A Comprehensive Guide to Enzyme Therapy Treatment for Lake Management
As lake managers, we are often at a loss when a change in lake condition appears to be a problem. Striking visual changes, such as increased invasive plants, are more likely to attract our attention than subtle but far more important changes.
Understanding aquatic plant biology is the first step in developing effective management plans. Using this knowledge helps to prevent management delays and controversy.
Several factors determine the abundance and distribution of aquatic plants in a lake. They include water clarity, trophic state, water chemistry, substrate type, and the actions of wind and waves. The primary nutrients affecting the growth of submersed aquatic plants are phosphorus and nitrogen. They are generally available in sediments and are used by these plants to fulfill their nutrient requirements.
Identifying the Problem
Before deciding about enzyme therapy treatment for your lake, you need to identify the problem. This involves examining the size and shape of your lake to understand its overall composition.
As you may have guessed, the most obvious determinant of your pond’s health is the presence or absence of microorganisms. These critters decompose organic matter (leaves, grass clippings, weeds, fish) and recycle it into the ecosystem.
The sexiest of these microbes is bacteria, but there’s also a plethora of fungi and algae to choose from.
Using bacteria and enzymes effectively improves a lake’s health and beauty while reducing the need for more conventional treatments. It has also been the source of interesting discoveries in our quest for better water quality. We’ve seen bacteria and enzymes in action that can reverse the aging process, resurrect native plant life, reduce eutrophication, and more!
Identifying the Causes
Sediment build-up is natural but occurs faster in urban lakes and ponds due to organic matter (leaves, branches, fish waste, surface runoff) and inorganic material (sediments made of rock, sand, and gravel). Lake management techniques can reduce sediment accumulation by eliminating sources of excess nutrients, such as fertilizers and grass clippings.
Excessive nutrient pollution, or eutrophication, causes harmful algal blooms in water bodies and disrupts their ecosystems. Nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) come into lakes from agricultural, urban, and sewage treatment facilities.
Using various strategies, eutrophication can be reduced by removing excess nutrients, restoring aquatic ecosystems, and managing water quality. Techniques include aeration, buffer strips, nutrient diversion, dredging, and in-lake treatment.
Identifying the Treatment
Enzymes can help keep your pond balanced by promoting the digestion of waste products such as leaf litter, bird droppings, and goose manure. They can also be used as a supplement to your bacteria treatments.
Sediment accumulates over time in lakes and ponds because of the interaction of inorganic sediment (rock, sand, gravel) and organic matter such as decomposed leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and algae. When this combination is in excess, it results in eutrophication.
Many lake management techniques can reduce eutrophication, such as aeration, installation of buffer zones, manual removal of excessive plant material, nutrient reduction, and bioremediation.
One of the most popular bioremediation techniques is using enzyme and bacteria products. These are sold with the idea that they will reduce sediment thickness and minimize algae growth by increasing water depth and reducing the amount of available organic matter which feeds algae.
Choosing the Treatment
The treatment choice is crucial for controlling eutrophication in lakes and ponds. Many nutrient reduction techniques require external loading to be decreased (supply of nutrients from outside the lake).
In most cases, this is done by lowering the amount of in-lake phosphorus released into the water system. This may be accomplished through various lake restoration techniques, including hypolimnetic withdrawal, artificial circulation (aeration), nutrient diversion, and dredging.
Using enzyme therapy for lake management can be an effective way to reduce phosphorus and control algal blooms. These products have been used effectively in several international projects and can break down and eliminate harmful algae blooms within seven days of application.