If you have a lake, pond, stream or wetland on your property, you know how nice it can be to have the water right there. There’s nothing better than having the water right there to enjoy all year round. That said, you probably also know that there are special maintenance tasks involved in keeping your water feature clean and beautiful.
First things first: clean up your lake. If you have a stream, you may be getting litter making its way downstream to you. Make a point of being the person where the buck stops. Don’t add any litter to your water, and clean up any litter from upstream. If you have a still body of water, you may also need to look at the water itself and make sure that you have sufficient lake aeration to support a healthy ecosystem.
Aside from the obvious pollution of litter and trash, there is the less obvious pollution of runoff. This can be anything from lawn fertilizers to soil from erosion. One of the most common hidden offenders is a leaky septic system slowly overfeeding nutrients into the water. Runoff doesn’t just affect your water feature, it affects everything downstream and can even get into the water table.
Once you’ve done your best to control pollution, you should also try to control invasive aliens. Pull out plants that don’t add value to your water feature, but make sure to plant native whenever possible. Exotic plants may look nice in a catalog, but you never know if they’re going to push an important native species to extinction. That can have a negative impact, not just on the ecosystem of plants, but also on the local wildlife.
Enjoy the Wildlife
You will know that you have a healthy water feature when you see animals coming to visit. Herons and other migrating water birds rely on water habitats all over, and certain fish need streams and ponds to survive. The chorus of local frogs is a sure sign that you have a healthy local ecosystem. It’s something to be proud of, and also a source of beauty and entertainment throughout the year.
With your water feature clean and happy, you can enjoy the space as an aesthetic feature. At the same time, you can feel good knowing that your water feature provides an important habitat for the local flora and fauna, without causing damage to ecosystems further down the proverbial line.