Mountain View College had an issue with our pond back in 1995 because there was an excessive amount of buildup of aquatic growth and sludge. The aquatic growth and sludge prevented movement throughout the pond and caused the water not to flow through. Because of this, MVC contracted a company to clean out the pond and make it look decent again. Recently, MVC has noticed that there has been an excessive amount of invasive plant growth in the pond. Mountain View College contracted Magnolia Fisheries incorporated to treat the pond as it has successfully treated ponds throughout many DCCCD campuses.
They will be using five chemicals which include Sonar AS: systemic control of submersed vegetation, Captain XTR: algaecide, Triclopyr: systemic, emergent weed treatment, Aqua King Non-Ionic Surfactant, and Aquathol contact herbicide.
I think Mountain View College should contract Magnolia Fisheries Inc. for many reasons including, the expenses they will save, the image the college puts off to future alumni, cleanliness of the pond and school, environment of the species that survive off the pond and the ecosystem of the pond overall.
However, with this, also comes consequences. Treating the pond with chemicals can alter the pH levels and the pond’s environment and ecosystem. The chemicals entered into the pond can also be fatal for the aquatic life that live there.
A pond is a “A shallow, nutrient rich pond, exposed to sunlight with little water flowing through it will be teeming with algae and aquatic plants”. Many species and organisms depend on a pond, it is so much more than just a tiny body of water that you pass by every day on the way to school.
(PSU.EDU) According to a scholarly article, “Ponds have been shown to contain a greater proportion of the regional biodiversity than any other types of wetlands including lakes, ditches, and rivers. In addition, ponds also have a greater diversity of plants and animals. Furthermore, ponds also contain a greater proportion of rare species”. So many people overlook how important a pond is to our environment. All types of organisms rely on ponds including birds, fish and plants. We know, invasive plants are what they mean, they are simply invasive.
However, it isn’t just one plant that is causing damage to the pond. Invasive plants can include many different types of plants including algae. Some examples of invasive plants would be Duckweed, Watermeal, Hydrilla, and Purple Loosestrife. (Lake Restoration) Notably, to have invasive plants stop the flow of water interrupts all life around the pond because some organisms may not receive the nutrients due to the lack of water passing through. (Hassall and Hollinshead)
To further add on, invasive plants or undesirable aquatic plants can throw off the pond’s ecosystem. Desired aquatic plants that rely on the pond exchange needed nutrients from the pond and in return they provide shelter to fish, they also serve as food for some species, and they also provide oxygen. In other words, the pond and the desired aquatic plants have a symbiotic relationship with one another because they both benefit from each other, in this case the plant is symbiont. Another way plants and ponds have a symbiotic relationship is through pollination. Due to abiotic factors, desired aquatic plants or weeds can pollinate by having their pollen float on the water and come into contact with other plants. (Biology, pg. 892) Some people place desired aquatic plants in the pond for a decorative look as well. In this case, MVC might add desired aquatic plants to attract future students.
However, undesired invasive aquatic plants can compete with the desired plants in the pond. Because of rapid growth, they can take away all of the nutrients and outsource the desired plants. In result, this can alter the ponds ecosystem in a negative way because the invasive plants can also destroy the flow of reliance upon other organisms living off of the desired plants. Lastly, from treating the pond, this will result in the pond having a positive environment and the organisms remaining stable as well as the desirable plants providing for the pond. ( Dunns Fish Farm)
Two of the most invasive plants are Duckweed and Watermeal plants. Duckweed or Lemna minor is an aquatic plant that grows rapidly and takes over a pond. The rapid growth of this plant causes sunlight to be blocked across the pond. In addition, Duckweed also causes a decrease of oxygen. This results in fish dying off and works as a supplement for algae in the pond which can cause algae bloom. Along with the Duckweed plant is the Watermeal plant. The Watermeal plant is also a free-floating aquatic plant that works alongside the Duckweed plant. Both Duckweed and Watermeal plants can spread by humans and wildlife. Even though these two plants can serve as a source of food for some organisms, the impact is far worse and can cause aquatic life to die in the pond. These invasive plants also cause an unappealing look to the pond and makes it look like nobody is maintaining or taking care of the pond. Both of these invasive plants negatively impact a pond that is rich in nutrients. So, this concludes why there can be sludge in the pond. It is due to an excessive amount of phosphorus and nitrogen being deposited in the pond either by fertilizer, poorly maintained septic systems, or failing to maintain vegetative buffer strips. (Swistock)
If MVC were to treat the pond with the given chemicals, I believe it would not throw off the pond’s environment in any negative way but rather have a positive impact for the pond. For example, Sonar AS: systemic control of submersed vegetation is used to wipe out invasive plants without causing harm to the pond or life around the pond. It will not harm the aquatic life, humans (students and professors) nor will it cause any harm to land animals that live off the pond. Sonar is a yearlong treatment that MVC will only have to apply once to the pond. The way Sonar works is by “restricting the plant’s ability to make food which causes them to eventually die off.” Basically, it disrupts the non-native invasive plants by bleaching the terminal bud or growing point of the plant so that it’s yellow pigmentation can no longer protect that plant’s chlorophyll from the sun rays. This causes it not to produce food for itself. Some might think that Sonar is widespread targeting all aquatic plants in the pond however, according to an online website, diy.sepro.com, “ Sonar is selective, and controls target weeds.” It also does not kill off the fish in the pond or cause oxygen depletion. To prove my point, the Sonar product along with all the other chemicals that will be used to treat the pond will not harm the life of the pond in any way but, rather target the invasive plants and improve the ponds environment. (Sonar)
Usually, the average pH levels in a pond is 7.0 through 9.0 which is pretty much within a neutral range. Having too low pH levels can be acidic to the aquatic life in the pond and may kill off some species. Having high levels of pH levels can result in the same effect as low pH levels. Fish best live in levels where the pH is 7.0. Having pH levels in the middle of the scale is a well state for the pond overall and is best suitable for life in and around the pond. (Anders) The invasive plants may alter the pH levels in the pond because of the negative effects it has with oxygen depletion and blocking sunlight. The chemicals being used may also throw off the pH levels however, the company uses a product called Aqua King Non-Ionic Surfactant that will work as a buffer. (Winfield United Pro) A buffer is “a substance that prevents a change in pH by absorbing or releasing hydrogen or hydroxide ions.” (Biology, pg. 60) Therefore, the products being used will actually help the pH levels of the pond.
Lastly, cleaning out the pond will save MVC a lot of money than not cleaning out the pond. If they don’t treat the pond as soon as possible, they may lose even more money because the rapid pace of growth from the invasive plants can cause the pond to become outsourced and the living organisms that rely on the pond will eventually die off due to lack of nutrients. Not only that but leaving the sludge and invasive plants in the pond can cause an unappealing appearance for the school overall and students may not want to go to MVC because of its poor image.
College is about reputation and perception in my opinion, if MVC can’t control it’s pond it just shows lack of discipline in maintaining its facility and from result if they can’t have a proper maintenance system, what will make students think they have a good education system. So not only would they have to pay a heavier price for treatment but, MVC will also lose money because students will not won’t to attend the college. The cost to treat the pond could be as little as only $450 however, depending on how bad the pond is; it can go up to $5,000, I still think it’s a small price to pay overall. Based on the information provided, the last time they had to treat the pond was in 1995. That is about 23 years until they had to treat it again. That’s an estimated cost of only $218 a year at the most. (Home Advisor) Overall, treating the pond can make a college look more pleasing and welcoming for an inexpensive cost, they could gain so much more profit rather than not treating the pond.
In conclusion, I believe Mountain View College should contract Magnolia Fisheries incorporated to treat the pond. Mountain View will be saving a lot of money if they treat the pond by removing the invasive plants as fast as possible and reducing the amount of time they regrow and by showing a good appearance to future students. By contracting the company, it could increase the overall health of the pond and the species that rely on the pond. The chemicals that are being added will not harm aquatic life, land animals nor humans. The pH levels will also not have any negative outcome from the chemicals. By leaving the invasive plants, it could cause aquatic life to die off and outsource the native plants in the pond. Invasive plants also cause oxygen depletion and block sunlight. Mountain View College will have more of a benefit from cleaning the pond than just leaving it to die off due to the invasive plants.