Whether you are a lake manager, part of a lake association board, or even a dockmaster, there is a lot that goes into the care and keeping of your lake – and a lot of information that goes along with this.
But what information do you need to collect and track? What data can you use for predicting upcoming issues or what treatments you may need? And how do you even go about collecting this data?
Today, we are walking through exactly this. Starting with what information you should be keeping track of, what it will help you predict, how it informs strategies for years to come, and how to get this crucial data (and recommendations) in hand.
Water Quality refers to the overall condition of the water within a pond, lake, stream or more as derived from chemical, biological and physical characteristics. At Clarke, some of the tests our team recommend include, but are not limited to:
By keeping track of these characteristics and implementing periodic testing, property managers, lake associations and harbormasters can stay ahead of HABs, fish kills, plant overgrowths and other harmful conditions that are costly, timely and difficult to eradicate.
These are a lot of key water quality parameters to track. Aquatic services companies, such as Clarke, can provide these tests on a periodic, timely basis and provide recommendations and adjustments as may be needed.
As discussed in the above section on Water Quality, aquatic plant overgrowth can have detrimental impacts on any type of waterbody. You can read more about what aquatic plants are, a native one versus invasive one and some common examples in Clarke’s Guide to Aquatic Plants.
There are a lot of benefits to having native aquatic plants in your lake and pond. Plants are a critical part of keeping a water system balanced – they help improve overall water quality, provide oxygen, enhance fish and wildlife habitats and create shorelines and littoral areas that serve as filters for detrimental runoff.
Yet, overgrowth of native species and the presence of harmful invasive species can be catastrophic to a lake or pond ecosystem – its native plant community, fish populations, recreational use and property values. Their growth and subsequent decay can also contribute to algae and HABs.
Other factors that impact the health of aquatic plants include:
It is also important to have a firm understanding of the wildlife – fish, waterfowl and other animals – within your waters. While the immediate benefit that may come to mind is good fishing, the presence of a balanced fish population also helps keep weed, algae and invertebrates at bay.
A lake should have a healthy, thriving fish population which requires some care to maintain a balance. For example, you will want to keep a balance between predator fish and the prey fish they feed upon – a common rule of thumb is three prey fish per predator. Having this structure allows the prey fish an opportunity to reproduce.
Some of the other factors that go into a balanced, healthy fish population include:
The foundation to any of the above needs to include a fish survey. This will ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of what fish are already in your lake or pond, their health, their stage of maturity and opportunities for new species and their amounts to introduce.
At Clarke, we provide fish and biomass surveys, electroshocking and fish stocking as part of our overall water quality offerings. Contact a rep here to get started on a strategy for your lake’s wildlife.
Soft sediment refers to the buildup of muck – loose sand, clay, slit, decaying plants and other loose particles – from erosion or decay accumulation. Erosion happens naturally, the fate of all waterbodies is to fill in to an extent – but nearly 70% of erosion is a result of human activity.
As sediment accumulates, it can:
You can find more information on the detrimental effects of sediment accumulation from the EPA.
Because of this, it is essential to be aware of the structural integrity of your lake or pond bottom. A sediment analysis – mapping done to locate areas of different sediment types paired with manual surveys to determine the makeup of said sediment – will allow you to remain ahead of any potential issues, work to combat human-related acceleration and plan for any potential future needs.
Some of the benefits of lake sediment hardness mapping include:
You can learn more about how the sediment analysis process works in Clarke’s Guide.
Bathymetric mapping surveys the contours and depths of a lake or other waterbody. In the case that your lake has a contour map from the 1950s, 60s or 70s, it would be wise to have an updated map utilizing modern GPS-integrated depth-sensing technology.
Some of the benefits of lake bathymetric mapping include:
Learn more about bathymetry mapping and Clarke’s integrated approach here – our team is proud to use state-of-the-art equipment such as BioSonics to ensure our clients have the most accurate, detailed information possible.
The final information to keep track of concerns any fountain and aeration equipment you may have on-site. You can learn more about the many, many benefits of utilizing aeration and increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen (DO) in your waterbody here.
There are three main types of aeration equipment, each with its own purposes, capabilities and needs.
Our experts at Clarke have years of experience working with a vast variety of lakes and communities, with a focus on catering to their unique needs and goals and an emphasis on using science-based techniques and technologies to do so. To learn more, contact our team here, or check out other articles such as
Clarke Aquatic Services (CAS), a business unit of The Clarke Group, has been acquired by SOLitude Lake Management, a nationwide environmental firm that provides sustainable solutions to improve water quality and preserve water resources. The transaction closed effective November 1,…
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently placed the monarch butterfly – known for its striking orange and black pattern as well as its annual migration – on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Monarch butterflies join…
Clarke understands that our actions and decisions matter. They matter and ripple across our organization, out to customers, throughout our industry, and into the global community. This understanding is why we are so considerably grounded in stewardship and service. We…