6 Ways to Keep Your Florida Lake Healthy and Beautiful.

A clean and healthy lake beckons the water enthusiast to it. When the water is pristine and the weather perfect, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and other water activities are enticing. Here are five ways to keep your lake healthy, and your residents happy.

#1 Manage the Shoreline Shoreline plants

Many homes and communities want thick green grass all the way to the water line. While this may look aesthetically pleasing, it is not healthy for the lake. A buffer zone of natural, native plants that encircles the lake near the water line works as a natural barrier. It prevents grass clippings, leaves and other natural organic debris from entering the lake while filtering out harmful runoff pollutants.  Native plants provide:

  • Habitat and nourishment for the variety of wildlife that call it home
  • Prevents erosion by stabilizing the soil around the lake

#2 Reduce Landscape Chemical Use

Have you ever noticed a lawn that was so well-maintained that you wondered how it’s kept fabulous all the time? Maintaining a gorgeous lawn can pollute a lake with grass clippings, leaves, fertilizer and pesticides. Ask landscape and lawn vendors to:

  • Use a bag on all mowers while cutting grass
  • Reduce fertilizer and pesticides applications and rates
  • Use a lake friendly product to power washing sidewalks, pool decks, driveways.

#3 Aerate and Circulate Lakes for Increased Oxygen

Many lake and pond problems stem from poor water quality caused by a lack of oxygen and thermal stratification Aeration can often prevent and correct most lake and pond issues including recurring algae problems, stinking bottom muck, murky water, fish kills, swarming midge flies and more. Pumping compressed air through diffusers creates a rising column of bubbles. This action adds oxygen and circulation to improve water quality for a healthier and more beautiful lake.  It’s a cost effective, longer term solution than chemical treatments alone.

#4 Pick Up the Poop

Dogs, ducks, iguanas, birds and other wildlife are all living beings and as such, produce waste. Animal waste contains a lot of phosphorus, the main cause of nutrient pollution in Florida lakes and ponds. High phosphorus causes excessive algae growth and other problems.

Remind residents regularly to pick up dog poop and dispose of it properly. If possible, provide pet stations with plastic bags to pick up animal waste and a can to dispose of it in.  An abundance of ducks or other water fowl, iguanas and/or birds contribute to this waste. For exotic wildlife, call wildlife authorities to capture and remove troublesome pests.

#5 Redirect Reclaimed Water

Reclaimed water is treated waste water discharged from sewage treatment plants and pumped to nearby public and private lakes and waterways where it is often used for landscape irrigation or water level maintenance during Florida’s dry season.

Unfortunately, high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are often associated with reclaimed water and overtime the continuous inflow of reclaimed water into a community’s ponds and lakes causes serious nutrient pollution and hyper- eutrophication to occur.  This pollution usually results in recurring intense algae blooms, low dissolved oxygen levels, increased turbidity , muck accumulation, accelerated lake aging, foul odors and fish kills.

Whenever possible avoid receiving reclaimed water into your lakes or limit its use as much as possible.  Thankfully, there are proven technical solutions to nutrient pollution caused by receiving reclaimed waste water so check with your lake management company for help.

#6 Monitor Water Quality

Begin a lake monitoring program to proactively identify changes to water quality over time allowing adjustments to your lake management plan to counter any developing issues well before they become a serious problem. Regular lake monitoring can provide valuable insight, understanding and solutions to a wide range of potential lake problems ensuring your lakes remain healthy and beautiful for years to come.