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Biological Lake Management Through Aeration

Biological Lake Management Through Aeration

To cope with the rapidly growing negative changes in our environment, particularly our waters, it is important that we initiate some form of action to counteract such changes – like biological lake management. Without question, the need to rehabilitate our lakes has never been as high as it is today. And why not? While the demand for water increases, the resource itself does not change.

Algae growth and other natural occurrences along with overcrowding and industrialization (the number of boats registered each year is over 11 million in the United States alone) all add-up to make our waters depleted.

Good thing there are several techniques we can utilize to control aquatic nuisance and revive the quality of water. One such biological lake management technique is called aeration.

Aeration Basics

A lake that has a sudden mass algae bloom. A lake that has a sudden mass algae death. Chronic fish kills. Foul smell. Bubbly surface. Sludge. The murky appearance of the water. These are all signs that the lake needs to be aerated. But have you ever wondered what causes such a thing to happen?

Although lakes cleanse themselves two times in a year (every autumn and spring) by mixing the oxygen-rich surface with the low-oxygen water at the bottom, overcrowding and industrial development contribute to the dissolved nutrient-content in the water, making this natural cleansing process of lakes simply not enough.

The water becomes stratified, meaning, each level of the water would have different amounts of oxygen. The top portion of the water might be rich with of oxygen, yes, but there would be almost none at the bottom.

Such an occurrence would lead to the symptoms already mentioned above: mass algae bloom or death, fish kills, unpleasant smell, bubbly surface and murky water.

How Aeration Helps

Aeration helps infuse oxygen into the bottom of the lake, breathing new life into it. There are several ways to aerate a body of water.

Hypolimnetic aeration is one. This subsurface aeration method is done by pumping oxygen into the bottom of deeper lakes helping fishes have more space to move around. It also increases the food supply of all aquatic organisms.

In shallow bodies of water, artificial circulation (also called surface aeration) is typically used. This method exposes the water at the bottom of the lake into the atmosphere so that the oxygen in the air can transfer into the water.

To properly do this, things like air diffusers, paddle wheels and surface sprays are utilized.

The different methods of aeration are practically endless. You can restore a lake by using lake bed aeration, the use of fountains, circulators, filters and skimmers, hypolimnetic withdrawal, dredging, nutrient diversion, and nutrient inactivation.

What Aeration Could Mean

You might use aeration for the “shallowest” of reasons – to make your house more aesthetic, to impress visitors, to have a lake where you can let your kids swim, a place to entertain friends. It might mean all these things to you.

But what you may not be aware of is this form of biological lake management also attempts to make a sustainable environment for all aquatic organisms, and when done collectively, the environment as a whole.