Lindenhurst Lake Management
Management - Protection and Restoration
Lake protection is the most cost-effective and long-term approach to lake management; that is, management actions that prevent the degradation of lake quality or attainable lake use. Once degraded a lake restoration project may be needed (e.g. carp removal) to improve lake quality and bring it back as near as physically possible to a healthy state.
The Lindenhurst Lakes Commission supports a comprehensive program that incorporates both protection and restoration activities, as appropriate, to effectively improve and maintain the quality of our Village lakes.
Historically, the central theme of limnology has been that the productivity and dynamics of a lake ecosystem are regulated almost exclusively by inputs of nutrients and energy at the bottom of the food chain. Increasingly in recent years, however, scientists have recognized that these bottom-up approaches to lake management may not be sufficient nor the only means for achieving desired management objectives and levels of lake quality. The underlying principle of top-down management (biomanipulation) is that human-controlled manipulations of the food web, especially of apex predators (e.g. muskies, largemouth bass), can control the abundance and productivity of the lower food chain (algae) which in turn can effect water clarity, nutrient recycling, and other physical and chemical lake characteristics. The basic hypothesis on biomanipulation is that an increase in the biomass of large piscivore fish should cause cascading biological pressure on small fish (bluegill), which consume zooplankton, which in turn consume algae. Bottom-up factors establish the potential lake productivity, while top-down factors (predation and food web processes) determine the realization of that potential.
Lindenhurst lakes are shallow man made lakes, very eutrophic (fertile) and ideally suited for largemouth bass and bluegill. However they are also ideally suited for carp and bullhead, which cause high turbidity and loss of good recreational use. Biomanipulation through catch-and-release of predator fish (e.g. largemouth bass, muskie and channel catfish) and prohibition of the use of bait fish combined with public education will help mitigate carp-bullhead reintroduction, reproduction and recruitment into adulthood.
BIOMANIPULATION - LAKE RESTORATION
Three of our lakes, Linden, Waterford and Potomac have in the past required complete restoration because of the intentional introduction of carp to the biosystem. Whether well-intentioned or not, fisherman and residents need to understand that carp in small impoundment lakes are extremely detrimental to the system and within three years of introduction will dominate the fish population to a level of about 80%. The constant bottom feeding keeps nutrients stirred up and available. Phytoplankton proliferates. Water clarity drops severely. Sight feeding piscivores (bass, muskie) have difficulty locating food in the pea soup green waters. Light penetration diminishes impacting the emerging aquatic vegetation (macrophytes) negatively reducing or eliminating them. If the spawning beds are not disturbed by the rooting carp, the stirred silt settles on spawning beds diminishing or eliminating recruitment. A female carp produces about one million eggs and deposits them throughout the water as males follow fertilizing them. The lake rapidly goes out of balance. The dramatic effect on a small lake can be seen in the comparison aerial photograph taken after Lake Linden was restored, but before carp were removed from Lake Waterford
Rotenone was used to remove all fish from Lake Linden, Lake Waterford and Lake Potomac. Rotenone is a piscicide. A piscicide is a chemical that impacts only fish with gills. It is estimated that during this latest reclamation project, 15,000-20,000 pounds of carp were removed from Lake Waterford and Lake Potomac. That weight is estimated to only represent the dead fish that floated to the surface and shoreline that could be collected over about a one week period of time. Many carp remained on the bottom of the lakes and just naturally biodegraded.
Based on fisheries biologist recommendations the lakes were restored with a balanced starter population of largemouth bass and bluegill. Channel catfish were also introduced. It took four to five years to reopen Lake Linden to fishing. The bass fingerlings introduced took the normal three years to grow to spawning maturity. The biologists recommended that there be no fishing allowed until after the first successful spawn. No fishing was permitted until the following year. The success of the restoration years ago of Lake Linden is evidenced by the excellent angling on Lake Linden enjoyed by residents today.
Lake Waterford was restored in a generally similar manner to Lake Linden. For this most recent restoration fathead minnows were added along with the small bluegills to Lake Waterford and Lake Potomac for forage for the adult largemouth bass. They were intentionally purchased from an Arkansas hatchery, which guarantees their minnow stock to be free of carp. However, instead of fingerling bass and bluegill, adult largemouth bass and adult bluegill were reintroduced into Lake Waterford in adequate numbers along with bluegill fingerlings and fathead minnows. Adult channel catfish were also introduced. The lake restoration took place in late summer and early fall of the year 2000. The following spring we experienced an excellent spawn and were able to open the lake to catch and release fishing avoiding the four to five year delay experience with the restoration of Lake Linden.
To help control crappie and bluegill populations the decision was made to add another apex predator to the fish population. Muskie were chosen over Northern Pike because they will not reproduce in our lakes. Hybrid Tiger Muskies and Leech Lake Spotted strain muskies have been introduced into all our lakes as part of our restocking program. This has also been very successful.
The addition of muskies has been fortuitous since "bait-bucket biologists" continue to upset the fisheries biologist recommended balance of the lake. Crappies were not recommended because they are very prolific and voracious predators, which compete with largemouth bass. They were reintroduced to Lake Linden after its restoration and again to Lake Waterford. Since Lake Waterford was not yet at apex predator carrying capacity the crappie population has literally exploded and theyare devastating the young-of-the-year (YOY) population of bass and bluegill. The seining report from 2002 showed no YOY fish in Lake Waterford. This years seining report is a bit more encouraging, but Lake Waterford still lags behind Lake Linden in seinable YOY. This is currently attributed to the tremendous population of crappie that can be caught on every cast. The crappies are present in four and six inch cohorts meaning two successful spawns in the past with an expected bumper crop this year.
BIOMANIPULATION - EMERGING AQUATIC VEGETATION
All our residents enjoy our lakes but their appreciation for emerging aquatic vegetation (macrophytes) varies considerably. Some of us enjoy groomed lawns to the waters edge and pristine clear blue water with no weeds to interfere with swimming and boating. Others enjoy the birds, frogs, turtles, wildlife and native plants that shoreline buffer strips encourages. With the interest of the good of all residents and our lakes of philosophy is to promote the health of our ecosystem. This includes promotion of shoreline stabilization with buffer strips and the planting and seeding of appropriate emerging macrophytes along our shoreline. Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), blue flag iris (Iris virginicaI) and pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) have been successfully introduced on suitable public shorelines and with the help of interested residents on their private shorelines. More information for those interested can be obtained by contacting us or can be found at other locations on our web site (e.g. Emerging Macrophytes, Links, Shoreline Stabilization, How you can help)
DAMAGE TO EMERGING AQUATIC VEGETATION
Emerging macrophytes and filamentous algae are impacted by fertilizers and herbicides. As part of our management philosophy we control the submergent undesirable macrophytes in our lakes with herbicides applied by our fisheries biologist and lakes manager Lyle Erickson of McCloud Services. The prolific algae blooms are caused by increased nutrients added to our lakes by fertilizers, and particularly by the high phosphate content of most fertilizers. Therefore we encourage use of phosphorus free fertilizers sold locally. The use of lawn fertilizers that contain herbicides for broad leaf plants flush into our lakes and negatively impact our beneficial shoreline macrophytes like cattails and the arrowhead and blue flag iris mentioned above. The damage can be seen by a whitening of the normally green leaves at the base of the stalks.
As commissioners we continue to learn all we can about lake management for the good of our community, its residents and the lakes, fish and wildlife. If you are interested in what we are doing or have questions or concerns you are welcome to join us at anytime at our bimonthly meetings or read our meeting minutes.