make sure your pond has several marginal plants. These plants, which surround the edges of ponds, are an essential component of every pond's ecosystem.
4. Don't Use Chemicals
Although various chemicals are advertised as effective pond cleaners, they're often poisonous to wildlife. Avoid using chemicals during the pond restoration process, opting for natural remedies wherever possible.
Though these aren't the only ways to restore your pond, these four suggestions are a great place to start. If your pond still isn't in good shape after trying these suggestions, you can always turn to pond management companies in Florida for help.
Having a pond on your property can be rewarding, but you have to manage it to continue to reap the benefits. Ponds are often beautiful and serve as a way to show off aquatic life, but when they're poorly maintained, they can become filled with algae and harmful bacteria, which is unsightly and unhealthy for plant life and animals that you stock the pond with. A dirty pond can also attract insects that can make being around the pond unpleasant. Some types of maintenance will improve the health of your pond, but others will only harm it.
The Do's of Pond Management
One of the best things that you can do for your pond is provide it with the beneficial bacteria that it needs to thrive. The right bacteria can keep algae and sludge away. Bacteria can also help your fish stay healthy. You should also treat your pond with a bacterial product even in the winter. Lots of people think that their pond is healthy in the winter because it looks clear, but the cold also kills off a lot of the beneficial bacteria. In spring, algae blooms because the bacteria isn't there to fight it off. You can stop this process by treating your pond all year long.
Cleaning your filters and running pumps all year is also important. You should clean your filters with a garden hose to get rid of algae. And if you have any questions about what you might be forgetting to do, ask for technical help from an expert from a pond management company in Florida.
The Don'ts of Pond Management
Changing your filters can actually hurt the quality of the water because this actually gets rid of beneficial bacteria that are keeping your algae in check. You should also avoid the temptation of clearing out your pond and starting over if you're unhappy with its health and the way that it looks. When you start over with new water, you get rid of all of the bacteria and the pond is sterile. The water will look good for a couple of weeks, but it will quickly become full of algae bloom.
Don't pull blanket weed off your pond when it's still alive. This kind of weed will send off spores when you tear it, so you'll only see the weed return in a few days. Instead, wait until it has died to pull it off the pond. You should also avoid letting your pond completely freeze over because this creates a seal that doesn't let any new air enter, which can cause your fish to die. You should also stop feeding your fish because they don't eat in the winter and the extra food will only feed algae in the spring. Finally, don't change the filters. Instead, only clean them so that you keep the beneficial bacteria.
If you have a pond, you can also employ one of the pond management companies in Florida to help you keep yours clean and healthy.
When you manage a stormwater pond, it is important to have a stormwater pond maintenance program to ensure that you are following all laws. You want to make sure you are complying with strict regulations that include undergoing, and passing, regular stormwater inspections.
Stormwater Inspection Types
There are three main types of stormwater inspections you can conduct or have one of the stormwater inspection companies in Florida conduct for you: routine, quarterly and annual. Each of these types differ in complexity based partly in frequency but also in the size and scope of the site to inspect. Each type of stormwater inspection offers its own value, and each is a necessary component of proper overall site management.
Routine Stormwater Inspection
Facilities can use checklists or software to conduct routine inspections or simply conduct a visual inspection of all equipment, materials and operations. Regardless, all routine stormwater pond inspections should include, at minimum:
While routine inspections are not generally required by any municipality or regulatory authority, they are still wise to keep up with the maintenance of the stormwater pond and to prevent unforeseen difficulties when the mandatory quarterly and annual inspections do occur.
Quarterly Stormwater Inspection
Quarterly inspections are necessary for facilities to confirm the stormwater for every point source complies with the effluent limits their permits set. Since these inspections are typically mandatory, most municipalities and regulatory authorities have templates or forms facilities can fill out as they conduct these inspections.
A quarterly stormwater inspection involves visually assessing all outflows and sampling the stormwater from every point source. These samples must be collected, analyzed and the results documented all under very precise and meticulous conditions.
Annual Stormwater Inspection
Once a year, at minimum, every facility must conduct at least one comprehensive site inspection. The facility must conduct this inspection, or hire one of the reputable stormwater inspection companies in Florida to conduct it, while stormwater is being actively discharged, and only qualified personnel are permitted to collect samples for analysis.
An annual stormwater inspection must contain:
When you have a water body that you're maintaining, you need to determine which type of dredging is best for your pond or lake. As water bodies get older, they can get a layer of sediment at the bottom, which creates a whole host of problems, including algae bloom and too many aquatic plants. In these types of bodies of water, fish and other animals usually can't live, and taking a boat with a motor out into this type of water is usually out of the question because the plants will get tangled in the blades. All of these problems usually lead to lower home values. Learn more about choosing the right dredging solutions here.
This type of dredging pulls up sediment and water through a pump and sends it offshore through a tube. One of its biggest benefits is that it can do large amounts of work in a short amount of time because the operating cycles are almost continuous. Plus, because the system is closed, the sediment doesn't get suspended back into the water. The one drawback of this type of dredging is that it doesn't work if there's a lot of large debris, which can break the machine.
This method uses a backhoe or clamshell to dig up sediment, which is put into trucks to go to disposal sites. Mechanical dredging is good for bodies of water that have a lot of large objects, such as rocks and branches, because these objects won't break the clamshell or backhoe. This method can be used to dredge ponds, boat ways in lakes, and large container shipping routes in the ocean. One of its drawbacks is that it often means that the entire body of water is drained. It's also only good for smaller areas and takes longer than hydraulic dredging.
This tool uses a rake at the front of a water vehicle to rake up much, such as plants and dead material at the bottom of the body of water. Its biggest drawback is that you can't use it to get rid of sediment at the bottom of the body of water. It's usually used on smaller bodies of water, and it's good on water as shallow as 18 inches.
How To Choose a Dredging Method
You should look at the size of the body of water you need to dredge and what kind of material you need to dig up. Also, talk to lake management companies in Florida to learn more about what would be best for your water body. An expert can quickly determine which type of dredging would be best, and they can tell you more about how you can maintain your body of water in the future.
Cattails are one of the most prominent plants that grow in lakes and ponds, and you might find that many people consider them to be desirable. These plants can grow as tall as 10-feet, which makes them a major focal point. They can also serve as a shoreline buffer that helps to prevent erosion. When properly controlled, cattails can prevent unwanted algae growth by absorbing nutrients before they reach the water. However, these same majestic plants can also become a nuisance if their growth spirals out of control. Managing cattails in your Florida lake or pond is essential for maintaining its health, and you can choose from several options to eliminate them completely or deter their overgrowth.
Start With a Professional Assessment
The first thing that you’ll want to do is have a professional take a look at the cattail growth to determine if it is causing a problem. Cattails often serve as a habitat for desirable wildlife such as birds, which is why you typically don’t want to eliminate them completely. If the cattails overgrow, then they can start to prevent wildlife from being able to access the pond. They can also restrict water flow and lead to stagnant areas that attract mosquitoes. Once a professional determines that the cattails are creating a problem, they can recommend the best methods for their removal.
Consider Using Aquatic Herbicides
Professional pond management technicians can use special herbicides to control cattails. Aquatic herbicides must meet U.S. EPA and Florida’s state standards before a licensed professional is allowed to apply it to naturally growing plants near bodies of water. During the application process, the lake management technician applies the herbicide to the cattails that need to be controlled. Since it is species-specific, you don’t have to worry about it harming other desirable plants. While this control method is effective, it does come with the potential issue of having the plants remain in or near the water after they die off. Eventually, they’ll decompose, but this can create an issue for water health if the cattails are extensive.
Explore the Option of Using Mechanical Removal
Hydro-raking is one method that lake and pond management companies in Florida use to remove unwanted cattails. This method uses special equipment to pull the cattails up and out of the water, and it provides the benefit of disrupting their underground root system so that they are less likely to keep coming back. Although mechanical removal does come with the risk of potentially harming desirable plants, it has the benefit of also completely removing the cattails from the water so that they don’t lead to poor oxygen levels or an overabundance of nutrients that feed algae.
Whether you like the look of a few cattails lining the shore of your pond or you want them out of there, you’ll want to include them in your water management plan. Controlling cattails is a year-round concern in Florida, and being proactive is the best way to avoid having them affect the health of your lake or pond.
Aquascaping is a beautiful feature that you can add to your pond, whether it's a community or personal one. You might have even heard of the term, but a lot of people don't completely understand how this type of feature is used, how it's beneficial, and how to get started. If you're looking for a way to add beneficial plants to a pond, this is the guide for you.
What Is Aquascaping?More specifically, aquascaping is underwater gardening. When you aquascape, you set up plants, substrates, stones, driftwood, and more in an aesthetically pleasing way. But as anyone who has tried to maintain a body of water knows, it can be challenging to get the ecosystem right so that everything grows healthfully.
Principles That Can HelpWhile aquascaping can be a difficult venture, there are some core guidelines that you need to employ to have a beautiful underwater garden. One of the most important things that you need to keep in mind is that aquascaping requires persistence. It's very likely that you'll experience setbacks when you're setting up your aquascape. Plants will die if you choose the wrong ones to put together or if the PH is off in the water. You're developing an ecosystem, and everything needs to be in balance.
You also need to keep things simple, especially in the beginning. It's tempting to choose exotic plants that look beautiful, but you need to ensure that the garden is healthy, and the wrong plant or fish can throw everything off balance. Too many different kinds of plants also usually lead to an appearance that's less visually appealing. Think about proportions, too. Having your plants all the same height can make your aquascape look boring. Too many plants with large leaves can also take up too much space, and you want some space in your pond or lake that's open.
Hardscape MaterialsSome of these materials are likely already in your lake or pond, but you might choose to add or arrange substrate, driftwood, and other hardscape materials. This adds aesthetic interest and can even make the aquascape more sustainable.
Technical AspectsIf you're creating a pond, there are some things that you need to keep it healthy. For instance, you'll need pond pumps to get rid of algae, leaves, and other materials that can harm your pond. You should also use liquid fertilizers to provide food for your plants. You might also need to invest in a CO2 system because this gas is essential for plant growth.
Growing an aquascape can be time-consuming and difficult. If you want some help, you can talk to one of the lake management companies in Florida. They have the experience that can make your project more successful and beautiful.
Pond management aims to keep the pond's ecosystem healthy and sustainable. Water quality is critical for a healthy ecosystem where beneficial fish and vegetation thrive. Site inspections, shoreline buffering, water quality testing, and invasive aquatic weed control are integral to successful pond management. Pond management can be challenging. Yet, there are many lake and pond management companies in Florida to help you succeed.
Introducing Fish to a Pond
Invasive aquatic weeds and insects can damage a pond's health and beauty. Introducing fish can be a long-term solution to manage a pond's ecosystem sustainably.
A pond can benefit from introducing fish that voraciously eat undesirable weeds and other plants that harm a pond's ecosystem. Also, there are predatory fish that eat mosquitos and their larva.
Herbicides and larvicides can do lasting damage to a pond. Having the right type of fish in a pond can help to eliminate the use of these chemicals.
A pond full of muck and debris is unsightly. Therefore, the aeration process is an essential part of pond management. Some ponds can benefit from an aeration system that adds oxygen below the water surface to speed up the decomposition of dead plants and other debris. Aeration also keeps the life-sustaining oxygen level high enough for beneficial bacteria, fish, and submerged plants to thrive.
Another way to aerate a pond is to use a hydro-rake. A hydro-rake is a floating barge with a backhoe that can remove up to 500 pounds of debris from the pond that can be a food source for undesirable plants and bacteria. This removal can also add depth and volume to the pond to prevent flooding during heavy rainstorms. A pond management company will know the best aeration method to use for your pond.
Preserving the Shoreline
Weather, wildlife, overuse, and neglect can erode the natural beauty of a pond's shoreline. Shoreline deterioration can also harm the quality of the water. Lake and pond management companies in Florida can create a customized solution to help you maintain a pond's natural shoreline.
There are a couple of ways to preserve the shoreline of a pond. One way is to plant native, deep-rooted plants on and near the shoreline. The deep roots help to naturally secure the soil and give it structure to prevent the shoreline from deteriorating.
Another method is to use a knitted mesh material to maintain the shoreline's natural beauty and secure the soil. You can also place sod and other plants to cover the knitted mesh to make the shoreline look natural.
A pond management company can educate you and your community on the best practices for pond management. For example, they can provide information about proper pet waste disposal, keeping the area around the pond free of plant debris, and more. They can also inform the community about switching to organic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
A professionally managed pond will provide you with many benefits. The water must be healthy and have a sustainable environment. Maintaining a pond's water quality is imperative to support a healthy fish population. Contact a pond management company when you need pond management services.
Owning property with a private pond means you always have a relaxing spot to go when you want to enjoy nature, fish or simply sit back and enjoy some peace and quiet. While a private pond is a wonderful amenity for any living space, managing a private pond can become difficult rather quickly.
Challenges in Pond Management
Although nature takes care of a lot of the day-to-day issues of pond management in the wild, a private pond doesn’t always experience the same cycles as ponds found out in nature. This is because many private ponds are either man-made structures or they are cut off from ecological factors like streams and rivers.
The Loss of Natural Habitat
In either case, the loss of natural habitat can make it more difficult to handle things like stocking a pond, cleaning a pond and ensuring that the pond’s structure doesn’t damage nearby land and other natural resources. This is even more of a challenge if your pond has an artificial water source that pumps fresh water in or if it has a man-made liner that develops a crack or a leak. In the latter case, the pond may need to be drained completely or divers may need to be sent in to find and fix any damage.
Are You Able to Clean Your Pond Sufficiently and Safely?
Additionally, if your private pond is near a roadway, debris and even litter from passing vehicles can lead to pollution concerns. Regular cleaning of your pond may be necessary to remove debris and litter, and in some cases, pond management may require you to hire professional cleaners to dredge the bottom of the pond to remove contaminants and debris.
Trespassers Can Be a Burden and a Potential Legal Threat
You may also experience trespassers on your property who may not realize that your pond is private. This presents a safety risk to you, your property and to any people who wander onto your property. If someone is injured on your property and your pond has not been clearly marked, you may also face liability for injuries or other legal issues.
Alternatives to Managing a Pond on Your Own
It’s certainly not impossible to manage a pond on your own, but the challenges you may face in doing so can take up a lot of your time. You may find that hiring a pond management company makes more sense as these companies employ professionals experienced in handling all types of challenges to pond health.
Pond management companies in Florida and other parts of the country where warm weather is common typically have the tools necessary to not only handle man-made pond concerns, but they can also work with land owners who have natural ponds on their property.
Whether you’re in a rural region like North Central Florida or you’re in more populated areas like Orlando or Jacksonville, pond management companies in Florida are going to be able to provide experienced service due to the state’s climate and number of homes with private pond ownership. If you’re unsure about your ability to handle all that managing a pond entails, it may be time to contact a professional.
The pond in your neighborhood has tremendous potential. It can serve as more than simply a reservoir for stormwater runoff. With proper care and management, your water body could serve a multitude of recreational and leisure purposes, as well as transform into a gorgeous water feature. A pond management company has the knowledge and the tools to improve the health of your pond rather than just dealing with it when things go wrong.
Choosing the right contractor is the key to creating a pond environment that serves your neighborhood well. Here are some questions to ask when researching pond management companies in Florida.
1. Do you have testimonials?
Any reputable service provider should be ready and willing to provide references for their work. Check their website for testimonials, but it also doesn't hurt to ask directly. Talking to a client who used to have problems similar to what you're dealing with and a pond of your size can be quite useful. You can get a great deal of insight from their experience. This type of first-hand recommendation can also provide you with peace of mind.
2. What types of certifications do you have?
Ask your potential pond management firm about any licensure or certifications they hold. You'll want to know whether they are licensed to apply aquatic herbicides as well as any particular specialties they might possess. If you have an algae issue or overgrowth of other nuisance plants, you'll need a provider who knows how to utilize herbicides safely.
3. What should I expect with regard to timelines and monitoring?
Don't be afraid to ask how long you should expect to wait for a report to be completed. Once your provider has completed this step, they should also be able to give you thorough information about their proposed management plan. In addition, you'll want to know how they plan to monitor your pond and when they will provide updates on its progress.
4. What sustainable methods do you use in pond management?
A quality pond management company should be able to provide you with more than just a blanket promise to keep your pond healthy. Ask them to talk to you about the specific strategies they use and whether these methods promote sustainability. Sustainable techniques include things like adding a fountain or other methods to aerate the water and reduce stagnation, removing invasive plants to allow beneficial ones to thrive, and edging the pond with native plants as a buffer against erosion.
5. Will you keep me updated about industry developments?
Pond management is an ever-changing industry. You'll want to be kept up-to-date on the latest developments, resources and laws so that your community can make the best and most-informed decisions regarding your water feature. Your provider should be able to at least point you in the direction of resources with this information.
These questions should help to lessen the overwhelm associated with choosing a quality pond management company. You now have a road map to help you find the company that's right for your community's needs.
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.