Your pond or lake is a thing of beauty and very busy. It stretches and strains to improve the water quality of its community and to prevent flooding. It grows its own ecosystem. With all that your lake does, it isn’t much of a wonder that you have to check its health every once in a while. Just as humans need check-ups to catch problems early and stay healthy, lakes need regular inspections to stay fit. The big question is what to look for in your lake or pond inspection. The following covers what things to check for and what a healthy pond looks like.
A healthy lake has a many different types of life. The numbers and health of these creatures will indicate a lot of about your lake. You should especially monitor algae and insects since they are very responsive to many factors. Having a ton of thick algae indicates that too much phosphorous and nitrogen have gotten into the water and will start sickening other creatures. (The algae itself can soak up so much oxygen and light that creatures die from the algae.) You should note what species you have as well, since a change in species can indicate recent changes in stressors on the lake. Insects or other macroinvertebrates, such as worms and snails, living in the lake are also good indicators. Having many species that are sensitive to pollution means that your lake is in good shape. Having only a few, hardy species points to trouble.
Another thing to check for is change in depth. Lakes shouldn’t lose depth, not rapidly anyway. Sediment can either build up in the bottom of the lake, or leaks can spring in the sides. Check for new water-loving plants growing where they shouldn’t, like the base of dams. If you suspect a leak, you can put a little food-grade dye near the suspected spot and watch where the dye goes. Check embankments to see if they are still intact, and use a pole to measure sediment at the bottom of your lake.
On the chemistry side of things, you should check the pH of your lake and make sure it is between 6.8 and 7.8. Depending on your site, you may have to send water samples to a lab to check for toxicity, but the simple pH test is a good way to check your lakes overall health. If your lake has a very low or high pH, you might have to do more detailed evaluation of contaminants.
If you need help with your lake or pond inspections, contact us. We have all the expertise you need to perform an inspection for your lake.