A comment re. lake muck solutions

October 28th, 2016

2016-09-19-03-16-49The Lake Stewards have conducted data searches regarding alternative solutions to expensive dredging in order to reduce muck on the shorelines of Lake Scugog. The following is a write-up that we found on https://www.lakemat.com/education/lake-weed-blog/2015/03/current-review-lake-muck-removal-products as we have come across that covers both our on-lake research and our data search. We have made a few comments of our own, they are in regular type bold.

There have been comments to us especially about the use of ‘enzyme pellets’ which are essentially probiotics for muck digestion; — bacteria that help speed up digestion of vegetable matter. Unfortunately, areas where people really want to eliminate muck contain — as this article states — a high amount of ‘dirt’ that has washed down from the shoreline or from local ditches. In our lake it also contains a high level of inorganc ‘marl’ which is basically the natural calcium deposition from our very limestone rich surrounding land.

These are still products that would require approvals by the Trent-Severn Waterway and by the Ministry of the Environment as there is a high possibility that they might make negative changes, at least temporarily, in either the water column or the lake bed micro-environment that would be detrimental to fish or other creature habitat.

However, this is a good outline by an expert of the efficacy of ‘solutions’ to reducing lake muck.

“Lake Muck Aeration

I love aeration. It is great for your lake. It won’t make muck go away, or get rid of many lake weeds or algae — but aeration will help all of them by adding oxygen to the lake. Aeration makes your lake feel younger. Fish love it, the things fish eat love it —  and the good bacteria in your water will start reproducing by the trillions and happily gorge on organic stuff in the water.

A friend has a solar powered aerator in a four-acre pond — there are fewer weeds near it — there’s even a few feet of open water around it. With all that extra oxygen, the good bacteria stay busy eating as much as they can. It’s a good thing for ponds. 

(Our lake has high levels of dissolved oxygen already because of wave action, boat action, wind — so this will not work in our lake and it is extremely expensive).

Lake Muck Blower (Lake Muck Blaster)

Lake muck blowers can really move muck around. Using electric fans to create underwater turbulence, they carry muck away from dock areas, (blowers are often mounted on docks). Other versions float or set on the lake bottom. Two things bother me about lake muck blowers.  First, running a live electrical cord in a lake — attached to a motor with a spinning blade — What could possibly go wrong there?

Lake Muck Dredging

The grand-daddy — the nuclear option. Dredging is a big commitment — usually done by entire lake communities — but it removes muck by the tons. If a lake is managed well afterward, the effects of lake muck dredging can last a long time.

When I was young, a guy dredged a 6-foot deep canal at our lake. But he didn’t manage it after he dug it out.  Within five years it was 2-feet deep — with 4-feet of muck on the bottom. Modern dredging, along with proper lake management practices can be very effective. In a sense, it turns back the clock, giving lakes more healthy years of life. 

Lake Muck Mat

Lake weed control mats kill lake weeds by blocking sunlight as they lie on your lake bottom. It’s the most effective, safe way to control lake weeds in small areas like around docks. The MuckMat Pro creates an immediate, firm bottom, right on top of your lake muck — using the same materials and technology that engineers use to build highways over soft soils and wetlands. MuckMat Pro’s are easy to install and guaranteed.

Unfortunately, they do get covered with silt and then get weeds and then they are impossible to remove and start again. Also, they must be approved and only for certain areas around your dock. See the permitting process from the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Lake Muck Pellets

2015-04-10-05-45-01-640x480I know you have common sense. You own a place on a lake, you can use a computer, and you’re doing research right now. Those three things say you have common sense.  Apply common sense to lake muck pellets, (bacteria pellets). Bacteria are living creatures and living creatures eat organic things. We eat cheeseburgers or tofu —  bacteria eat dead weeds, leaves, fish poop — organic stuff.  Most lake muck is about 10% organic, bacteria can eat this. The other 90% is dirt — sand, clay and silt. It’s like fiber in your diet, it’s not food, it just passes through.  So, what eats dirt? NOTHING EATS DIRT!  Because — it’s just dirt — it passes throughLet’s say your muck is 50 inches deep, and bacteria eats all your organic material, — you still have 45 inches of muck.Right now, you already have trillions of hungry bacteria in every cubic foot of water in your lake. If they could eat dirt, they would have by now. Throwing some muck removal pellets in the water won’t change that. I read a review — a guy tested muck pellets. He put muck in buckets with lake water, carefully marking muck depth. He added digester pellets, then even more pellets, twice the amount. The result was — nothing… nothing at all.I’m a Lake Guy, not a Pond Guy. Muck digester pellets may work in small ponds with aerators. In lakes? …Not so much.

Lake Muck Rake

I’ve looked at, (and occasionally use) several rakes marketed as “muck removal rakes.” They are big rakes, some have special teeth. Think about, “raking lake muck” in water, for a moment. Can you really see that happening? Me either… I actually tried it. It’s not a practical idea — not to mention, raking in a lake is a lot of work.They’re really for raking lake weeds. A “lake muck rake” is a marketing term — not a real thing — it’s a rake for lake weeds. Living on water, you’ll probably want a big rake, sooner or later.

Lake Muck Removal Pumps (lake muck vacuums)

The idea is — suck up the muck and put it somewhere else. Muck vacuuming is mostly for private ponds, because the owner can chose where to put the muck. Commercial companies bring in big equipment that vacuums muck out of ponds, and pumps it up to 2,000 feet away. The fees are usually based on time and materials. Works great for small ponds.  For lakes, the hurdles, high costs, government regulations and disposing of all that muck, makes removal pumps impractical. But for private ponds — they’re very effective.

Lake Muck Removal (Gizmos)

Can’t group these with real, commercial muck removal pumps. Many contraptions being marketed as muck pumps — aren’t even pumps! Instead they spin, blow or drag something around on the lake bottom.These kinds of muck products stir up silt and break off pieces of lake weeds, (which settle on the nearby lake bottom). Not too effective, but mostly harmless.Some bad ones however, suggest “blowing the muck away.” That’s code for blowing muck to a neighbor’s beach or out further into your lake. Don’t do that — it’s rude and causes even more problems for your lake.Lake Muck ShovelThese are very clever lake muck removal tools. Lake muck shovels have holes (like a colander) letting water pass through them and prevents shovel suction when digging in muck.I’m not sure why you’d dig up muck in the first place… but if you were, this would be the shovel to have, (it works on dry land, too).I like innovative products, and lake muck shovels are a new take on a very old tool, I may get one. Prices range from $49 to $99.

Lake Muck Chemicals

Last minute entry, (I was asked about chemicals for muck).No, there’s no such thing as chemicals that remove muck — Remember, lake muck is mostly just dirt. (Chemicals don’t make dirt go away, except when you’re doing laundry).I hope this clears up your muck questions, at least some of them.”

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One thought on "A comment re. lake muck solutions">

  1. John says:

    Would something like this be approved for use with a permit?


    I don’t know if it would or not because it actually might add to the problem. First it is specifically for a sandy bottom. I don’t think it would work if you have a mud bottom which most of our shoreline is composed of. Secondly, each time you cut either weeds or the alga growth(Starry Stonewort) all of those cuttings, unless they are totally cleaned up, will just root and create more weed.

    What we have been looking into instead is chemical free jute matting which you weight down. It has holes in it that allow air bubbles through so it doesn’t hump up, and it is bio-degradeable. Others have been experimenting with types and sources and we will report on those results soon.

    In the meantime look up permitting on the Trent-Severn Waterway site. It gives basically what they will allow and what they do not. Certainly you are allowed to clean up a specific area around your dock.

    Keep in touch.