Pond Watch Program

 

Pond Watch is a citizen volunteer monitoring program established by the Lee County Hyacinth Control District to educate citizens about pond management in stormwater ponds.  Homeowners will receive an analysis of the pond and surroundings that relate to conditions that trigger aquatic weed and algae problems.  The focus of the program is to identify and manage the source of the nutrient problem and not just the problem itself.

 There is no charge for this service, however, the volunteer is expected to bring a water sample from their pond to the District facility every month in order to participate in the program and to understand how using best management practices can improve water quality and reduce excessive weed and algae growth. LCHCD staff provide the sampling containers and instructions on how to take the sample.

 Sampling

 Sampling dates are the second Monday of every month.  A preliminary report will be provided with every monthly visit and an annual report will be presented at the annual workshop in the spring. This workshop provides a forum for sharing information among all Pond Watch participants.

 Laboratory Analysis

 The Lee County Hyacinth Control District Water Quality Laboratory is a certified laboratory (Cert. #E25945) by the State of Florida that analyzes samples of water for the following parameters:

             Total Phosphorus and Ortho Phosphate (Standard Method 4500 PE)

             Nitrates and Nitrites (Standard Method 4500 NO3 E)

             Ammonia and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) (Standard Method 4500 NH3 F)

             Chlorophyll a (EPA Method 445.0)

 Phosphorus and nitrogen are nutrients necessary for plant growth but an excess of either can cause problems. We measure different forms of these nutrients to help identify the source of the problem.  Sometimes the presence of one of these nutrients may trigger the growth of planktonic algae. We measure the parameter Chlorophyll a for example, a photosynthetic pigment present in algae, to determine the extent of algal growth.  This information, along with individual observations, may help identify the source of excessive nutrients that stimulates the growth of algae and aquatic weeds. Management recommendations are then made.

 Most ponds and lakes in Lee County are artificially created to help control the quality and quantity of the stormwater associated with the pond watershed.  As such it is important to determine their pollutant removal efficiency.  Stormwater ponds collect pollutants and debris by detaining and slowing the discharge of stormwater to public water bodies. Pond aeration is often a management practice we recommend to address nutrient and low oxygen problems, especially in relatively deep ponds.  If you would like to participate in the Pond Watch program, please contact us at the Lee County Hyacinth Control District.