Professional Recommendations
for HOAs & Property Managers


Aerating a Pond/Lake with Limited Power Availability

Aeration has many benefits for improving and maintaining water quality in ponds and lakes, however some neighborhood ponds do not have electrical power sources readily available at the pond edge. There are options to aerate your pond or lake even when an electrical power supply is not readily available.

  • Diffused aeration – Compressors are located on land and supply air to diffusers at the bottom of the pond via weighted tubing. We use compressors capable of pumping that air, literally, a mile if necessary. That means that you can locate the compressor away from your pond or lake and deliver the air in a pipe (inexpensive) to the pond edge and then send it to the diffusers to improve your water quality. This can also be useful in areas prone to vandalism. Diffused aeration is also effectively and affordably offered with options for solar powered compressors.
  • Windmills – Aerating windmills are available in various sizes and designs. These use a direct drive compressor that supplies air to the diffusers. These are low maintenance and in areas with a regular supply of wind, do a great job of aerating and mixing a pond.
  • Fountains? Yes, fountains can also be powered with solar panels. Operating a motor for a fountain does require more power and as a result more solar panels, so having the right location for the solar array is important.

Electrical grid power is still a great option and a professional electrician can help your HOA navigate the process of bringing electrical power to a location for an aeration installation as well.

Should we have Ducks and Geese?

Waterfowl are beautiful and entertaining to observe. They are naturally attracted to bodies of water including our ponds and lakes in neighborhoods. Too many waterfowl taking up residence can cause problems with polluting water with waste, as well as eroding the shorelines. 25 permanently resident Canadian geese produce 13 tons of manure per year. Much of this would be the result of consuming grass near the water body, increasing erosion as well as regularly depositing waste in the community area near the pond (think barefoot children). Feeding ducks and geese is almost irresistible, however, bread and dry corn are discouraged. If you must, feed canned corn or peas, and limit your feeding as much as possible.

You do not need to provide a diet for them. Ducks and geese reproduce and can get protective of nests and young.

Never harass wild birds without a permit as many are federally protected. This includes birds migrating to your pond to eat fish.

Domestic ducks can be removed humanely and relocated.

Wood ducks are a good citizen and installing a duck box to encourage them can be really rewarding as they will raise their young there and do not seem to mind sharing the pond with humans nearby.

Giant Snails and Bubblegum in the Pond

Apple snails (Pomacea maculata) are an ever more prevalent invasive species seen in South Louisiana. The snails are all a species from Asia and likely introduced through the aquarium industry. They aggressively eat native vegetation and are harmful to wetland habitats in that manner, as well as competing with other native species. They also reproduce rapidly in addition to mature individuals being the size of an apple. They climb up vegetation and adjacent structures to the water and lay hundreds of eggs (500-700 every two weeks) on the structures about 6 to 12″ above the water level. The eggs are the color of pink bubble gum and are quite visible from a distance on vegetation and bulkheads, boats, and pilings. Currently there are no chemical treatments approved by the EPA for treating apple snails in our domestic waters. Presently our best recommendation is to remove adults when you see them and to stock red ear sunfish also named “shellcracker”, or “chinquapin”. They consume small snails readily and will keep the population down. If you see the pink eggs on a structure you can simply knock them off into the water which will drown the eggs. These snails also carry parasites that can be transferred to humans, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when handling them.

Pond and Lake Water Quality: Litter

Litter is a huge problem in Louisiana and we handle this issue directly every day with pond and lake management. Litter is ugly and picking it up is no fun. When it gets wet in your pond or lake it is less likely to get removed, but it has real consequences. Keeping litter away from water bodies and storm drains is important for several reasons including maintaining water quality.

  • Litter lowers your property values.
  • Litter encourages disrespect of property and more litter.
  • Litter can damage or kill wildlife.
  • Litter in your waterbody or storm drain can eventually find its way to larger natural waters or even the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Litter can damage fountains, and cause repair bills and service interruptions.

Common litter making its way to your neighborhood pond or lake: Fishing line, ketchup packets, plastic grocery bags, tennis balls, fast food containers (some with food), and kids toys are all common. Construction debris is common in neighborhoods still adding homes. (Lumber, insulation, house wrap, and food containers) The long list of things we have removed from ponds?… Well, I will spare you.

How can you help?
  • Post a sign at the pond/lake and make a trash can available.
  • Communicate to contractors that they need to keep trash and debris contained on their worksite for disposal.
  • Avoid any loose debris from trash or lawn waste near storm drains on your street. Many of those storm drains are going directly to your stormwater retention pond/lake.
  • Pick up dry trash near the shoreline before the wind/rain deposits it in the water and make it wet trash that is less fun to remove.
  • If you have people that fish the pond they should be specifically instructed not to throw tangled fishing line or baits in the water and to take all bait containers, etc. with them.

Pond and Lake Water Quality: Lawn and Landscape

Maintaining lawns and landscapes is a great endeavor for maintaining property values and quality of life in a neighborhood. Being aware of the pond/lake in our activities can help maintain water quality. Fertilizer and lawn debris that is deposited in water bodies rapidly adds nutrients to the water that will grow algae and increase nuisance weeds and vegetation.

  • Fertilize your lawn and shrubs conservatively and avoid doing this prior to large storms that will flush your investment off your lawn and into the stormwater feeding your pond/lake.
  • Do not blow lawn debris into the street, or directly into storm drains as a method of disposal.
  • Repair areas of erosion feeding into the pond/lake or the stormwater feeding it.
  • When mowing around shorelines, leave a buffer area to capture debris.
  • When using a directional mower, never blow grass clippings into the water. (Common issue)
  • Make sure that the professional landscape maintenance crews in your neighborhood are aware of the issues and your policy.

Pond and Lake Water Quality: Pet Waste

If you walk your dog in a designated green space, it is polite to pick up their waste and dispose of it in a trash receptacle. Some homeowner associations, parks, or apartment complexes will even provide the trash receptacle and bio degradable bags. Biodegradable bags do not simply mean that you should throw your pet waste in a natural area for nature to take care of it.  Believe it or not it is very common for people that are inconsiderate to throw pet waste bags directly into the water at a pond/lake when no one is looking. In addition to making unsanitary conditions for your neighbors, the neighborhood kids, and professionals maintaining your pond/lake, it rapidly adds nutrients to the pond which can lead to algae and nuisance vegetation growth.

Make receptacles and bags available, and maintain them. Use signage to give instructions and raise awareness.

We all love animals. Animals make waste. Properly dispose of it.

Fish Stocking for your Neighborhood

Should you consider stocking your neighborhood pond or lake? This is a good idea, especially for water bodies connected with a park or other greenspace with access to the residents.

A few possible negatives:

  • A good fishery will attract more activity to the pond/lake and as long as they respect the area and clean up, this is a positive. This can also mean that visitors who are not residents may try to visit your pond to fish. There may be conflict with access to the pond/lake in and through homeowners property, the use of boats, catch and release, as well as conflict between usage groups- the homeowners adjacent to the pond/lake verses the whole neighborhood.
  • That being said, a fishery can be a wonderful addition to your neighborhood assets. Parents and kids can fish together and fishing is great for kids. It can be a nice social activity as you fish with your neighbors too. Kids can “accidentally” get interested in biology as well.
What fish can you stock?
  • First it is good to stock bluegill and redear sunfish. After these develop for 6 months to a year, you can stock largemouth bass fingerlings. These should be able to make a sustainable fishery with reproduction and some management. Catfish are easy to raise and can also be stocked with this traditional group of fish without any interference.
  • There are other species to consider as well. Hybrid bluegill can grow faster and larger than non- hybrids but should not be considered for a reproducing population. Stock, grow, catch… stock more. Hybrid-striped bass also readily take feed and can be great fun to catch as they are aggressive and make a great fight.

In addition to consulting with you to determine if stocking is a good idea for your neighborhood, we can help you choose a stocking plan, and enhance a fishery for your pond/lake.

Good Policy for Fountains

We service fountains on a regular basis for warranty and non-warranty work, and there are a few things you can do to reduce the service interruptions on the aerating fountain in your pond/lake.

  • Keep trash and debris out of the water body, whether that is a personal responsibility or whether it is contracted with a management company. Plastic grocery bags and fishing line are the most destructive.
  • Encourage people fishing not to cast towards the fountain. There are ropes holding the fountain securely in place and there are also electrical power cables that are used to operate the fountain and lights. Frequently we encounter fish baits that are hung old the fountain ropes and occasionally on the power cables. Hooks that pierce the jacket on a power cable allow water to enter and will not allow the fountain to operate. These repairs can be quite costly if ignored and avoiding them is best. Raise awareness with your neighbors, and especially young people, fishing to stay away from fountains and to not cast near them. They also need to pick up all gear and debris when done. The people most active around a pond/lake can become the greatest defenders of it with some education.
  • Also mulch should never be added near a shoreline where it can be flushed into a pond/lake during a heavy rain storm. Hardwood mulch you can jam a fountain propeller and lock the motor. Once again this is best avoided to reduce fountain maintenance costs and product damage. Other mulch can cause simple clogs or just general unsightly debris on the water. Consider sodding or a groundcover species for areas near the water instead of a mulched bed. Mulch is never a good solution to eroded areas near a shoreline.