Lake Restoration – Dealing with the Problem
To achieve lake restoration, we must restore the natural processes that allow a lake to assimilate the nutrient load that it receives. While nutrient inputs should be reduced or eliminated wherever possible, this process has historically failed to achieve lake restoration. The CLEAN-FLO Lake Restoration Process achieves lake restoration by using and accelerating natural processes already in lakes to achieve natural lake restoration the same as nature has restored lakes for thousands of years.
Attempted Lake Restoration with Chemical Treatment
Traditionally, aquatic weed or algae problems have been addressed by using chemical treatments. Chemicals are applied at the water surface or directly to floating mats. The chemicals kill the weeds and algae and the dying vegetation sinks to the bottom of the water-body where it rots. As the vegetation rots, the plant nutrients in it that have been absorbed from the water are released back to the water column and become nutrients for the next weed growth or algae bloom. But something far worse occurs; as the vegetation decays, it uses up the oxygen at the bottom. Many studies have shown that an average of about three times as much nutrients are released from bottom sediment of lakes without oxygen, than what typically comes in from the watershed each year. The next weed or algal growth will occur when conditions of light and temperature are favorable, and the concentration of the water treatment chemical in the water column is reduced below toxic levels. The effectiveness of the water treatment chemical is quickly reduced as it settles to the bottom and is diluted by lake inflow and mixing with waters from untreated portions of the lake. The dead mass of vegetation accumulates on the bottom of the lake adding to the mass of organic sediments already there. Herbicides and algaecides do more harm to water quality than they do good. They sometimes cause fish kills and add toxic substances to the water and sediments, and have completely failed to achieve true lake restoration.
Treating the Symptoms
Chemical treatment of lakes for algae control and aquatic plants can be a valuable tool in the aesthetic management of a lake, but it does not eliminate the condition that causes the problem. Water treatment chemicals cannot be applied to prevent an algae bloom. They can only be applied to eliminate the bloom. The bloom captures dissolved nutrients from the water column and creates algae. The chemical treatment kills the lake algae, and the dead and dying organisms settle to the bottom where they decompose releasing soluble nutrients back to the water column. Once the biomass is formed, nutrients are effectively locked into the lake’s ecosystem to be recycled forever. Some chemical treatments, copper in particular, can accumulate in lake sediments when used year after year. Accumulated copper can reach levels that are toxic to aquatic organisms or result in the growth of algae that is resistant to the effects of copper. Herbicides for aquatic weed control create similar problems.
The Natural Lake Restoration Process
The natural assimilation of nutrients in the lake ecosystem begins to breakdown when these natural processes are limited or eliminated by low oxygen levels. Aerobic organisms are much more efficient at digesting organic material than anaerobic organisms. Aerobic organisms feed on organic material contained in the sediments and assimilate these nutrients into increased body mass and reproduction. Aerobically assimilated nutrients become part of the food chain, rather than being recycled within the water column, as they are when anaerobic conditions exist. By maintaining aerobic conditions at the bottom of a lake, fish, the top consumer will also improve in quantity and quality as the fish aid in the lake restoration process. Maintaining the aerobic environment will also reduce or prevent the accumulation of organic sediments. Aerobic conditions at the lake bottom benefit all aspects of the aquatic environment, resulting in true lake restoration.
The CLEAN-FLO Approach
The CLEAN-FLO Continuous Laminar Flow Inversion and Oxygenation System restores and maintains aerobic conditions in lakes. The CLEAN-FLO system employs natural non-turbulent inversion to aerate the lake from bottom to top. The CLEAN-FLO system allows natural lake restoration processes to naturally occur within a lake using oxygen (air) and natural lake restoration bacterial and enzyme products. Click here to read about our Lake Aeration Systems.
Lake Specific System
Each CLEAN-FLO system is engineered specifically for the lake in which it is to be installed. The design process begins with an assessment of water quality data and existing conditions. Watershed characteristics, and physical dimensions and depths are also evaluated. A system is then designed to address the specific conditions that exist in the lake.
Please feel free to contact us. We would be glad to discuss your lake, its condition, and how we could be of assistance. Our approach to lake restoration management is different than many service providers. We believe in solving the problem rather than treating the symptoms. Let us solve your problem with natural lake restoration.
Improve lake fishing and improve water chemistry using natural lake restoration processes. When is the best time to start?
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