We are committed to offering environmentally friendly methods and materials that use less harsh chemicals in your lake or pond. The Lake Doctors, Inc. has always been very environmentally conscious and careful in the care of the ponds and lakes that have been trusted to our care. As we move forward, we are actively developing alternative methods of taking care of waterways that utilize fewer chemicals. All of the herbicides and algaecides we use are EPA-approved for lakes and ponds, and we carefully apply them according to their labels for the safety of fish, wildlife, and the surrounding habitat. Our staff at Lake Doctors would be pleased to present you with greener, more environmentally friendly options and alternatives. Listed below are a few options for your consideration:
As an alternative to copper compounds for algae control that can sometimes be a little harsh, we offer treatments with a blend of safe, natural, harmless, and beneficial bacteria that help breakdown pond sludge and reduce excess nutrients from the water. Reduction of these compounds will help clear the water, reduce odors, and digest unwanted organic compounds. Although these bacterial blends do not directly control algae, they help condition the water, making it cleaner and healthier, and thus less likely to support excessive growth of undesirable algae or “pond scum,” as it is sometime known.
Another alternative that works quite well is the use of naturally occurring enzymes that are specifically tailored to treat the pond water to reduce harmful nutrients that are the base cause for excessive algae blooms. Another effective and safe alternative is the use of food-grade blue color in the pond, often known as Blue Pond Dye. The effect of the blue coloring agent in the pond is to reduce the amount of sunlight penetrating through the water column. By limiting sunshine, you limit photosynthesis, which can have a beneficial effect of slowing down the growth of underwater aquatic plants and algae. A nice side benefit is that the blue color often improves the aesthetic appearance of the body of water, particularly if the pond or lake has poor water color or clarity.
Many times, lakes and ponds develop severe algae, poor water color, bad odors, poor appearance, and a hostile environment for fish and wildlife due to poor water quality. Poor water quality can be dramatically improved by the use of aeration, which is loosely defined as the mixing of air and water. This relatively simple process adds oxygen to the water and eliminates stagnation or poor water movement. Generally, aeration can be of two major types: surface aerators and aerating fountains, which are floating units that draw water in and pump or thrust it into the air – often in an attractive pattern – which adds life-giving oxygen and creates circulation. This method is often used in ponds that are shallow to medium in depth.
The other main method of aeration, called bottom-diffuser systems, utilizes a shore-mounted air compressor, often in a cabinet, and air hoses out to air diffusers typically located in the deeper portions of the lake or pond. This “boil” of millions of tiny air bubbles imparts much-needed oxygen to the oxygen-starved bottom water and then drags it to the surface with the air bubbles. This creates a large, slow-moving circulation of low oxygen bottom water to the surface and brings high oxygen water to the bottom. The effect is dramatic. Over time, bottom sludge and muck is oxidized, the water becomes clearer. Oxygen levels rise throughout the lake or pond. Smells disappear, the fish and aquatic life prosper, and the amount of algae becomes dramatically lessened. The Lake Doctors, Inc. also offers wind-powered aeration systems using either a traditional tower 12’ to 20’ high or a more modern pole-mounted system. The systems can operate in as little as 3-5 mph winds, aerating ponds up to 2-3 acres while operating 100% electricity-free.
An essential part of many well-balanced and environmentally friendly water management programs is fish stocking. We stock a large variety of fish, many of which will eat and control aquatic weeds and algae. For example, the triploid grass carp or white amur, has been used successfully for aquatic weed control for many years. These sterile fish are stocked as 9-12” long and grow rapidly as they eat aquatic weeds. They can reach 30-40” in length and weigh up to 30 pounds or more. However, as they mature, they slow down their eating habits and must be periodically restocked in order to remain at an effective level. Another fish known to voraciously consume algae is tilapia. These can be sometimes be used with great effectiveness in certain areas. Even the lowly catfish can be stocked to help consume bottom organic material and some bottom weeds. Shiners, often stocked as baitfish, are known to consume some weeds and algae as they are herbivores. Of course, a balanced fish population is an essential part of a healthy lake or pond, and The Lake Doctors, Inc. will recommend a balanced stocking program utilizing bass, bluegill, and catfish, as well as other species. One fish that is very good at mosquito control is the gambusia, or mosquitofish. These fish, looking much like guppies, are effective eaters of mosquito larvae and reproduce rapidly. Should additional help be needed in controlling mosquitoes, there are naturally occurring biological larvicides available that kill the larvae without the use of any harmful chemicals. They contain a type of bacteria that is specific and toxic to mosquito larvae but completely safe for fish, birds, humans, pets, and any other aquatic life.
Beneficial aquatic plants are often used to enhance a lake or pond in a variety of ways. Planted around the perimeter, they can add aesthetic appeal while simultaneously offering many positive effects, such as absorbing excessive nutrients, stabilizing the banks, providing habitat for fish and wildlife, and providing a food source for wildlife. Examples include pickerelweed, arrowhead, canna, and blue flag iris, among others. The Lake Doctors, Inc. will design a planting program specifically for your lake or pond. We are now proud to offer a new product called floating islands, which are floating mats of various sizes with cutouts for installing various aquatic plants. They are anchored in position, and the plants derive all their nutrients from the lake or pond water. They provide aesthetic appeal as well as nutrient absorption. In some instances, the physical removal of certain aquatic species can be recommended. This is, of course, very environmentally friendly as no chemicals are being used, and the effects are immediate. We will provide a quote upon request in certain instances.
For those in the “goose belt,” we know your next question: “What can you do about my goose problem?” Goose control is a problem, but there are alternatives that do not involve the use of harsh pesticides or chemicals. Several manufacturers offer a product derived from the bitter smelly part of the Concord grape. As the world’s first biodegradable food-grade repellent for geese, it is mixed with water and applied with a spray system to the grass and turf where the geese feed and rest. Other products are available that scare the geese, such as floating gator heads with glowing eyes, solar-charged floating flashing lights that bother them at night so they leave the area, and even an audio repellent that uses the alert and alarm call of Canada Geese. Contact us today for a goose survey and proposal.
It is the mission of The Lake Doctors, Inc. to continually offer more and more “Greener Solutions” in response to the general public, increasing regulatory pressures and the desire by many for more organic, nonchemical alternatives. These methods are not always as fast or as efficient and may cost more, but the future of our business is based on the environmentally friendly management of lakes and ponds.
Contact our staff to learn more about our water management programs. We serve clients in Florida, Ohio, and South Carolina.