Tag Archives: lake management

“Water (for the) World” – Maryland Life Article Highlights Floating Island Project

Clean Water Maryland Initiatives

Photo by Christopher Myers - Maryland Life

Countries Taking Notice of Maryland’s Efforts

By Ryan Schultze – Patriot LWM

Living within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and more specifically, a stone’s throw from the Bay itself, we are fortunate to have a variety of people helping to improve it. For decades now the Bay has been suffering poor health from pollution and nutrient overload and virtually every species of wildlife has suffered the consequences. While it is true that the Chesapeake Bay Watershed consists of 6 States, Marylanders feel the repercussions the hardest, because all their environmental problems run right into our Bay. To make matters worse, Maryland’s booming development due to its proximity to Washington, DC is aiding in the loss of crucial wetlands which help to filter and remove these pollutants and nutrients from the equation. New technologies are giving conservationists new tools to do battle with, though.

Implementing clean water initiatives is tough work, but somebody’s got to do it, and we have the perfect backyard to prove their worth – the Chesapeake Bay. A recent article in Maryland Life Magazine by Donya Currie highlights some of these very issues-“With its 41 million acres of watershed and 200,000 miles of shoreline, the Bay is the most-studied estuary—which, by definition, contain salt water, fresh water, and brackish water, a mixture of both—in the world”.

Of course, every Country on the planet is experiencing these same water quality problems, also. Well, we must be doing something right. Maryland is doing so many things so well that other Countries are taking notice. The Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP) is a new initiative bridging public-private partnerships to address the massive water, energy, and pollution prevention issues throughout the Asian continent, highlighting local clean-water technologies being implemented in Maryland.  “Maryland is well-positioned to help in the quest for cleaner water, both thanks to the natural backyard laboratory that is the Chesapeake Bay and because a trove of scientists, engineers, and business owners has come together to showcase the viability of new technology for pollution prevention and cleanup.”(Maryland Life)

On the leading edge of water quality improvement using new technology are our partners at BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, one of the partners of MD-AEP. BlueWing and Patriot LWM are constantly promoting BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands, which have shown time and time again their benefit across the State in aquatic situations when it comes to water quality improvement. “They’re a concentrated wetland, and they’re made of all recycled materials, which is cool,” says Ted Gattino, a managing partner of the Ellicott City-based BlueWing Environmental Solutions and Technology. “They can be placed in almost any water body. The reports keep getting better and better.” “The Chesapeake is probably farther ahead than many areas in the world in starting to have integrated solutions to energy and the environment and agriculture” says Dr. George Oyler, founder of Clean Green Chesapeake. That being said, Maryland’s leadership in this battle to reclaim the Bay is surely turning heads elsewhere in the world, with other countries looking to us as an example. (Maryland Life)

For a comprehensive read about these new technologies being implemented, check out the attached link to the Maryland Life article “Water (for the) World”.

http://www.marylandlife.com/articles/water-%28for-the%29-world/

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Hope Floats – Man-made islands create ecosystems to heal polluted rivers

A few years ago, Patriot Land and Wildlife was fortunate to be involved with an innovative water quailty improvement project in Washington, DC on the Anacostia River. Teamed with Bluewing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, Patriot LWM helped install several BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands at Diamond Teague Park in DC, with the intention of providing much-needed water quality improvement. These BioHaven islands are capable of removing as many nutrients from the waterbody as 6 acres of natural wetlands.

Diamond Teague is just across the street from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and is a popular riverside destination for ballpark patrons, among others. The dual functionaility of water quality stewardship and ornamental landscaping allowed for a great project to occur, and lots of attention drawn to the problems suffered by our waterways.  Author Mike Cronin of “The Daily” spotlights the project.

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It turns out that recycled plastic may do more for the environment than just save it from unnecessary garbage. Man-made floating islands constructed from the stuff are helping to revive urban rivers devastated by centuries of industrial pollution.The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., for example, has been slowly coming back to life, roughly two years after the Maryland-based company Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technology anchored seven man-made islands there in an area near Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play. Those islands are the brainchild of Bruce and Anne Kania, the married couple who run Floating Islands International in Shepherd, Mont.“We are providing an affordable, doable, non-chemical solution, and people are going, ‘Aha!’ ” said Anne, Floating Islands’ CEO.Bruce realized years ago that wetlands work naturally to clean up pollutants, so the Kanias started mimicking floating ecosystems with recycled fiber from plastic bottles.Just days after the floating islands are placed in the water, a film of bacteria and other microbes forms on the mesh filters and other plastic parts of the fake landmasses, said Bruce, adding that the microbes eat nutrients and form biofilm in the process. Biofilm is the base of periphyton, which is in turn the base of the freshwater food chain. Everything from zooplankton to nymphs and minnows thrive off it.“They clean up the water and take nutrients that otherwise would have turned into algae and turn them into fish food,” said Bruce, who got the idea for the floating islands after observing the natural, peat-based floating islands of northern Wisconsin.“Three years ago, we could see only 14 inches into our 6.5-acre research pond,” he said. “Now, we can see 11 feet into it.”

The Kanias founded their company in 2005. Today they have seven manufacturers worldwide and 4,000 islands in use around the globe. Customers pay roughly $27 per square foot and may order any shape or size of floating island, which can be used in rivers, ponds, lakes and even the ocean.
Kevin Hedge, a wetland scientist and partner at Blue Wing, sees the synthetic islands as more than just a savior to an ailing environment.

“The floating islands are an ecological-restoration tool that also can be an economic-recovery tool,” he said.

Lanshing Hwang, the Maryland landscape architect who designed the island park in Washington, called it “an innovative approach — particularly for places that don’t have wetlands.

By Mike Cronin Saturday – May 21, 2011

Migration is for the “birds”…Resident Geese present new challenges for managers

The Canada Goose has long been a recognizable member of the waterfowl flotilla bobbing up and down on Maryland’s many lakes, rivers and ponds. From early childhood we are taught about the winter migration of waterfowl “flying South for the winter” and back North to lay and hatch their young.
As the years past and the occasional nesting pair became nesting flocks, one couldn’t help but wonder if the popular saying failed to make its way to the geese. Year round populations of geese have become a common occurrence in Maryland, going from neat to nuisance for many citizens.
 
The Resident Goose:
 
This new emergence of non-migrating geese have created a new term in the wildlife management community, the now infamous “Resident Goose”. These resident geese do just that, reside year round on area water bodies, lawns, golf courses and crop fields. If unharrased, they often roost in the same place night after night and utilize food sources in the immediate area day after day. With a mature goose defecating nearly a pound a day, the damage begins to mount in those areas. Problems including high nitrogen levels in water bodies, damage to crops, landscapes and ball fields from overgrazing, as well as the health hazards attributed to human interaction with their waste.
These geese begin nesting in late February and March with eggs hatching sometime in late April. Average clutch sizes range from 3-6 eggs with females reproducing after 2-3 years of age and sometimes getting very aggressive in defense of their nests during this time period. Sometime in late June to mid July these geese go through a 4-6 week molting period in which they lose their flight feathers and are stuck to the ground with the rest of us. This process goes on year after year with potential ages of resident geese reaching sometimes over 20 years.
These older resident geese have become very wise to the tricks of the hunting community, taking up residence often in uphuntable areas within the urban fringe. Golf course ponds, homeowners association stormwater management areas, local government water features and even tops of buildings often become preferred habitat; see attached video below.
 
Management Options:
 
There are a multitude of available management options that may be able to address your individual goose issues, not all of them work as advertised, but non-the-less some do work. Your basic goose control methods are broken down into the following:
  • Harassment (dogs, people, sound cannons, etc.)
  • Exclusion (Habitat modification, fence construction)
  • Repellents
  • Lethal (hunting, flightless round-up, egg addling)
Resident goose management can be a very complex and delicate issue, an issue which is just now beginning to make its way to the level currently experienced by suburban deer managers. An entire article can be written on each of the above methods, and we will most likely get into them more in the near future. If you would like more information on your goose management issues feel free to contact Patriot LWM at 240-687-7228 or visit us at www.patriotlwm.com/wildlife-control/.

Business Gazette Article Features Patriot LWM

In a welcome “coincidence”, the same day we celebrated the memory of an American Hero, an article with his name in it was published. We waited a day to put this story up to allow Kirk’s memory to be properly honored. Now, here is the article from the Business Gazette featuring Patriot Land and Wildlife. Hope you enjoy it.

CLICK HERE FOR STORY ON GAZETTE.NET

Constructing a Future: Wood Duck Boxes and You

Maryland is home to a rich variety of waterfowl species. We’ve all seen Canada geese honking their way from pond to field. Some of them endure the winter migration, and some of them are year-round residents who call Maryland home. Ever seen a wood duck? Well, much is the same with wood ducks, arguably the most beautiful duck native to North America.Wood ducks nest in tree cavities near water and utilize wetlands as their home to raise their young. Unfortunately, as urban sprawl occurs, more and more of these wetlands are being destroyed, limiting the wood duck’s habitat and success in Maryland. Don’t lose faith. A lot is being done to bring the population back to where it once existed. You can become part of the effort too, and it doesn’t take much.

Wood ducks suffered a serious decline in the late 19th century for a variety of reasons, including habitat loss and market hunting for their meat and plumage.  Because of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, market hunting was ended and measures were enacted to protect remaining habitat. Wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s, and the development of the artificial nesting box and its implementation by Federal and State governments and local wildlife enthusiasts in the 1930s began providing an additional boost to wood duck production. The hope was that the ducks would utilize the “cavity” characteristic of the boxes to nest. The ducks did, and they made an astounding comeback. Nesting sites are only half the battle, though. Woods ducks also require wetland habitat that provides them with shelter, food, and protection from predators. If you have a wooded stream or pond on your property or if you live along a Chesapeake Bay shore with woods nearby (which is alot of you!), you may be able to attract wood ducks simply by constructing a nest box.

Building a wood duck box is simple, inexpensive, and there are plenty of plans you can find online that detail designs, placement, etc. Do your homework.
The Maryland Wood Duck Initiative, an all-volunteer effort,  aims “to enhance Maryland’s wood duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which they live by advocating and demonstrating the merits of a “best practices” approach in managed nest programs.” State agencies like the Department of Natural Resources, conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, and companies like Patriot LWM are other important resources for anything wood duck related and are more than happy to  provide you with information and help develop your wood duck plan.

So, now for some more timely information. What are wood ducks doing right now in Maryland? Wood ducks nest from April to June, so right now is a great time to get your nesting boxes built, or cleaned out if you already have boxes (if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of being cooped up in the house and are itching for a reason to get outside and do something).  Add a few inches of wood shavings (don’t use sawdust because it can suffocate the ducklings) for nesting material, attach the boxes to poles (don’t forget the predator guards!), and place them around forested areas near the water for when they arrive. You’ve now become a part of the effort! The rest is up to the ducks.

A few professional tips:

  • Females often search for a nesting site early in the mornings; therefore try to face the opening of the box towards the east so the opening is more visible from morning rays of sunlight.
  • Try to avoid facing the opening towards the prevailing wind for the area as this will cause undo stress on the nesting birds.
  • Limit the amount of underbrush under the boxes to reduce predator access to the poles.

 If a wood duck finds your box suitable for laying eggs, in about 1 month 9-12 eggs will hatch and, within 24 hours, the ducklings will use their sharp claws to climb to the nest box entrance and fall to the ground or water.  Once on the ground, the female will lead the ducklings to the nearest body of water (they won’t come back to the nest, don’t take it personally). Wood duck young can fly in about 60 days from hatching; meanwhile, their mother looks after them and protects them from harm*courtesy of Maryland DNR*.  It’s always a good idea to check your nesting boxes once during the nesting season to clean them out and add new nesting material. Besides doing some housekeeping, a visit during the nesting season will show if your nesting boxes have been productive and improve the odds of the box being used again during the season.

So there you have it. You made an effort and it didn’t take much, did it? Enjoy the feeling that comes from conservation, and share it with a child – they are our future conservationists. And every time you catch a glimpse of a wood duck’s beautiful iridescent plumage or hear their unmistakable “ooo-eeekk” squeal echo through the woods or across the water, consider it a “Thanks.”

If you’d like to get a fully assembled wood duck box and predator guard contact Patriot LWM at 240-687-7228.

Too Much of a Good Thing? Not When it Comes to Water Quality

A little over a year ago, our fellow BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands professionals from Floating Islands Environmental Solutions began an experiment in water quality inside the city of Naples, Florida. The Louisiana crew made their way down and installed a series of Floating Treatment Wetlands in various nutrient loaded water bodies selected by the City. The following news report gives a small snapshot into the potential of this innovative technology. Although this video mainly highlights the habitat creation abilities of the islands, it’s hard to deny that something very positive is taking place in this water body. Enjoy!

New Study Shows Potential to Use Floating Treatment Wetlands to Mitigate Lake Eutrophication and Increase Fishery Production

With everyday that passes, the true benefit of Floating Treatment Wetlands technology becomes more and more apparent to us here at Patriot LWM. Besides its obvious visual benefits created by the islands ability to instantly create flourishing habitat above and below the water, the true potential of the islands can not be seen with the naked eye. The matrix design of recycled plastic material allow for an increased surface area on which nutrient processing biofilm-based microbes attach. From this floating base of operation, the microbes work to breakdown nutrients that pass by them in the water. Intuitively we can only assume that the more water the Floating Treatment Wetland matrix and the associated microbes come in contact with, the higher its nutrient processing potential. The following study by Floating Island International takes a unique look at this statement and some interesting ways to get water in need of treatment to the microbes in need of nutrients.

The Problem:

Wetlands have long been known as natures purifiers, but as the worldwide acreage of wetlands continues to fall coupled with increased human-caused nutrient loading, many water bodies around the world have experienced cases of hyper-eutrophication. Simply stated Eutrophication is a scientific term describing the overfertilization of lakes with nutrients and the changes that occur as a result. Negative environmental effects include anoxia, or loss of oxygen in the water with severe reductions in fish and other animal populations. In fresh water, partly as a result of normal seasonal stratification, nutrient loading can deplete oxygen levels within the livable temperature zone for cold‐water fish species.

The Case Study:

In Shepherd, Montana at the home of Floating Island International, a 30 foot deep, 6.5 acre lake sits within sight of the famed Yellowstone River. The water near the surface was too warm to support a trout fishery, while the cool water underneath lacked the dissolved oxygen (DO) to do the same. During late summer no location inside the lake could consistently provide the cool-water, high-DO environment needed by fish such as rainbow, brown and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. From a fishery and property management standpoint, this basically serves as a 6.5 acre puddle of water. Enter the Leviathan…

The Solution:

In April 2009, a 1250‐square‐foot Leviathan system, incorporating floating stream beds and grid‐ powered water circulation was installed in the lake. This system circulates up to 2000 gpm through the stream channels within the island. The basic concept takes water from all levels of the lake which would previouslynot come in contact with the wetlands and circulates them through the stream channels of Floating Treatment matrix where microbes can process the nutrients.

The method allows you to basically super-charge the nutrient processing capability of your Floating Treatment Wetland and turn a once stagnant waterbody into a highly productive member of your land management program.

The Result:

After 17 months of operation, water clarity had improved from a low of 14 inches of visibility to as much as 131 inches. Simultaneously, the water temperature gradient was reduced, creating a larger zone of “livable” water for fish. Two age classes of Yellowstone cutthroat trout were introduced 13 and 14 months into the test. Through the summer of 2010, a favorable temperature/dissolved oxygen strata ranging from the water surface down to a depth of at least 12 feet was maintained as potential cutthroat habitat. One‐year‐old and two‐year‐old black crappies were also introduced two months into the test, and naturally‐occurring northern yellow perch were present in the lake when it was filled. All three species have flourished.

Fish catch rates and growth rates are now being monitored at the lake. Initial data show that experienced fishermen can catch up to one perch per minute. Visual observations from diving and an underwater viewing station indicate that perch approaching or exceeding the Montana state record of 2 pounds 2 ounces now inhabit the lake.

The research lake is relatively unique in that it supports fish accustomed to cold water (Yellowstone cutthroat trout), temperate water (perch) and warm water (crappies). Montana officials have made two unsuccessful attempts at sustaining cutthroat populations in an adjacent stretch of the Yellowstone River, which is located a half‐mile away from the research lake.

Further additions to the square footage of the original design for 2010 have further increased the “livable area” for fish to a depth of more than 20 feet at certain times of the year. This further maximizes the useable production space for the lakes fishery habitat.


Hope for the Future:

As data continues to be collected and more projects initiated, the future is very bright for the use of Floating Treatment Wetlands to restore the health of Americas water bodies. Patriot LWM is currently working with Bluewing Environmental to solidify 2 Leviathan test projects in Maryland. Stay tuned for more exciting news.

For more details on the above mentioned study CLICK HERE.