Man-made ponds require regular maintenance to prevent such nuisances from occurring as algae outbreaks, fish die-offs, and most importantly the lake turning into a muddy marsh.
No matter if the pond is managed by a golf course, HOA or a private party, the result of a poorly maintained pond is always the same.
Smelly, unsightly water and weeds so thick you’d think you were looking at a patch of jungle.
Most people who have been tasked with the care and maintenance of a pond will throw in a few gallons of chemicals every few months, and that’s that. While herbicides and other chemicals do work to a point, there will come a time when not even the strongest application can stop an algae outbreak.
At this point, dredging is your only option. It will help remove any excess organic sediment from the bottom of the pond that’s feeding the algae outbreak. We’re going to look at four signs that usually indicate that it’s time to call in the dredging professionals to get everything under control.
Algae outbreaks can choke a pond to death in a matter of a few weeks. In some cases, they can be extremely toxic to both humans and animals. Every single year there are countless news stories about local ponds being closed by city officials during the summer time. Blue-green algae are highly toxic, and just a little bit can seriously sicken or kill a human or pet.
Dredging gets rid of the organic layer of sediment at the bottom of the pond. If left untouched, the pile of sediment will only continue to grow as beneficial bacteria that feed on the organic matter cannot thrive at the bottom part of the pond where oxygen and light are scarce.
Reduction in Water Life
Have you noticed a big fish die-off recently? Are the carcasses of water birds regularly found around your pond?
All of these signs point to something wrong with the quality of the water. Fish die-offs can occur when an algae outbreak is so severe that it sucks all of the available oxygen out of the water. Fish and other aquatic life will then suffocate.
While fish die-offs can happen at any time of the year, they occur most often in the summer time. When they do, sometimes water birds are killed as well. If a toxic blue-green algae outbreak were to happen, it could destroy both fish and fowl when the birds ingest the fish who have consumed the poisonous algae.
A decrease in Pond Size
As ponds go through their life-cycle, they tend to attract a lot of sediment. As time goes by, the sediment will continue to grow and eventually fill the body of water. This results in a decrease in both width and depth of the pond.
Sediment comes in the form of organic matter. Fish and animal waste, dead leaves, and even rotting carcasses are all-natural sources of food for algae.
As they enter the water, they begin their descent to the bottom of the pond. With little oxygen and almost no light, the entire area becomes a dead zone where nothing can thrive, except for the organic matter which is leeching high amounts of nutrients into the water.
Increase in Vegetation
If left to their own devices, ponds will naturally attract vegetation that will be most prominent along the edges and shore. This vegetation is being fed in significant part by the massive ball of organic muck that resides at the bottom of the pond.
Vegetation increases are easy to spot, but not so easy to get rid of. Herbicides often don’t work for bigger weeds such as cattails, and the only other immediate option is to hire a crew of manual laborers to put on rubber galoshes and manually start pulling weeds. Both of these “solutions” are very expensive and do nothing to fix the underlying problem.
Throwing herbicides and other potentially dangerous chemicals into a pond hardly constitutes a good maintenance plan. Eventually, the forces of nature will conspire to reclaim the wetland and turn it into a swampy, smelly, unsightly marsh. Having your pond(s) dredged at least once a year will ensure that they stay looking as pristine as the day they were filled with water.
If you are in charge of pond maintenance for your HOA, golf course, or private residence and would like to learn more about the dredging services that American Underwater Services offers, give us a call at (866) 594-1272 or contact us via our website.