Lakes are considered a luxury due to the fact that there are only so many lakes available. Lakefront property is in short supply, and over the last century, the development of these properties has skyrocketed. Many of the things that had made our lakes so desirable has been lost due to overdevelopment and poor watershed management.
Poor watershed management
So, what is happening in our lakes? Watershed issues and hard surfaces have changed how nutrients enter the lakes. Properties that had trees and shrubs lining the lakefront have given way to grass lawns and fresh views. This practice has changed the way run-off from our property is processed. The new backyard is designed for one thing – “aesthetics” and doesn’t consider what it can do to the water quality. Grass needs to be fertilized, irrigated and mowed on a continual basis. The effects of the phosphorous from the fertilizer can be devastating to a lake, overloading nutrient and causing high growth rates of lake weeds.
The importance of a Buffer Zone
Lake: (Def) Noun: A large body of fresh water surrounded by land. Lake weeds are a major problem for millions of water sources and ponds. The development of these lakefront properties has removed what is called the Buffer zone. The Buffer zone is an area around a lake that has a dense population of deeply rooted plants, trees, and grasses. Without a buffer of trees, plants, and shrubs that absorb much of the nutrients that come from our property, a high percentage of nutrients end up directly in the lake. This promotes aquatic plant growth and a shift in water quality.
How did weeds get in my lake?
Over the years we have seen several non-native aquatic weeds sprout up in our lakes, most are from aquariums that are emptied into a storm drain, or from people that have actually planted these weeds off their property to improve the appeal of the waterfront. The fact is we live in a pretty global world, so when we do something in say Athens, NY such as planting a particular lily from Asia in our little pond, we have introduced the entire east coast and maybe the continent to a new “non-native” species of plant. “HOW, it’s just my little pond in upstate NY?” All water sources are open to waterfowl and stormwater runoff, which are just a couple ways these non-native plants spread. Boating can be another high-risk area where these weeds are distributed over long distances. A great book on the subject is “Diet for a Small Lake” prepared by the NYSFOLA.
How do lake weeds harm my lakefront?
Every lake needs a balance of plant life to offset the nutrients that are available. The plant life has many forms of Emerging plants that are normally in the shallower depths and provide cover for waterfowl and fish, floating weeds like lilies and duckweed, and submerged weeds that can grow in high depths. When the balance of plant life to nutrients is altered you can have huge changes in the health of your lake such as:
- Oxygen depletion – causing fish to die
- Toxic algae blooms have been known to kill animals and a few people
- Water usage problems, flow restrictions, and stagnant water
How to control lake weeds?
To control aquatic plants you need to work from the idea that they are needed in some form. Killing all lake weeds to create some kind of swimming pool atmosphere doesn’t work.
What do most people want? An area for them to do what they want when they want to do it. Thanks to the Lake Bottom Blanket, each homeowner has the opportunity to control the aquatic weeds where they want. LBBs can be used to clear an area for swimming, fishing or to clear a path to deeper water. It can be installed at any point during the growing season, and you have an instant weed-free area.