With millions of lakes dotting every continent on Planet Earth, there’s no doubt that these bodies of water play crucial roles in sustaining life. In fact, the Great Lakes alone help support about 6,000 different species, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
Due to the importance of natural lakes, the way we care for them and aim to preserve them is vital. Unfortunately, there are numerous situations that can negatively impact our natural lakes and how they’re able to provide the necessities many wildlife require.
Below are four of the most common problems natural lakes face and what we can do to resolve and/or prevent them.
1. Water level changes
The water level of natural lakes can alter over time due to various circumstances: rain and snowfall, runoff from rivers or tributaries, and evaporation and precipitation imbalances due to climate change. Too little of water and numerous species will directly suffer. However, high water levels pose danger to nearby homes, people, and farmland if flooding occurs.
By taking action against climate change, we can avoid or fix low and high water levels of lakes around the world.
Eutrophication or hypertrophication occurs when a lake has an abundance of inorganic nutrients, silt, and organic matter. In turn, this can encourage excess algae growth, which as a result, can deplete the oxygen levels of a lake and affect the ability of wildlife such as fish to thrive.
Controlling how soil, chemicals, and nutrients are able to enter natural lakes by ensuring farmers, construction workers, and timber harvesting companies maintain the best practices is one way to prevent eutrophication. Likewise, having communities maintain and treat stormwater runoff is critical to preventing and resolving eutrophication.
3. Milfoil growth
Milfoil includes approximately 69 different aquatic plant species that are aggressive, non-native, and noxious. Their infestation is unattractive, can make for a dangerous environment to be in, and can kill native plants as it reduces the amount of light reaching the lake.
One of the most efficient ways to get rid of excess milfoil growth in natural lakes is to take advantage of professional milfoil removal services to get the job done swiftly and accurately.
4. Low oxygen levels
Make lakes in the United States are experiencing low oxygen levels as the climate warms. This is unfortunate as most fish need a dissolved oxygen level of 1 mg/l at a minimum. Dipping below this point, the fish population can rapidly deteriorate in a matter of hours. Oxygen levels can deplete due to planktonic algae blooms, bacterial growth, excess vegetation, or pond turnover.
This issue can be prevented in natural lakes by regularly monitoring dissolved oxygen levels by pumping oxygen into the lake, supplementing wave and wind activity, and adding plants to the lake.
With many threats and problems our world’s natural lakes may encounter, it’s our duty to ensure our lakes are well protected over the years. From water level changes to low oxygen levels, we can put effort into resolving or even preventing issues like this from occurring from the start. In the end, preserving our natural lakes is an important move for species around the world.