IMG_1014Excessive plants and algae growth can prove not only be unsightly, but can hinder recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, boating and irrigation. However, moderate quantities of aquatic vegetation are an integral part of a balanced aquatic ecosystem. A healthy pond or lake should have up to 30% plant coverage in order to provide habitat, forage for invertebrates, and reproduction areas for resident fish. Depending on the use of the water, different aquatic vegetation species can be a powerful draw for waterfowl and other wildlife. When vegetation begins to interfere with recreation or covers more than 50% of the basin, a proactive management plan may need to be implemented. There are several management tools available for controlling and/or minimizing nuisance aquatic vegetation.

 

IMG_1094Proper identification of the aquatic plant impacting the use of your pond or lake is essential to determining the best control method. Aquatic vegetation includes all forms of algae, floating plants, emergent plants, and submerged vegetation. Once the plant has been identified, an integrated management plan can be created specific to your pond, goals, and expectations. At Aqua Sierra, Inc., we strive to provide a solution track based on science, by finding the source of the problem through site conditions and data analysis. We know that the “Band-Aid” approach that addresses long-term problems with short-term solutions will not work for our clients. For help with aquatic vegetation management in your pond or lake; contact Aqua Sierra today.

Mechanical Intervention

“Mechanical, physical or manual, removal of plants can be an effective way to remove aquatic vegetation from a pond or lake and reduces reliance on chemical efforts. This management technique often involves cutting or uprooting the nuisance weeds and collecting and removing them from the resource. Mechanical interventions also include dredging and removing the nutrient rich soils contributing to plants growth. Depending on the type and density of the infestation, removal can be completed using minimal equipment such as a rake and physical labor may require large machinery.

Pros:

  • Elimination of existing plant material
  • Reduced sludge
  • Removal of nutrients
  • Ecologically friendly
  • Targeted treatment area
  • Immediate results

Cons:

  • Can be labor intensive
  • Can be expensive
  • Disposal required
  • Rapid regrowth
  • Infestations of new areas due to fragmentation
  • Need to be coupled with additional tools or the benefits are short lived

Biological Interventions

Biological methods of aquatic vegetation management can be very effective while reducing reliance on chemicals and offering longer term treatment. These techniques employ naturally occurring organisms to control either the nuisance plants or the nutrients at the origin of the plant growth. The most commonly used biological control methods are White Amur (grass carp) and beneficial bacteria.

Pros:

  • Ecologically friendly
  • Removal of nutrients and conversion into animal biomass
  • Reduced sludge accumulation
  • Long term management (regrowth continuously controlled)
  • Gradual control reducing impacts to the fishery
  • Long term costs are typically low
  • Suppression rather than elimination mimicking natural environments

Cons:

  • Gradual control rather than instantaneous results
  • Initial cost can be high
  • Most successful with integrated pest management
  • Can be host specific
  • Potential adverse impacts to the ecosystem (if not properly implemented)

Chemical Interventions

Chemicals are often used to yield immediate results and are considered safe when properly applied by a licensed professional. Conventional herbicides and pesticides, when used in conjunction with non-conventional chemical methods such as aquatic shading products, may also reduce the treatment frequency. Chemical applications often require permits and “for hire” applications require special licensing from the designated State agency.

Pros:

  • Immediate results
  • Targets specific locations
  • May be able to target specific pest
  • Can be less costly upfront

Cons:

  • Adverse impacts to the ecosystem and environment
  • Regrowth expected
  • Non-target species can be harmed
  • Water restrictions may be necessary
  • Timing of application will vary results
  • Oxygen depletion
  • Increased sludge accumulation
  • Weather dependent
  • Safety concerns
  • Disposal of containers

Contact our licensed chemical applicator to see if this would be an effective tool for your aquatic resource.