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Mechanical Removal of Biomass Keep Nutrient Levels Low & Decrease Risk of Algae Growth
Posted on July 9, 2013 by Dan O'Keefe, Michigan State University Extension

Aquatic ecologists tend to avoid the term “weeds” when referring to macrophytes – the rooted aquatic plants that many swimmers and boaters disdain. These plants provide food for waterfowl and habitat for fish, but they can also play a critical role in maintaining water clarity.

Many lakes and ponds have two stable states: weedy and clear or devoid of weeds and muddy. This leaves riparian landowners and lake managers with a choice between two undesirable endpoints when nutrient levels are intermediate.

At low nutrient levels, the rooted plants win out because water is clear and plenty of light reaches the bottom of the lake. At high nutrient levels, the algae win out and effectively shade out rooted plants – this means extremely low water clarity and sometimes harmful algal blooms. At intermediate nutrient levels, things get a bit tricky. In this case, lakes can be pushed in one direction or the other – sometimes inadvertently.

When rooted plants are destroyed, mucky bottoms get stirred up and re-suspend nutrients. Competition with algae ceases and foul blooms occur. If plant biomass is not mechanically removed, the rotting vegetation further adds to nutrient availability, turbidity, and algae growth.

 
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State-of-the-Art Water Filtration Demonstration Project - The state-of-the-art water filtration demonstration project at Reed Street Yards is set to start its first season of operation. The lively water feature pumps dirty canal water through a Watertronics Portable Ultra-Filtration unit, aerates it through a series of cascading streams, then delivers clean water back into the Menomonee Canal.


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