Contributed by Matt Verdirame, Chair of the Lake and Dam Commitee, and John Tucci, President of Lake Savers
This note will provide a recap of our activities and observations on Lake Heritage last week as well as a review of the plan for the next 30 days.
Lake Savers was on the lake last Wednesday through Friday applying Biological Treatment and taking samples. As we all know, this Spring has been very different from last year in terms of water clarity and water quality. Last season the lake filled with lots of snow melt and water clarity was very good in the early Spring and water quality was decent in terms of nutrients.
This year the lake has filled mostly with Spring runoff that carried a lot of sediment and nutrients with it to the lake. As a result, water clarity has been a lot lower and phosphorus is very high based on our Spring sampling. As a consequence, the blue-green algae is getting an even earlier start this year.
Fortunately, we have a very powerful new tool that we deployed for the first time last week. Lake Savers has developed a process for growing and concentrating beneficial bacteria and enzyme treatment on-site that enables us to increase the power and effectiveness of this type of treatment way beyond conventional Biological Treatment approaches.
This approach is the result of extensive research and development over the Winter by Lake Savers. The product is very safe both for people and pets and for the lake. All of the bacteria strains used are non-pathogenic, aerobic, and native to the environment. None have been genetically modified and these types of bacteria can be found naturally in healthy lakes and even in soils in gardens and lawns.
MSDS, product label and letter of certification has been provided to Lake Heritage.
The approach is based on using Biology to fight Biology. Blue-Green Algae are very dominant organisms when the right nutrient and micronutrient conditions exist in the lake. The Beneficial Bacteria and Enzyme Formulations have the ability to clean the water of the nutrients and micronutrients that feed harmful algae blooms.
The problem with these products is that it has always been prohibitively expensive to get enough product into a lake the size of Lake Heritage to make a real difference. In a sense, it is has been like bringing a pea-shooter to a gun fight.
With our new process and approach, we can now fight on an even footing with the blue-green algae in the lake.
In 2 days, we applied more than 6800 gallons of our Beneficial Bacteria and Enzyme products to Lake Heritage. This is many, many times the amount of product that would typically be affordable to apply in a season, let alone one application.
Signs from the first treatment are promising. When Lake Savers arrived at the lake, it was clear that the blue-green bloom was emerging. Some of the coves had small slicks in them already and the main part of the lake was beginning to turn green.
By the time they left on Friday, the coves were clear with the exception of the very upper end of Pleasanton Cove (more on that later) and the main part of the lake showed a significant change in water color and clarity.
Our first treatment was mostly applied to the deepest parts of the lake to try and “break the back” of the emerging bloom.
Despite these positive signs, we are not taking anything for granted. We have been fooled before by this Lake and by the blue-green algae. One treatment does not tell us if this approach will work for sure or not.
Our plan is to treat the lake 2 -3 more times before Memorial Day Weekend. In these subsequent treatments, we will alter our approach somewhat to get large quantities of product delivered directly to the coves especially Pleasanton, the Main Inlet area and Boat Launch Cove. Any other coves with signs of problems will get treated directly as well.
As a back-up, we have planned with the Board and the Lake Committee to be prepared to do a Copper Treatment on the lake prior to the Memorial Day Weekend if we see signs that the blue-green algae is getting ahead of us despite our aggressive Biological Treatment.
We will be processing a full round of water quality and sediment samples that we collected on this trip soon. Dissolved Oxygen, which can be measured directly on-site with our probe, was extremely encouraging. We measured levels above 7 mg/l and 90% saturation 1 foot above the bottom at the 40+ foot depth in the lake. Surface Dissolved Oxygen was over 9 mg/l.