The Winds of Change

On March 11, 2020, life as we knew it changed. As individual states and municipalities issued a “Shelter in Place” order across the country, many Americans were forced to work remotely and home school their children via Zoom Meetings and Virtual Classroom. It seemed the only safe place was our homes, yards, and anything outdoors! People turned to their favorite local and state parks until the order was given to close those resources for social distancing. As a result, many of us went back to the ancient practices of sitting on our porches and decks while the kids played in the yard. What do people do when they’re tired of staring at computer screens doing virtual business and school? You turn to your most available resource… your home!

As we came through the months of March, April, and May people began to reach out to our company because they did not want to look at mud holes and vegetative swamps on their properties. They wanted a thriving ecosystem that the family could enjoy! Bring on the kayaking, swimming, and fishing while saying goodbye to the virtual world of inactivity.

Once we have cleaned up, restocked, and restored your pond back to its glory how can you keep this aquatic ecosystem in its paradise state? To answer this question, we need to look at the cause of what brought on the muck and vegetation. Last time I checked, Mother Nature didn’t offer a warranty program or even a bulletproof schedule. Contributing factors to aquatic ecosystem decline are as follows:

  1. Seasonal changes allow the pond to get hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and all of the in-between during spring and fall.
  2. Wildlife and waterfowl can bring in some nuisance, noxious vegetation by flying out of one pond into yours. Have you ever heard of duckweed? Mallards and wood ducks are some beautiful birds landing into your pond, but it only takes a few petals under the wings or webs of their feet and boom, instant crop.
  3. Normal yard maintenance, for example fertilizing and mowing the lawn, can cause unwanted contributions to your pond.
  4. Rain events bring nutrients into the pond as well as sedimentation from poor turf coverage.

What can you do to keep your pond looking good and functioning properly? First and foremost, utilize the skills of trained aquatic maintenance professionals who can identify the beneficial versus the non-beneficial plants and apply treatments while keeping you informed of potential problems that can develop over time.

If you do not have an aquatic maintenance program, but you want a product that can benefit your aquatic ecosystem, diffused aeration is the way to go. Diffused aeration is the process of increasing or maintaining the oxygen saturation of water in both natural and artificial environments. Let’s look at three different types of diffused aeration systems.

  1. Powered units that run off of electricity are able to perform both shallow and deep-water aeration.
  2. Solar aeration uses solar panels to absorb sunlight and power the compressor.
  3. Windmill aeration turns wind into power for the compressor to push air into the diffusers.

Which unit is right for my pond? To answer this question, let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Electrically Powered Aeration Systems

  • Pros: The units will run 24/7. If you already have power stationed at your pond you have the options of single-phase or two-phase electrical power.
  • Cons: They increase your power bill.

Solar Aeration Units

  • Pros:  It draws its power from the sun and the look of the very cool and state of the art solar panel while not pulling on the power bill. If you live off the grid or you do not want to spend money to have power installed this unit could serve you well.
  • Cons: No sunlight, no diffused aeration. Also, worth mentioning the backup systems for these units are super expensive. With the unit not operating after the sun goes down, the plants are not giving off as much oxygen during the nighttime hours.

Windmill Aeration Unit

  • Pros: It uses the wind to power the compressor. It’s a windmill and it looks amazing doing its thing! This unit will not increase your power bill and if running electrical service is not in the budget this will save you a call to a licensed electrician. Did I mention the Windmill looks awesome?
  • Cons: No wind, no aeration. You need a clear area that will not obstruct the windmill from getting wind.

So, what is the best unit for you? You have to weigh the pros and cons! In a world where we want everything clean and green, the solar and windmill units look good while the electrically powered units are tried and true. If you are interested in obtaining more information and recommendations please contact us.