Lake Management: A Nutrient Budget
By David Ernes – Lake Management Committee
As we have stated before, reducing algal blooms is the primary focus of the LMC in this phase of our overall Management Plan. The two common ways to do this are either through the use of algicides or though the reduction of nutrients. Chemical algicides are effective and fast, and are being investigated but they are a band aid and are not a long term solution. And they have some drawbacks that must be understood. The best solution is the control of excess nutrients. Nutrients come into the lake from several sources such as the legacy sediment deposited on the lake bottom over the 50+ years of its life, or from the watershed (via run-off from yard fertilizers and agricultural operations or the streams and tributaries). With a Nutrient Budget or Water Quality Model we will establish the percentage that each source contributes to the overall nutrient load for the lake. And from that information we can focus on the mitigation practices that have the best chance of success. (A Budget is also one of the common features one sees in any successful Lake Management Plan.)
The RRA Board has approved the requisiton of a Budget for our lake. At the same time, the LMC is researching various mitigation techniques that address the algae blooms. Once the Budget is completed, we can select those techniques that will have the greatest impact both short-term and long-term while being financially responsible. And once the nutrients are better controlled, we can then move on to other issues such as aquatic vegetation control.
As we wait for the results, we are also looking at simple changes that can impact our lake. One such change approved by the Board was a combined effort by the LMC, the EAC and the RRA maintenance department to alter the mowing practices of the RL lots. In those areas adjacent to the water’s edge or bordering the neighboring farmland, the native vegetation will be allowed to grow unimpeeded, creating a Buffer Zone to absorb nutrient runoff. This does not cost anything to implement and will actually help the maintenance department. Creation of Buffer Zones is a practice we have often suggested that homeowners can adopt where feasible. Therefore, it is suggested again that you examine your lot and see where you could incorporate a similar practice. Several recent articles have addressed this option. The search for other “quick hit” options will continue.
We are moving forwards, and with everyone’s help and patience, we all will continue to…
BE LAKE RESPONSIBLE