- Think of the landscape around your home. Your lawn requires mowing and fertilizers or weed killers at certain times. Your trees
and shrubs need trimming. The results are obvious when you ignore the landscape,or manage it poorly. The same is true with
natural bodies of water. Mismanaged or ignored ponds and lake front result in unbalanced fish populations,excessive weed
growth and sediment accumulation. Homeowners have huge impacts on the water quality,habitat value and productivity of lakes
and ponds. Through certain actions they sometimes unknowingly promote the decline of the resource they enjoy the most. The
effects of such things as clearing shoreline vegetation, creating beaches,placing septic tanks too close to the lake, fertilizer and
pesticide runoff from lawns,and inflow of storm water have caused many urban and populated lakes to show signs of
degradation. Yet many homeowners do little,if nothing to maintain their waterway until the problems are too great to be ignored.
- Services are available for aquatic restoration,Choosing the correct one is easy when you understand a little about what each
application does,There are mechanical applications, biological applications, chemical applications and passive applications.
- Mechanical applications refers to the industrial sized dredge machines used to dredge sediment off the bottoms of large rivers
and lakes,or the monstrous weed harvesters that cut the aquatic vegetation like a lawn mower. These machines are not available
for personal home use,and are costly to transport and run. They are also too large for shallow water along shoreline and docks.
Furthermore,once the weed harvester cuts the vegetation,the debris is left within the water to pile-up on the shoreline,tangle in
boat propellers,irritate swimmers,and decay. Decay is the largest enemy to a body of water because it creates organic beds of silt
for all other aquatic vegetation to reseed in. It also releases phosphates and nitrates into the water which speed the growth of
other aquatic vegetation such as algae bloom,and it kills fish. Also when the weed is cut it is shaken and chopped,leaving it to
replant or reseed itself in a short matter of time,further aggravating the original problem.
- Grass Carp and sometimes Weevils,are referred to as biological applications. They can work,however grass carp will seldom
control aquatic vegetation the first year they are stocked. They will readily consume a plant like hydrilla as it is one of their most
preferred plants,but stocking rates to control a weed like hydrilla are usually in the range of 7 to 15 fish per surface acre. If you
spend $70 for one grass carp, how are you going to feel about buying 14 more? And there are many plants these fish will not eat,
such as white water lily,or will prefer a different plant over the one you want them to eradicate.
- Chemical applications can be as effective as using weed killer on a dandelion, or as disastrous. Ever use too much weed and
feed on you lawn and you l know what I mean. It is also highly dangerous to your self. Chemical applications should only be
administered to a body of water by a professional. The concerns of chemical applications are many, for example one danger with
any chemical control method is the chance of an oxygen depletion after the treatment caused by the decomposition of the dead
plant material. Another problem in using aquatic chemicals is determining area and/or volume of the pond or area to be treated.
And remember, anytime you kill a plant in your water and do not remove it completely, it will decay and cause organic sediment.
- Another type of chemical application is the use of non-toxic dyes or colorants, not to beautify the water but to block sunlight and
prevent it from reaching the bottom. This deters ground growing vegetation to grow. However,dyes do nothing to enhance the
natural food chain and may suppress the natural food chain of the waterway.
- Passive applications are the final type of control method one can use to fight aquatic weed growth. These are the approaches
homeowners take on a weekly basis,such as raking at the weeds underwater. Some people use large rubber mats to lie on the
floor of their waterway. These mats block sunlight to the ground much like the dyes,but they need to be cleaned of sediment
accumulation regularly or the weeds will grow on top of the mat. These techniques are helpful and should be considered for
maintenance,however they are time consuming and labor intensive and may contain petroleum.
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