Integrated Pond Management: Being Proactive Can Relieve Added Stress

May 3, 2016

In this day and age many subdivisions, corporations, property managers, and municipalities have been given additional tasks of management of stormwater ponds on their premises. Having these ponds can not only pose problems with maintaining compliance with DNR standards, but it can also create a headache when nuisance algae or vegetation keeps coming back on the surface of the ponds. Complaints from homeowners are sure to follow the nuisance growth. Another complaint is when a piece of equipment seizes to operate. This equipment may be a decorative fountain, an aeration system, or even a waterfall pump. This biomass on the water’s surface looks unappealing, may cause added odors, and in the end add to the “muck” on the bottom of the pond. Now given all of the duties that a homeowner’s association or condo owner’s association may face, having a proactive plan can help keep these items off of their mind, and keep their stress down.

In the aquatic management industry the coined phrase of “Integrated Pond Management (IPM)” can be an HOA’s or COA’s best friend.  Simply stated, this is a hands free approach for the homeowners. One myth that arises on many sites is that treating when the problem arises can keep the pond healthy. However this is not the case as this reactive management only covers up the real problem that is going on underneath the water’s surface. This plan thrives on the understanding that having a professional aquatic biologist managing your pond(s) will help to focus on improving water quality parameters and get to the root of the problem by not taking the “band-aid” approach. The basis of an IPM plan is to reduce a pond’s dependency on pesticides and to essentially stop or slow down the clock on Mother Nature by not only looking at the surface, but by looking at the entire ecosystem.

A proper IPM plan utilizes a line of products and tools that improve the quality of water, reduce nuisance algae blooms, increase water clarity, and lower excess nutrients and nutrient loading. Examples of products being used in these programs are beneficial bacteria, natural enzymes, phosphorus reduction agents, and pond colorants. Biologists use these products to target the the real issue behind water quality; nutrient loading. If the nutrient levels can be kept in check, and at a healthy level, a balance can be created in the ecosystem. Now having these tools coupled with monthly and/or bi-weekly monitoring services, water sampling, in depth reporting, and a high level of communication the sky is the limit to keeping the pond(s) looking great and keeping them healthy. As stewards of the environment, we should always strive to reduce pesticide amounts and keep our resources in a superior state of health.

When an IPM plan is in place other tools can be utilized to help increase the overall health of the ponds and reduce nuisance plant growth. Having a properly sized aeration system, metering system, and/or decorative fountain can aid in reducing stagnation, help to aerate the pond, and act as an application tool for many proactive products which help reduce overall nutrient levels.  Along with these tools, having an annual maintenance program will help to remain proactive on keeping equipment performing great. As a part to the IPM’s scheduled site visits, having routine equipment inspections and maintenance is a must. Large amounts of expenditure can come from the purchase of these items, and being proactive on their upkeep can keep them working for extended periods of time.

Ponds can be a nightmare when they are not attended to correctly. They are much like the human body in the fact that if you only do the bare minimum it will not make you any healthier. However, when you take the steps to eat right, exercise, and make routine doctor visits you tend to stay healthier. This same concept applies to a pond’s ecosystem. If you only treat the algae and/or vegetation when it rears its head you are not making the system any better. However, if you take the steps to promote beneficial bacteria, reduce nutrient loading, and provide a means to reduce stagnation you will have a much healthier ecosystem, and a more aesthetically pleasing pond.

Wisconsin Lake & Pond Resource, LLC (WLPR) specializes in the professional management of recreational, storm-water, and golf course ponds.  The management process is unique for each pond no matter what its purpose. WLPR offers many options for clients when developing and implementing management programs.  This includes product use, advanced scheduling/reporting, and most importantly budgeting.  Integrated Pond Management (IPM) is a full service management option providing the client the highest level of value. To learn more visit or call toll free at 1-866-208-0724.