Eutrophication: The Life-Cycle of a Pond or Lake

Wonder Why Your Pond Looks Gross? It May Not Just Be Your Septic…It Could Be Something Referred To As Eutrophication

Lakes and ponds can make otherwise ordinary properties into extraordinary retreats. These water features provide aesthetic beauty, attract wildlife, and seem to lend a calming feel to a property’s atmosphere. In many cases, people purchase a property specifically for these features or the myriad of recreational activities they provide. Whether your pond or lake is man-made or natural, there is a life-cycle attached to your pond or lake. The process of eutrophication helps to explain why so many ponds and lakes become unsightly or dirty.



But what happens when the beautiful pond that came with the houseĀ is suddenly looking a little green? Perhaps you noticed a significant increase of different looking weeds emerging or right under the surface of the water. Maybe there is a new unpleasant odor present when the wind blows in a certain direction. Maybe you can no longer fish off of your dock due to there being too many plants.

Whatever is happening to your lakefront or pond, it is likely part of a “natural” process known as eutrophication. Eutrophication is a scientific term for the life-cycle of a pond…a natural cycle that all lakes and ponds are destined to complete. This process can take a very long time (hundreds to thousands and even millions of years), however with human presence and land development, we have greatly accelerated this process. As a result, our lakes and ponds require maintenance to halt or reverse the process (at least on a somewhat temporary basis). Even though we refer to it as a “natural” process, this would happen on its own over a very long period of time, our presence and development of land around our lakes and ponds is actually accelerating this process.

The Stages of Eutrophication

  • Oligotrophic – a pond or lake with low productivity. These ponds and lakes have less nutrients and thus typically have very little in the way of algae or aquatic plants.
  • Mesotrophic – a pond or lake with moderate productivity. For the most part, these bodies of water are free of excessive algae or plants.
  • Eutrophic – a pond or lake with high productivity. These ponds and lakes tend to have high levels of phosphates entering through stormwater runoff and from the actual sediment bed within the lake.
  • Hypereutrophic – a pond or lake with excessive nutrients. These ponds and lakes tend to be murky and are likely dominated by frequent and severe algal blooms or excessive plant growth.
A boat floating in a pond with excessive green algae.
A pond with excessive algae production.

Regardless of where in this process your pond or lake is, there is always hope. Here at Pristine Waters we see and help restore these ponds and lakes through a variety of methods, most notably suction dredging and suction harvesting. We have proven solutions to restore, slow, and stop your pond or lake’s progression through this cycle.

Contact us today to find out how.

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