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N.C. Lake Management Society

  • June 25, 2023 6:32 PM | Anonymous

    The wildlife refuges of eastern North Carolina are home to huge numbers of migrating waterfowl each winter, but the flocks of Tundra Swans—and the groups of birdwatchers, hunters, and tourists that follow them—could be far smaller in the coming decades. 

    That’s just one North Carolina-specific finding from a new Audubon report on climate impacts across the National Wildlife Refuge System. The report shows that unchecked rising temperatures threaten to degrade the habitat conditions that birds need to thrive in North Carolina’s wildlife refuges, from Mattamuskeet on the coast to Mountain Bog Wildlife Refuge in western North Carolina. 

    “Our national refuge system should do exactly what its name suggests: provide a safe haven for birds and other wildlife. But even these strongholds aren't immune to rising temperatures,” said Curtis Smalling, Director of Conservation at Audubon North Carolina. “As habitat and climate conditions change, so will the bird populations that depend on these places, and not all of them will be able to adapt or find new habitat elsewhere.” 

    The findings show that changes in our climate are accelerating habitat changes at rates that may not be sustainable, so birds that move out of one region may not be able to find the resources they need elsewhere. The result will be a refuge system that looks very different than it currently does, as emblematic species of some regions shift. 

    Report Highlights for North Carolina 

    American Black Duck.American Black Duck. Photo: Glenn Upton/Audubon Photography Awards

    Waterfowl: Watching an endless ribbon of Tundra Swans fly across the horizon is a quintessential experience of eastern North Carolina in winter. But the flocks might not be as large, or present at all, in the future. Tundra Swans and other iconic species like American Black Ducks are projected to see winter habitat and climate conditions decline substantially in many of North Carolina’s coastal refuges. In some places, conditions are expected to worsen to the point that these species would be extirpated. 

    Gone Completely: Several wintering species could be completely gone from eastern North Carolina’s refuges in the coming decades, including Bald Eagles, Gray Catbirds, Northern Flickers, and all three nuthatch species—Brown-headed, Red-breasted, and White-breasted. 

    Warbler Stronghold: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a global stronghold for breeding Prairie Warblers, a bright yellow songbird that nests in overgrown fields. But according to the report, the Prairie Warbler could be pushed out of the refuge by the 2050s because of changing habitat and climate conditions. Two of the biggest threats are heavier rain and spring heat waves, both of which endanger young birds in the nest, according to Audubon's Survival by Degrees report.

    Red-headed Woodpecker.Red-headed Woodpecker. Photo: Patrick Dennen/Audubon Photography Awards

    Woodpecker Extirpation: Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, located 60 miles east of Charlotte, is a global stronghold for the Red-headed Woodpecker, a species already severely threatened by climate change. According to the report’s projections, breeding Red-headed Woodpeckers could be pushed out of the refuge by the 2050s because of climate impacts. The Scarlet Tanager, a beautiful, crimson-red songbird of interior forests, is facing a similar future at Pee Dee. For both species, the specific climate threats they face include the urbanization of habitat, more wildfires, and spring heatwaves that threaten hatchlings. 

    New Colonization: But it’s not bad news for all bird species. Some species are expected to move northward and colonize new territories in North Carolina’s refuges, including Swallow-tailed Kites, Purple Gallinules, and Painted Buntings. 

    More on the Report 

    Across the country, the National Wildlife Refuge System spans 95 million acres on land and also covers 760 million submerged lands and waters. In North Carolina, there are 11 refuges, many of them protecting unique and important habitat in the northeastern part of the state.  

    Explore the findings for specific refuges, including all 11 in North Carolina, here. The briefs detail what specific climate threats are affecting each refuge, what species will be climate-vulnerable, and how precipitation and temperature may change in the next 30 years absent any preventive action.  

    The findings of the study have already affected how refuge biologists approach their work, prompting them to adopt a method known as Resist-Affect-Direct, or RAD. 

    “For years, the standard for refuge biologists has been to assume that the conditions in their region would stay the same, and they specialized their work to those climates. But now they have shifted to the adaptive Resist-Affect-Direct approach, anticipating how to weather some changes that may be inevitable, while trying to prevent the worst effects of climate change,” said Brooke Bateman, director of climate science at the National Audubon Society. 

    Audubon is working with decision-makers and land managers to ensure the National Wildlife Refuge System has adequate funding, and to expand the System to meet the needs of birds and people as they adapt to a changing climate. The FWS is also using the data to support expansion and acquisition for the refuge system. 

    Media Contact: Ben Graham, ben.graham@audubon.org

    About Audubon North Carolina

    Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society, has offices in Durham, Boone, Corolla, and Wilmington. Learn more at www.nc.audubon.org and on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.​ The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

  • June 25, 2023 6:26 PM | Anonymous

    The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Infrastructure is accepting comments until June 30, 2023, on several draft Intended Use Plans for the State Revolving Funds and proposed changes to the Priority Rating System for the Community Development Block Grant-Infrastructure Program and the Local Assistance for Stormwater Infrastructure Investments program. The Intended Use Plans address administration of water and wastewater infrastructure funding through the State Revolving Funds, including emerging contaminant funding made available through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

    The Division follows Intended Use Plans (IUPS) to apply for and administer the State Revolving Funds (SRF). The Division and the State Water Infrastructure Authority use Priority Rating Systems to score applications for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater projects in North Carolina.  The SRF program offers low-interest loans (with principal forgiveness) for water infrastructure, including water and wastewater treatment facilities, wastewater collection systems, water distribution systems, reclaimed water facilities, energy efficiency upgrades, stormwater control measures and stream restoration projects. 

    The IUPs include the Priority Rating Systems applicable to those funding programs. Changes include providing high priority to PFAS compounds included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation. The same prioritization has been added to the Priority Rating System for the Community Development Block Grant – Infrastructure Program.

    The Local Assistance for Stormwater Infrastructure Investments Program Priority Rating System is used to develop scores for evaluating stormwater applications. The proposed changes provide clearer wording for some line items.

    Six IUPs or priority rating systems are available for public comment:

    1. Draft IUP for the FY2023 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

    Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the draft Intended Use Plans and their associated Priority Rating Systems, the proposed Priority Rating System for the CDBG-I program, and/or the proposed Priority Rating System for the Local Assistance to Stormwater Infrastructure Investments program, by June 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. Comments can be submitted: 

    • by email to dwi.publiccomments@ncdenr.gov, with the subject line: Comments on Draft IUPs or Comments on Draft Priority Rating System for CDBG-I or Comments on Draft Priority Rating System for LASII
      • by mail: Cathy Akroyd, Division of Water Infrastructure, 1633 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1633

    Learn more about the Division of Water Infrastructure: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-infrastructure 

  • June 25, 2023 6:24 PM | Anonymous

    North Carolina continues to lead the way on addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.   Since releasing the DEQ Action Strategy for PFAS on June 7, 2022, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has taken significant action to address PFAS in the state with a focus on protecting communities, protecting drinking water and cleaning up existing contamination.  DEQ’s Action Strategy builds on the state’s ongoing PFAS work related to GenX contamination in the Cape Fear River basin that began in 2017 and expands that into a comprehensive statewide approach. 

    “Addressing PFAS is a priority for DEQ and we have made great strides to ensure North Carolinians are better informed and better protected,” said Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “PFAS is a statewide issue and we are taking a whole of department approach, guided by our Action Strategy, to restrict, research, and remediate these forever chemicals in our state."  

    Protecting Communities

    This month, DEQ is launching a pilot program under the Bernard Allen Emergency Drinking Water Fund to support North Carolina residents that have PFAS contamination in their private drinking water wells. Funding for treatment systems will be provided to eligible residents with PFAS contamination that equals or exceeds health advisory levels, on a scale based on household income.  The program is meant to address PFAS contamination when there is no designated responsible party that provides alternate drinking water.  The Bernard Allen program supports DEQ’s well sampling across the state and applications for the pilot treatment program will be provided to residents who meet the program criteria, as long as funding is available.

    DEQ continues to work with public water systems to assess PFAS levels across the state and prepare for final adoption of the EPA’s proposed drinking water regulation announced in March.

    • In 2022, DEQ performed three months of sampling at 50 municipal and county water systems identified in the 2019 PFAST Network study with PFOA/PFOS detections above the minimum reporting level of 4 parts per trillion indicated by the 2022 EPA interim health advisories.  Of those, 42 systems currently have PFOA or PFOS above the proposed Maximum Contaminant Levels. DEQ is actively working with the systems to determine options for treatment, reduction or alternate water sources. 

    • DEQ is currently sampling 655 small systems, including schools and daycares, to provide more complete data statewide. 

    • DEQ is utilizing federal funding for emerging contaminants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist public water systems with the required studies, assessments, and treatment projects to address PFAS contamination. 

    DEQ’s regulatory divisions are requiring PFAS information from new facilities and industries; adding permit conditions as appropriate to address PFAS air emissions or wastewater discharges to require disclosure of data and additional monitoring;  and requiring all solid waste sanitary landfills to include PFAS analyses of all regular groundwater, surface water, and leachate samples (March 13, 2023 letter). 

    Proposing Regulatory Standards

    In the Action Strategy, DEQ committed to proposing groundwater and surface water standards for PFAS.  EPA has released important scientific information required to develop state water quality standards, including human health risk studies, reference doses, and lifetime health advisories. Today, the North Carolina Secretaries' Science Advisory Board completed its review of the latest scientific information to protect a variety of surface water uses and recommended a method for developing bioaccumulation factors for two PFAS compounds. Using these data, DEQ is moving forward with rule-making concepts for groundwater and surface water standards to be presented to the committees of the Environmental Management Commission in upcoming meetings. 

    Additional actions

    DEQ continues to focus on remediation of known PFAS contamination sites and requiring responsible parties to clean up contamination.  

    DEQ is actively collaborating with the state’s scientific community.  DEQ and the NC Collaboratory established the Applied Science Fellowship to strengthen the partnership between state regulators and academic experts and advance the science on PFAS.  Two rounds of the fellowship program have been completed with new cohorts starting each semester.  Nationally recognized experts from Duke University, East Carolina University, NC State, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington are working with DEQ staff on emerging issues, building collective scientific understanding, and linking research with applied science. 

    North Carolina is also working with federal and state partners to address PFAS nationally and further develop strategies to address the life cycle of PFAS.  DEQ also works closely with the NC Department of Health and Human Services to ensure agency actions are protective of public health and the environment. 

    DEQ posts resources online to help North Carolina residents learn more about PFAS and the impact in North Carolina. These pages are updated regularly.

    Understanding PFAS 

    Emerging Compounds

    DEQ Action Strategy

  • October 30, 2020 1:40 PM | Johnny Foster

    An Annotated Atlas of the Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina

    Bryn Tracy, former NCLMS President, founding member, and now retired, and colleagues from NOAA and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, just published: “An Annotated Atlas of the Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina”. Their abstract from this 200 page peer-reviewed journal article reads:

    North Carolina’s first state-specific checklist of freshwater fish species was published in 1709 by John Lawson. Subsequent species lists with descriptions included: Brickell (1737), Cope (1870a), Jordan (1889a), Jordan and Evermann (1896-1900), Smith (1907), Jordan et al. (1930), Fowler (1945), Louder (1962), Ratledge et al. (1966), Menhinick et al. (1974). In 1991, Menhinick published “The Freshwater Fishes of North Carolina”, which is still widely in use because a comprehensive update has not been produced since its publication. The increase in the availability of historical records in globally accessible databases and the surge of collections post-1991 made by federal and state resource agencies, and academic and museum researchers, allowed for the creation of an update of North Carolina’s freshwater fish species in an annotated atlas. Herein we discuss the distribution of the 257 currently described and undescribed freshwater fish species within North Carolina. Annotations for each species include a distributional map with type locality noted where appropriate, remarks concerning questionable records and misidentifications, extirpations, introductions and interbasin transfers, and imperilment status.

    It may be downloaded for free at: https://trace.tennessee.edu/sfcproceedings/vol1/iss60/1. The authors encourage you to share this link co-workers and students who might be interested in North Carolina’s fishes. As a companion to this publication, please check-out their web site — NCFishes.com which covers all of the state’s freshwater and marine fish species, along with a blog that will feature identification keys to the freshwater species.


  • March 05, 2020 2:30 PM | Johnny Foster

    I’ve never seen a lake or pond that did not benefit enormously from aeration. In fact, aeration is the one expense that can make the most improvement in the appearance and productivity of a lake or pond. However, property owners are confused about which type of aeration is most suitable and cost-effective for their situation. This summary provides some basics to help you decide which system you prefer. More detailed information will be provided in additional articles about specific systems.

    Dissolved oxygen is critical for plant and animal respiration and problems develop when it is limited. Oxygen gets into lakes and ponds through diffusion of air at the water surface and from green plants, through photosynthesis. Diffusion at the water/air interface is greatly increased by moving water, ripples and splashing. Most oxygen supplied by plants comes from microscopic plankton, filamentous algae and submerged rooted plants growing in shallow water.

    Lakes and ponds are depleted of oxygen in several ways. No oxygen is produced in water too deep for light penetration. Aquatic plants, including plankton, consume oxygen for respiration at night. Fish and all other aquatic animals are constantly “breathing” oxygen. Multitudes of bacteria probably consume the most oxygen as they digest organic matter such as dead leaves and tree litter, aquatic animal waste, chemicals and even other bacteria.

    Another complicating factor is thermal stratification in lakes. Warm water is less dense than cold water and actually “floats” on top of cold water. Very little mixing occurs between layers and deep lake water is often very low in dissolved oxygen. Aquatic life is restricted to the upper few feet of water or it dies. Without oxygen at the bottom, toxic gases and excess nutrients are released that contribute to nuisance algae, odors and surface films. The entire lake is unattractive, unproductive and problems can be expensive to correct.

    Aeration Methods

    Many methods are being used to aerate lakes and ponds. A few of the most popular and most effective methods are described below. Most of our customers prefer: surface aerators, fountain aerators and compressed air supplied through diffusers. Aquaculture applications include: paddlewheel aerators, direct oxygen diffusers, surface aspirators and venturi air injectors. Other special applications include: pumped waterfalls, underwater circulators, air injected into deep “U” tubes, ozone injection, nano bubbles and many other developing technologies. 

    Surface aerators: These relatively efficient units use an electric motor suspended beneath a plastic float to push high volumes of lake water a short distance into the air where the water can absorb oxygen. Since the water is pushed only a foot or two into the air, the spray is not as attractive as a fountain. However, much greater volumes of water are circulated improving aeration. In addition to exposing large volumes of water to the air, surface aerators increase circulation (increasing oxygen diffusing from the air) and break down surface films. Ugly surface films caused by pollen, dust, algae, cyanobacteria, tree litter and insects are pushed to the shoreline by ripples and quickly sink. The splashing water muffles noise from traffic, neighbors or equipment. However, the spray pattern is not dramatic and “showy” and lights are not appropriate. These units are most often used in shallow lakes and ponds. Some units can be placed in water only 18 inches deep, but they are often used in lakes up to 8 feet deep. Some systems offer optional intake collars that pull deep water to the surface to reduce stratification. A basic one horsepower, double propeller unit that sprays roughly 1,000 gallons per minute 1 – 2 feet high will cost in the neighborhood of $1,800.00.

    Fountain aerators: These are “hybrid” devices that provide much of the attractiveness of high-pressure fountains while still circulating large volumes of water through the air where oxygen is absorbed. Recent design improvements provide many spray patterns with high volumes of water being pushed by energy efficient motors with up to 5-year warranties. Lights add significantly to the cost, but are incredibly attractive. Some LED light sets are programmable for many different light colors and patterns. Fountain aerators are used when dramatic attractiveness is desired in addition to surface aeration. Like surface aerators, the splashing water sound, surface film reduction and optional deep-water intake collars add to their popularity. The general cost of a one-horsepower unit with crown & geyser spray pattern (9 feet high and 24 feet diameter pumping about 500 gallons per minute) without lights is somewhere around $4,500.00. Adding lights would cost at least $1,700.00 or more. A power control panel containing all GFCI breakers, timers and controllers is included. Solar units are becoming available for certain situations.   

    Compressed air diffusers:These systems are incredible. They can provide up to 3 to 5 times more dissolved oxygen than other methods. A one horsepower motor can circulate 8,000 gallons of water per minute. A properly designed system can eliminate thermal stratification, reduce “muck” accumulation on the bottom, improve water clarity, improve fish production and reduce surface film. Recent developments of probiotic bacteria/enzyme products actually provide “biological dredging”. Under the right conditions a one horsepower unit can aerate and destratify a 10-acre lake! The important factor is lake depth. Special “synergistic airlift diffusers” create rising columns of bubbles that expand as they rise through the water column. Each bubble gets larger and the column of bubbles spreads out pulling vast quantities of “dead” deep water up with them. Oxygen diffuses from the bubbles into the water and more air enters as the surface water is circulated. The surface boil of bubbles (only evidence of aeration in operation) may spread out as much as 100 feet. An on-shore compressor (in a fan-cooled cabinet) provides air to the diffusers via special plastic tubing. Although more efficient in deep water, smaller multiple diffuser units can be used in shallow water. Most systems installed cost $1,200.00 – 5,500.00.

    Until recently, electricity must be provided for each of these aeration systems. Usually, a meter base or junction box needs to be provided near the shore of the lake or pond. Often motors up to one horsepower can use 120-volt supply. Larger units must have (and smaller units can use) 240-volt power supply. The cable must be sized according to the amperage of the motor and length of the cable. Ground fault protection must be provided because of the proximity of water. Solar powered units avoid the need for an electricity supply.

    These cost estimates are very rough. Desired options, motor size, cable length, choice of lights and the shape and depth of your lake or pond will determine your cost. Here is what interested people should do:

     1.     Prioritize your objectives. Rank the following in importance to you: a.) aeration efficiency, b.) dramatic (showy) appearance, c.) initial cost, d.) destratification, e.) algae control, f.) water quality improvement, g.) muffling extraneous sounds, h.) lights, i.) operating cost, j.) odor reduction, k.) natural (discrete) appearance and l.) muck reduction.

    2.     Determine your power supply needs. Unless you choose the solar option, electricity needs to be supplied as close to the shoreline as possible. Do you have (or can you get) 120-volt supply or 240-volt supply or both? 

    3.     If you choose a fountain aerator, do you want lights? How many? What color?

    4.     How much electrical cable will you need? What is the distance from your existing, or anticipated, power supply to the location of the aeration unit motor?

    5.     With some depth information you provide, Google Earth can be used to design your system and provide you with cost estimates. 

    Although somewhat complex, choosing an aeration system is by far the best thing you can do for your lake or pond. After installation water conditions will continue to improve each year. Your lake will be much more attractive, more fish will grow faster and the life of the lake will be extended. You can easily pay for the aeration system with lowered maintenance costs year after year. 

    Foster Lake & Pond Management provides the full range of lake, pond and stormwater management services and products. These include: construction, repairs, maintenance, certified inspections, fish stocking, fisheries management, lake mapping, vegetation management, docks, fountains and aeration.

    We have provided aquatic and stormwater solutions to our North Carolina customers for over 38 years. Call us at: 919-772-8548 or visit: www.FosterLake.com.


  • March 05, 2020 11:40 AM | Johnny Foster

    Until recently, this surface film was considered a form of “blue-green algae”. We now know that there is no such thing as “blue-green algae”. Blue-green algae are now classified as bacteria and are correctly called cyanobacteria. As bacteria, they are mobile and can rise and sink through the water column. They have chlorophyll and can produce food for themselves through photosynthesis. Possible colors range from yellow to red to violet to green to deep blue, blue-green, gray and black.

    Probably the oldest living forms of life, cyanobacteria are not very well understood. They exist everywhere. Nevertheless, nuisance blooms are increasingly troublesome throughout the Southeast. Cyanobacteria blooms are nuisances because they can be ugly, smell bad and can produce toxins. Sometimes the toxins have been associated with deaths of fish living in infested water or livestock and pets drinking the water. The toxins are increasingly linked to some chronic diseases. The blooms are usually not very stable and often crash in a relatively short period of time.

    Unlike desirable plankton, cyanobacteria do not contribute significant amounts of dissolved oxygen. Cyanobacteria reproduce relatively slowly, usually about 1 time per day. Dead decomposing cells consume available dissolved oxygen. They are also not good oxygen producers like green plankton algae. The slow recovery of low oxygen levels contributes to occasional fish kills. Excessive blooms are not likely in lake and ponds that are routinely managed. We usually see short-lived thin surface films that are simply unattractive.

    Because of potential toxicities, cyanobacteria are very important to aquatic resource managers. Currently being diligently researched are the physical/chemical and biological factors that encourage blooms and may potentially provide control. The factors include:

    Physical factors:

               Agitation – 

    Flushing, mixing and turbulence all may reduce cyanobacteria growth and reproduction. If water flushes through the lake faster than the nuisance can bloom, problems are reduced. If mixing can overcome the ability of the cyanobacteria to maintain its position in relation to light and available nutrients, growth is reduced. Shear turbulence can disrupt colonies and break up filaments. Aeration with fountains, and even diffused bubbles, can significantly reduce surface film formation.

                Shading – With limited light available, photosynthesis is inhibited. The concentration of the bloom and the composition of the species present are affected by the amount of light available and the depth of light penetration through the water. Shading can be effective for reducing numbers. However, the organisms ability to rise to the water surface may reduce the effectiveness of shading. 

                Temperature – Warm water temperatures, above 80oF., are associated with cyanobacteria blooms. Warm water is less dense than cooler water. Therefore, the warm water actually “floats” on top of denser cooler waters down deep causing stratification allowing surface water to warm dramatically. Through contact with the air at the surface of the water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide can be used by cyanobacteria as nutrient sources.

    Chemical factors:

                Excess nutrients - High levels of nitrogen and particularly phosphorus are associated with cyanobacteria blooms. If the nutrients are reduced for months and years, blooms have been shown to diminish. Reducing nutrient inputs is one of the most effective control techniques. 

               pH – Low pH (acidic water) tends to inhibit growth of cyanobacteria. When the pH is above 8.0 problems increase. Regular additions of lime can buffer the pH and reduce high pH conditions.

                Salinity (or salt content) – Although cyanobacteria occur in salt water, research shows some species causing problems in fresh water may be controlled by 1 – 5 parts per thousand of salt. Therefore, each acre-foot of water would require 270 – 1,350 pounds of salt. Adding salt may only be practical in small ponds without much flow through. 

               Iron – Apparently, cyanobacteria are capable of out-competing some algae for limited levels of iron. When high nitrogen and phosphorus levels exist in the lake, adding iron may encourage the growth of desirable green algae. Research is continuing but adding iron is not a widespread control technique.  

    Aquatic algaecides - Algaecides are chemicals that kill algae. Several formulations are available. Peroxide based algaecides may provide somewhat selective cyanobacteria control. Selection of the appropriate product, method of application, licensing requirements, existing weather and water conditions as well as many other factors complicate algaecide use. 

    Biological:  

              Fish – Tilapia are fish that eat algae and will grow while eating cyanobacteria. However, the fish are tropical and will die when water temperatures drop below about 50oF. Therefore, in North Carolina they have to be stocked each spring. We have found that if we stock 50 – 100 fish per acre in the Spring, they can effectively control nuisance growth of some algae and appear to have reduced cyanobacteria issues in some ponds we manage. Recently the North Carolina Division of Inland Fisheries has restricted stocking tilapia in this state since they are not a native species. They are worried the fish will adapt to living in cooler water and may survive a warm winter. Sterile triploid grass carp eat may types of aquatic vegetation including some species of algae, but cannot filter out most types of cyanobacteria. Sterile grass carp are allowed in North Carolina but stocking may require a permit.  

                Beneficial bacteria concentrates: Beneficial bacteria/enzyme concentrates may compete with cyanobacteria for available nutrients. Probiotic and catalyst products are becoming popular for improving water quality in smaller ponds and stormwater devices. Although enormous numbers of bacteria occur naturally in lakes and ponds, these intentionally high concentrations of specific bacteria are showing beneficial results. An important factor is bottom "muck" organic sludge may be digested reducing nutrient cycling. "Bubbler" aeration and circulation appears to significantly improve effectiveness.   

                Barley straw: This has been used for “clarifying” ponds in Europe for generations and its use spread to the 

    United States. It isn't widely used but there is evidence that as the straw decomposes in water substances are released that inhibit some algae growth.   

    All of these factors and tools are considered cyanobacteria control activities. The most apparent surface film types of cyanobacteria usually represent a very small volume of material in lakes/ponds. If you could strain it out, it would only be a “handful”. It is simply very noticeable. Noxious blooms of very high volumes of cyanobacteria make the news and certainly cause important problems. However, smaller populations of these persistent species are often present without causing significant problems. We believe many times routinely treating cyanobacteria with chemicals simply makes it persist longer. Often we find that if the property owner is willing to live with it for a week or two, it will go away.   

    Foster Lake & Pond Management provides the full range of lake, pond and stormwater management services and products. These include: construction, repairs, maintenance, certified inspections, fish stocking, fisheries management, lake mapping, vegetation management, docks, fountains and aeration.

    We have provided aquatic and stormwater solutions to our North Carolina customers for over 38 years. Call us at: 919-772-8548 or visit: www.FosterLake.com.

  • March 05, 2020 11:24 AM | Johnny Foster

    Gone are the days when property owners expect a lake, pond or stormwater device to have absolutely no plants. Aquatic plants can be very beneficial environmentally. They remove excess nutrients from the water, provide habitat for all kinds of aquatic organisms and can actually look very attractive. For the purpose of this article I will limit my comments to emergent aquatic plants that are attractive and native to North Carolina. Submersed plants and floating plants are often more difficult for the property owner to manage and may not be attractive.

    There are many shrubs, trees and ground covers that are suitable for planting in very wet shoreline situations. They also provide all the benefits. However, this list includes plants that are easy to obtain from nurseries, have a reasonable chance of surviving when planted and are relatively diverse. You should expect to have reasonable success planting these plants.  

    1.      Blue Flag Iris: These are very attractive plants that are resistant to being eaten by muskrats, waterfowl and other animals. They form dense clumps of rhizomes (enlarged underground roots) that can be separated and spread out over time. They grow to about 3 feet high and rarely grow in water deeper than about a foot. Therefore, they rarely interfere with recreation, but provide effective shoreline erosion protection. 

    2.      Pickerel Weed: This plant is also attractive, hardy and grows rhizomes that can be split and propagated. They grow three to four feet tall and can grow in water up to about 2 feet deep. The large spikes of clusters of violet-blue flowers are very ornamental. They also attract bees and butterflies.

    3.      Duck Potato: This versatile rapidly reproducing plant can grow in water 6 – 12 inches deep. It’s rhizomes, seeds and foliage can be good wildlife food. When established the dense clumps of plants reduce shoreline erosion, provide cover for aquatic animals and remove large quantities of nutrients from the water and shoreline soil. The plants can grow to 4 feet tall.

    4.      Lizard Tail: Grows in small colonies through underground runners. The white flowers look like drooping bottle brushes 4 - 6 inches long. The plants typically grow 1 to 3 feet tall and do well in partial shade. Maximum water depth for growth is about 18 inches.

    5.      Water Willow: Will grow up to 3 feet tall in water up to about 4 feet deep. The plants don’t grow as dense as most of the others, but provide excellent fish habitat. The leaves look much like weeping willow leaves. The small but attractive white or pale lavender flowers bloom from May through October. Although it is very effective for protecting shorelines the plants may grow out further from shore than many property owners prefer.

    6.      Native sedges and rushes: There are many grass-like aquatic sedges and rushes native to North Carolina. Some examples are bulrushes, soft rushes and White-top sedge. Sedges grow in shallow water and usually have triangular stems. Rushes often grow in clumps and usually have cylindrical stems. Their shallow spreading surface roots hold shoreline soil and reduce erosion. White-top sedge is a showy 2 foot tall spreading sedge bearing attractive white flowers throughout the summer.

    These plants can be expected to spread, but are not aggressive. You can dig up plants, separate tubers and spread them where you want them. If they are expanding past where you want them, they can be controlled by hand pulling or using approved aquatic herbicides on the plants that are not where you want them. You will find that they only need controlling once per year or less. You will also probably find that these plants will reduce problems with more invasive and aggressive aquatic plants. Your shoreline will look more natural and attractive, too.

    Foster Lake & Pond Management provides the full range of lake, pond and stormwater management services and products. These include: construction, repairs, maintenance, certified inspections, fish stocking, fisheries management, lake mapping, vegetation management, docks, fountains and aeration.

    We have provided aquatic and stormwater solutions to our North Carolina customers for over 38 years. Call us at: 919-772-8548 or visit: www.FosterLake.com.

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