Contributed by Matt Verdirame
This is an update of our plan to improve the lake conditions through the winter and through next year.
Lake Savers was recently here to do the normal aerator maintenance and at the same time they added three new diffusers at the dam end of the lake. Last summer we do not believe that the aeration was able to keep up with the algae demand and this allowed the algae to proliferate. These three additional diffusers were added to increase the oxygen levels in the deepest part of the lake where we believe much of the algae grew.
In early November Lake Savers will be back to treat the lake as they did last year with a winter biological treatment which will work primarily on the muck on the bottom. By reducing this muck it is hoped that it will interfere with algae production. As we did last year we will be leaving the aeration system going through the winter to continue muck reduction. The muck layer is where the phosphorus concentrates feeding the algae growth.
The lake will be lowered starting on November 28 to a level about one to two feet below the normal level. This should enable us to clean the leaves and other organic matter out of most the coves and other community areas. Lake front homeowners can help by cleaning leaves and other organic matter out the lake areas in front of their properties.
These are our winter plans.
Next spring our treatment plans will be predicated by the results of treatment. We are going to begin spring treatments using a new technology of natural treatment called PureO2. This substance works by going to the bottom then time releasing oxygen into the system along with an agent to combat algae growth. This treatment has shown success in lakes in Michigan and California. The first treatment will be at Lake Savers cost. A treatment of this type should greatly reduce the filamentous algae we had in the spring of last year. When this treatment works as planned we will then continue to treat the lake with this product.
Along with this treatment we are looking into dyeing the lake as they do at golf courses to control algae (Augusta i.e.). The dye is an inert natural compound which blocks sunlight from reaching and activating the algae. It is harmless, biodegradable, and non-staining. This would be applied in the early summer so it would not be washed over the spillway during spring rains.
If however the PureO2 does not do what we expect it to do we will quickly move to a new line of treatments. We do not want to get into the situation that we were in last year with the extreme algae problem leading to high levels of microcystins. Our second line of treatments will use copper based algaecides to control the algae. This is not our preferred treatment regime, but we do not want to let the lake become unusable as it was last summer. These copper based treatments will set us back some for the development of a natural healthy lake but we believe it is important to keep the lake usable throughout the summer.
In addition we are asking all homeowners as well as the maintenance department to help by establishing buffer zones. Buffer zones help by reducing runoff into the lake thus allowing the runoff to soak into the ground while the root system filters out nutrients. If you are lake front owner, a ten to fifteen foot buffer zone on the lake shore is recommended. This could consist of natural wildflowers and/or grasses or even just letting the grass in the buffer zone growth up to six or seven inches.
We will also be asking non lakefront homeowners and the maintenance department to let swales and other runoff areas to grow up to six to seven inches or more to help the same way. Of course you should never let cut grass fly into the lake nor roads or let cuttings lay in swales as it will eventually end up as added nutrients in the lake. Working together as a community will go a long way to help reduce algae growth while helping the lake to naturally revive a healthy ecosystem.
The lake and dam committee is looking to add plantings to the lake which are natural and controllable. Natural plantings provide fish cover and help to filter nutrients. Over 40 manmade fish hides have been put in the lake providing structure and habitat to our growing young fishery. We will continue to add structures next spring.