What is Lake(s) Management?

The question seems simple enough, but the answer is almost always different depending on who you ask.  It certainly takes on a different meaning if you are a consultant vs someone sitting on a lake association board.  This creates somewhat of a dividing line between those who are formally educated and/or experienced in the application and management of lakes, streams or surface water bodies from those who are stakeholders on some various level just enjoying the views.  Not only do views change among individuals, but textbooks and guidelines show differing opinions on management strategies.  Additionally management style may also be dictated by available funds.

Furthermore it could be determined that some lakes require more hands-on management than others.  In one case an oligotrophic lake in northern Wisconsin, with limited nutrient input from the watershed can seem self sustaining versus and urban impoundment in suburban Illinois which needs constant restocking and algal control.  So maybe the question isn’t as easy to answer as initially thought.  What appears certain within the realm of lake management; however is that it involves more than just the lake and whats happening from shoreline to shoreline.

In an ideal world all bodies of water (lakes, river, creeks) work the same, but that is most certainly not true.  If a human body is the reflection of what we put into it and we can agree that (for the most part) lakes function in much the same way, why do we continue to dump the majority of our money into treating the lake rather than the input?  Is it a sense of instant returns?  Yet these are the requests we see every day…a need to treat “weeds”, the desire to dredge, more shoreline frontage. Few of which constitute any direction improvement on water quality.  Isn’t that what we are really after?

At the end of the day there is really no blueprint to correct lake management.  All this article suggests is a look beyond the shoreline and for better ways to spend your time and money than spraying algae beds.  Find out what watershed your lake is in.  Be conscious of how the water gets in and where it has been.  Try to learn about the processes that lead to in-lake changes.  Get to know your neighbors and neighboring lakes.  Strategize with others to make a plan.  After all lake management should be fun and not frustrating…

-p0sted by Admin