Lake Management for Conservation Commissions and Lake Associations Ken Wagner, PhD, CLM, Water Resource Services Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Reasons for lake management – Algae control – Rooted plant control – Sedimentation mitigation – Fishing enhancement – Other interests Nuisance animals Rare species Birding Access Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Algae control – Most algae grow in proportion to available nutrients and light – Focus on nutrient control, esp P, for best results • Watershed management • Internal load reduction Dredging Inactivation Oxygenation Drawdown Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Total Phosphorus vs. Chlorophyll a Chl (ug/l) 200 190 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100110120130140150160170180190200 TP (ug/l) From Watson et al. 1997 L&O 42(3): 487-495 (10 ug/L) (100 ug/L) Relationships of TP to Chl to cyanobacteria: More P leads to more algae and more algae leads to more cyanobacteria. Other algae can bloom too, but probability of cyano blooms rises with P. Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Algae control – Where nutrient control is not feasible, control should focus on prevention of blooms, not removal of existing blooms • Algaecides • Circulation • Flushing • Sonication • Dyes • Biomanipulation • Bacterial additives • Mechanical removal? Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Rooted plant control – Choice of method highly dependent upon: • Species of plants to be controlled • Areal coverage • Density of coverage • Potential non-target impacts Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Rooted plant control – Watershed management will not solve the problem – Water quality management unlikely to solve the problem – Often need a combination of techniques – Often need repeat application – Quick action upon discovery of an invasion is essential if there is to be any chance of eradication Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Rooted plant control – Physical: drawdown, harvesting, dredging, benthic barriers – Chemical: herbicides, dyes – Biological: herbivores, pathogens, competitors – Each has pros and cons, each has optimal conditions for application (see Lake Management in MA) Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Sediment mitigation – Four choices: live with it, dredge it, decompose organic matter, raise water level – Dredging is the most restorative choice, but is very expensive and requires considerable information to plan and permit; sediment quality and quantity must be thoroughly evaluated – Decomposing organic sediments is possible with adequate oxygen and appropriate microbes; an industry has arisen around this approach, but little scientific evidence of successes – Raising the water level is not practical in many cases Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Fishing enhancement – Boils down to habitat and stocking; both have a role – Habitat will determine long term fishery conditions; temperature, oxygen, pH and trophic status all matter – Stocking provides short term enhancement and may provide longer term benefits if habitat is suitable – Regulation may also be important; overfishing can be a real force – State agencies have interest and expertise in habitat, but focus mainly on stocking and regulation Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Other interests – Nuisance animals – beavers, geese, leeches, swimmer’s itch – need to view control in context of habitat and ecosystem function – Rare species – protected by law, promoting them is desirable, but requires a plan and permission – Birding – popular passtime, many water dependent species, not always compatible with other uses – need to consider habitat needs, spatial and temporal separation from potentially conflicting uses – Access – public vs. private lakes pose major issues with regard to responsibility, funding, downstream impacts, individual vs. societal rights – room for a lot of debate, a very sensitive area with many groups Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – How the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) relates to lakes • History of WPA Act and subsequent regulations (1983) and revisions (1987, 1997) to protect wetlands, an imperiled set of habitats BVW, LSF, Bank, VP, LUW: lakes as wetlands Lakes as embodiment of range of wetland habitats Conundrum of active management of lakes – Limited projects10.53 (4) – Land Under Water 10.56 – Performance standards 10.60 Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – How the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) relates to lakes • Seven original “interests” of the WPA Protection of public and private water supply Protection of ground water supply Flood control Storm damage prevention Prevention of pollution Protection of land containing shellfish Protection of fisheries Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – How the Wetlands Protection Act (WPA) relates to lakes • Regulatory adjustments Addition of 8th “interest”: habitat – problem issue for any management program Policies and guidance over the years to address specific issues GEIR for Eutrophication and Aquatic Plant Management in Massachusetts – Not the last word; meant to be updated – Provides guidance, not regulation or rules – Problem situations accumulating – No regulatory provision for revision Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – Related legislation and regulation • MA Endangered Species Act and NHESP • Riverways Act – streams and rivers, not lakes • MA DEP Storm Water Policy • Chapter 91: Waterways License re: Great Ponds • Federal Clean Water Act, Sec 401 and 404 • Federal Clean Water Act, Sec 305b and 303d • Federal Clean Water Act, Sec 314 and 319 • Federal Insecticide Rodenticide and Fungicide Act • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System • Invasive species transport bans • Instream flow initiatives Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – Related issues • Double jeopardy from overlapping regulation • Lack of a mandate to control invasive species • Focus on endangered species instead of communities • Little inclusion of safety, economic limits or recreation in WPA – but there is some, and room to interpret • Lack of process for rapid response planning and permitting • Ability to monitor to predict problems and be proactive Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act – Bottom Line: • There is a lot for a Conservation Commissioner or a Lake Association to know when dealing with lakes • Lake projects have potentially more environmental regulation than development projects • Like buildings, lakes require maintenance to remain in acceptable condition; no action is not preservation • Prevention is much preferred over rehabilitation, but can’t always be arranged • The WPA and related regulations provide a framework for lake management, but also have gaps, contradictions and confusing aspects that make the job of a Commissioner more difficult Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Reasonable expectations from applicants Properly characterize the resources involved Clearly identify the problem(s) Demonstrate consideration of options Provide an evaluation of non-target impacts Show how the interests of the WPA are affected Provide an appropriate monitoring program List follow up and contingency actions Explain how other permitting processes apply Identify who will be responsible for what actions Part I – Lake Management and the Wetlands Protection Act Reasonable expectations from conservation commissioners Be familiar with available guidance on lake management (GEIR, other resources) Do not base feasibility or applicability conclusions on any one example; consider range of possible outcomes, avoid secondary sources, personal opinions, and unsubstantiated claims Keep an open mind; do not limit options due to personal prejudices for or against any technique Know where you can compromise and where you have to hold the line on WPA provisions – not easy to do, but work at it Help craft reasonable monitoring programs, not extorted research projects Do not overstep jurisdictional bounds; avoid requiring actions not related to the problem Seek to be part of a solution to any problem; commissioners should be more than umpires Lessons from Experience • There is no one size fits all solution; the specific conditions in each case dictate the most viable course of action • There are likely multiple possible solutions, and multiple techniques are likely to be involved over time • Comparisons between lake projects must be tempered by lake-specific situations; because something did or did not work at Lake A is not grounds for a strong conclusion at Lake B without careful analysis • Questions from conservation commissions should help shape the project within the context of the WPA; foster adaptive management over time I’m gonna need another one of these Questions? Part II – Common Western Massachusetts Plant Management Approaches Water quality tends to be acceptable; more problems with rooted plants, partly due to higher water clarity • Drawdown practiced where outlet control over water level exists and permits can be obtained • Herbicides tend to be applied where problem is serious enough to warrant major biomass reduction • Mechanical harvesting was popular when county operated machines, still a viable method of maintaining selected areas for recreation • Manual harvesting difficult on very big scale, but proven useful for limited area lakes; sometimes aided by suction harvesting • Benthic barriers useful for localized near-complete control • Dredging very desirable in many cases, but too expensive and extra depth not essential • Limited biomanipulation; more experimental, grass carp not allowed Drawdown – Potential for control of nuisance aquatic plants by drawdown – Key attributes of success: water level control, dewatering, weather, physical disruption – Primary impediments: impacts to non-target species, flooding and refill issues Drawdown Targets – Vegetative propagators vs. seed producers – Possible control of milfoil, fanwort, coontail, water lilies, watershield – No adverse effect on naiad, most pondweeds, water chestnut, Chara and Nitella, except by longterm sediment changes – – – – Drawdown Issues Importance of physical disruption of overwintering plant form 30 days of dryness and/or freezing temp. Ripping plants up with early refill possible Variability in response, need for planning for annual drawdown – – – – – – – – Drawdown Issues Impacts on wells Impacts to other aquatic plants Impacts to contiguous wetlands Impacts to invertebrates Impacts to reptiles and amphibians Impacts to fish Impacts to birds Impacts to furbearers – – – – – – Drawdown Experience Weather dependent technique; have to consider longer term conditions and expect year to year variation – evaluation should span 3-5 years! Can be very effective against milfoil, fanwort, any submergent perennial if killing conditions achieved Not directly effective against emergents (tend to be dormant) or annual species (come back from seed) Makes substrate more coarse (more rock, gravel, coarse sand) over time with enough slope; provides indirect control through substrate limitation Rare to be able to draw down to level that prevents any nuisances by target species Deeper drawdowns present spring refill issues, possible ecological impacts Herbicides 9 active ingredients available: • Copper- mostly for algae, limited vascular plant applications • Diquat – contact herbicide, spot treatments • Endothall – contact herbicide, spot treatments • 2,4-D – older systemic; limits on use, but potentially effective on some species where other herbicides are not • Glyphosate – systemic, mainly for emergent growths • Imazopyr/Imazomox – systemic, mainly for emergent plants • Fluridone – systemic, slow acting, mostly whole lake or sequestered applications, species targeting by dose • Triclopyr – systemic, fast acting, spot treatments possible, effective on milfoil but not pondweed species • Flumioxazin – contact herbicide, spot treatments possible, effective on wide range of invasive and nuisance species Herbicides • With very different active ingredients, labels, and application conditions, blanket statements about herbicides are inappropriate • Herbicide costs vary substantially; cost per treatment and number of treatments needed over 20 years should be considered • It is reasonable to be concerned over possible non-target impacts, including human health, but direct impacts are very, very rare; experience shows that risks are small • Very few techniques can get a plant infestation under control quickly and at reasonable cost the way herbicides can, when properly chosen and applied Herbicide Treatments – Contact herbicides kill only the part of the plant with which they come in contact, but tend to act fast – Systemic herbicides are taken up and kill whole plant at sufficient dose, but tend to act more slowly Herbicide Treatments – Effectiveness varies with target species and ambient conditions – Selectivity can be achieved by timing of treatment, location of treatment, and dose for some herbicides – Longevity limited for ideal growing situations, but can be enhanced by encouraging desired species Herbicide Treatments – Direct impacts to non-target fauna are very limited when label restrictions are followed – Indirect impacts are possible as habitat is altered by change in plant density or relative abundance – – – – – – – Herbicide Treatment Issues Long-term control Low dose “success/risk” Water supply restrictions Minimal issues for fish, shellfish No issues for flood or storm control Legal debate over pollution applicability Certainly changes habitat Herbicide Experience – Diquat is most popular contact herbicide; used to clear swimming areas, control regrowth after some whole lake systemic treatments – Glyphosate and Imazopyr/Imazomox most often used on floating or emergent plants, such as water lilies, cattails, phragmites – Fluridone used most on Eurasian milfoil and fanwort, often whole lake treatment, but advanced in pellet formulas aids spot treatment – Triclopyr newer, gaining acceptance, works on certain plants (including milfoil) relatively quickly and thoroughly – Flumioxazin also newer, gaining acceptance, works fast in smaller areas, affects wide range of nuisance species – 1-4 years of control is to be expected; more only with follow up actions – for best results, let professionals guide herbicide use planning Harvesting • Hand pulling • Rakes and cutters • Mechanical harvesting • Rotovation • Hydroraking Harvesting- Hand Pulling – Effective for limited area infestations – Can be very selective – Best with sparse growth of invasive species – Need to control fragments – Possible high labor cost, repetition expected – Suction systems may help with denser areas Harvesting- Rakes and Cutters – Can clear small areas – Moderately selective – Fragments collection necessary for some species – Effective for seed producers if timed correctly – Labor cost usually moderate, repetition expected Harvesting - Mechanical Harvesting – Can clear larger areas – Best results if biomass collected and removed – Analogous to mowing the lawn for many species – Limited but possible selectivity over time – Some evidence of carryover effect – Capital or contract cost high, repetition expected Harvesting – Rotovation – Can clear moderate sized areas – Disrupts plants at roots, but rarely includes collection of biomass – Non-selective – Highly variable longevity – “Messy” operation – Capital or contract costs high, repetition not as likely as for other techniques Harvesting – Hydroraking – Can clear moderate areas – Removes plants at roots with some sediment – Non-selective – Variable longevity, but successful for certain species – High capital or contract cost, repetition not as likely as for other options Harvesting Experience – Rotivation not applied much in New England – Hydroraking mostly used to control water lilies, remove floating islands and debris, less common in Berkshires – Mechanical harvesting less common now (less convenient, higher cost), but works well as a maintenance technique with adequate equipment – WPA issues limited by affected area – Manual methods gaining momentum; both professional and volunteer efforts have demonstrated success – longer term success remains to be documented, but trends are encouraging – few WPA issues One more and this will all make sense… Questions? Part III: Keys to Successful Lake Management Ken Wagner, Ph.D., CLM Water Resources Manager Water Resource Services, Inc. email@example.com Key Elements: Set realistic goals Involve all relevant parties Apply sound science Prevention with any rehabilitation Organize, prepare, anticipate Focus and persevere Adequately fund actions Publicize and recognize Monitor and follow up …true, but boring… So hang on and we’ll do it differently! Summary in One Word: Openness – Open process – inclusive, fair, comprehensive – Open minds – evaluate without prejudice – Open lake – private property vs. public opportunity – Open checkbook – you get what you pay for – Open ended management – no clear endpoint, follow-up needed Open Process • Solicit input from all interested parties: lake users, potential lake users, property owners, those with political or regulatory jurisdiction, those holding the purse strings Open Process • Try to accommodate reasonable uses Ballroom catfish dancing – one esoteric pursuit Incredible fishing? Recognize potential conflicts Open Process • Set realistic goals, arrived at as a group Most lakes can support multiple uses, but recognize the limits Open Process • Seek true conflict resolution, not to win a power struggle One ring to rule them all… I’ll show you how we resolve conflicts in Chicago Open Process • Think about how the other guy feels… Open Process • Let the process run its course – don’t rush or force decisions on others! • Provide one or two of the three forms of satisfaction to all parties Get your ducks in a row OK, we’ll do it your way… Open Process • Revisit goals and progress periodically Look at the big picture first …then ask specific questions, like “Is the fishing better now?” and “Has boating safety improved?” Open Minds • Spin is revered in law, accepted in politics, tolerated in the media, but should be avoided in science In the race to the moon, the US finished next to last, while the USSR was second …making lemonade from lemons? Open Minds • Recognize that there are multiple sides to every issue (and management technique) • There is usually more than one possible effective approach to management • No one technique is likely to be the whole answer • Science, economics and politics form the 3-legged stool of management Open Minds Seek balance ! Open Minds • Evaluate options in a balanced way; do not be blinded by prejudice or spin (yours or that of others!) Two extreme and inappropriate views on herbicide use Open Minds • Refine goals and management methods as necessary; don’t blindly follow an approach that is not working, but give the plan a fair trial Open Lake • Private property, private rights and private responsibility: reality and myth Sharing the resource is unappealing to many… Open Lake • Who owns the water in a private lake? The water upstream? Downstream? Does water respect boundaries? • If lake water quality in a private lake declines, should shoreline owners get a reduced tax rate? If so, who suffers? • If a nuisance species invades a private lake, who is threatened? Who should pay for control? Open Lake • Shared resources, shared responsibility: avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons A "commons" is any resource used as though it belongs to all. In other words, when anyone can use a shared resource simply because one wants or needs to use it, then one is using a commons. A commons is destroyed by uncontrolled use—neither intent of the user nor ownership are important. - Jay Hansen, 1997, explaining the concept attributed to Garrett Harding, 1968 Open Lake • The European model for ownership and access Balancing personal and public rights Ownership of shoreline does not convey a right to exclude in many countries Open Lake • Public access facilitates public funding in most states in the USA Open Checkbook • Invest in reliable data for decision making Open Checkbook • Paraphrase of old proverb: A dollar of prevention is worth thousands of dollars of cure EWM - from fragment to dominance in under 5 years in many lakes Open Checkbook • Evaluated over a human lifetime, costs of alternative rehabilitation methods will be more similar than a simple comparison of initial costs Open Checkbook • You get what you pay for…or less “We couldn’t afford barley straw, so we tried stale wheat bread” “Will build to suit” “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” Open Ended • Just like gardening, landscaping, and home maintenance, lake management does not have a clear end Open Ended • Recommend 5-year plan and 20-year plan as minimum timeframes for consideration • Vigilance is the price of freedom…from costly rehabilitation Prevention of problems is a never ending task • Follow-up to rehabilitation is critical to minimizing long-term costs and protecting the investment Open Bar Sometimes it makes more sense after a drink Open Season (on the presenter) Questions and comments?