As they are one of the most valuable assets of our neighborhood, SHPOA spends considerable amounts of time and money to manage our lake and ponds. Immediately below are simple steps for improving the water quality in our lakes and ponds. Further below are frequently asked questions.
Please read and take these Simple Steps for Improving Water Quality in our lake and ponds:
1. Prevent Phosphorus from getting into ponds by:
a) Have a soil test done to ascertain that fertilization is necessary
b) Use only non-phosphorus fertilization (check your commercial application)
c) Maintain a “no application zone” of 10-25 feet from the water’s edge
2. Properly maintain waterfront lawns
a) Water wisely. Excessive moisture in lawns increases the potential to move nutrients into water. Turn irrigation system off during periods of adequate rainfall
b) Mow high, recycle clippings back into the lawn
3. Minimize storm water runoff from your property
a) Redirect downspouts away from hard, paved surfaces
b) Plant vegetation near ponds to help slow runoff and provide filtration (also deters geese!)
As they are one of the most valuable assets of our neighborhood, SHPOA spends considerable amounts of time and money to manage our ponds. Following is a guide to that management:
What is the goal of SHPOA’s efforts?
To maintain the best possible water quality and prevent the ponds from returning to their natural state, a shrub swamp/emergent marsh swamp (see ‘pond history’, https://shorewoodhillspoa.org/, in the most efficient, pro-active, cost-effective ways possible.
How is this being done?
A three-pronged approach: An air-max system, hand raking and chemical treatments.
How do these fit into the natural cycle of the ponds?
Organic matter in the form of leaves, limbs, algae, clippings and weeds continually drop into the ponds as does runoff from fertilizer, pet waste, driveways, roads and eroded soil. In addition, the storm drains in the neighborhood all drain into the ponds. After falling to the bottom of the ponds this mixture decomposes into muck. It is this muck that feeds algae and aquatic plants in the ponds.
An air-max system was placed in the small pond at the entrance of the sub and the area west of the bridge in the summer of 2013. Oxygen that the air-max system cycles to the bottom of the ponds helps eliminate the muck. In conjunction with the use of Muckaway, a biological agent, the overall health of the small pond has increased through the years.
Hand raking removes the muck in areas where wind brings/collects a buildup of organic matter. These are areas where the buildup of organic matter not an individual homeowner’s responsibility and in areas where the buildup impedes water flow. 15 cubic yards of muck was removed from the ponds in the fall 2013 and slightly less in 2014. The option of large-scale raking has not been available since then.
Chemicals kill the algae and weeds. Yellow signs placed on properties adjacent to the ponds indicate exactly what/why/when chemicals were put into the water and any use restrictions (example can be found below ‘Lake Treatment Notice.’) Aqua-Weed, the company that treats the ponds, has an excellent website detailing the chemicals used (product info) and types of algae/plants (plant id.) www.aquaweed.com.
What are the variables in these equations?
Mother Nature. Small amounts of rain limits the amount of runoff into the pond; lots of rain brings lots of runoff. Small amounts of rain causes the pond levels to drop. Cold weather inhibits algae growth; hot weather encourages it. If there has been too much rain or too little it is ineffective to hand rake.
What are the limitations?
The Michigan EGLE (Environment Great Lakes Energy) limits the amount and nature of chemicals that can be put into the ponds. Pond access limits the areas that can be hand raked. It is difficult to find people that are willing to hand rake on a large scale (which is a few-day project that involves getting in the water and ferrying debris to a dumpster.) Money limits the number of air-max systems, but more importantly, it appears air-max systems are only effective in certain circumstances such as the small, self-contained pond at the front of the subdivision.
What is the reality?
Sometimes the ponds will look good, sometimes not so much. They will always look awful after an algae bloom and before chemicals are sprayed to kill the algae. SHPOA can only be concerned with the overall health of the ponds, not how they look on any given day. The overall health of the ponds is good. In general summer stresses the ponds, but once fall arrives with cooler weather and rain the ponds seem to stabilize quickly, especially in comparison to other ponds in the area.
What can you as an individual do to help the water quality?
Educate yourself (see below.) Hand rake your property/water edge. Have a soil test done to determine that you actually have to fertilize your lawn.
Waterfront Wisdom: Healthy Habits for Clean Water https://www.oakgov.com/water/resources/education/Documents/EnvEducation/waterfront_wisdom_booklet_20180312.pdf
Take classes: MSU Extension-Oakland provides learning experiences about taking care of the water, soil and plants that represent the quality of life in Oakland County. They offer workshops, seminars and classes on lakescaping and maintaining an environmentally friendly yard. https://www.oakgov.com/msu/programming/Pages/natural-resources.aspx
Updated - December 2021
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