sophiek
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is the soft yucky matter in the lake a fertilizer?

Hi,

I live by a small lake and it bothers me when I step into the water that there is a layer of yucky black matter in which my feet sink. I always wanted to remove part of it and I am wondering if this could be a good fertilizer to my garden and it is worth harvesting it. :?:
Thanks,
Sophie

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Are there any fish in the lake?

CityConnection
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I am not the original poster, BUT...

I have a 5 acre pond with fish, leeches, crayfish, turtles, Frogs and so on. If I take the muck at the bottom of the pond, can I use that as a fertilizer? It is a DARK black and quite thick. Would this be good for anything?

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smokensqueal
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It's really hard to say. Depending if there are any pollutants of any sort in your water. Fertilizer from field run off or lawn treatments. If there is you may end up with a concentration of pollutants. If there is a fair amount of filtration before the water hits your pond then you may be fine and the gunk might be just fine. I would say to just try it out on some non edible plants first and see what it does. Or if you want you can take it some where to have it tested. It's always been my understanding that it's a mix of dead plants and pond creatures and should be good mixed with other stuff. But I'm no expert.

CityConnection
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Well, the pond is spring fed and it is the start of a river system. Also the land hand has been untouched since the 70s...

TheLorax
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You should add your location. The crayfishes may or may not be indigenous to your area. Same deal with the turtles depending upon species.

Little voice tells me you're good to go CityConnection and that's without me seeing a photo of what you've got there! Use that thick black mucky slimy pond sludge (mulm) in your composter, use it for lasagna gardening, use it around the bases of plants and work it in to your top soil, and in general... have a field day with it. It's black gold loaded with aerobic bacteria my friend. It's a sign of pond health.

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Could harvesting too much of the muck be harmful to the pond's ecosystem?

TheLorax
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I suppose as with anything else, too much of a good thing can cause issues down the road. Presumably s/he's not coming in with dredging equipment to remove all of that rich nutrient packed decaying organic matter.

We clear a 20' expanse of the mulm going into the water about 15' from one larger natural pond. Once the water freezes over, we have coarse sand delivered. They can deliver it one of two ways- helicopter (easiest but expensive) or by truck then wheeling it in manually. The sand is spread on the ice over the area cleared of mulm earlier. When spring comes and the ice begins to melt, the sand sinks into position and creates a great sanded beach area. Much easier to get good even coverage if sand is added this way as opposed to adding it during warmer months of the year. First time this is done you'll be adding a good 10" of sand to an area and after that it's just a touch up of 3-4" as necessary. To the best of my knowledge, this has never had a noticeably negative impact on our natural pond system other than the aesthetics of the situation. I prefer a more natural look to a shoreline and my husband prefers to walk into the water to swim without getting all mulmed up. We have another man made and another natural pond that are both left untouched other than a few boards to be able to get in close to see what's going on in the immediate area of the man made pond. Personally, I prefer to leave the mulm be but if you've got to clear an area to appease a spouse so his lil tootsies don't get all slimy and black (horrors), no need to waste it. It's good stuff.

An area cleared like this does have the added bonus of being able to see tadpoles much better. They swim in over the sand because of the radiant heat. Every once in a while we get to see a big bullfrog tadpole. Those are always fun. They're like the B52 bombers of a pond. They are so large compared to the other species that they look as if they're on steroids.

Would I intentionally harvest mulm? No. Do others, yes.

Note- If you live west of the Rockies, do not stock your ponds with American bullfrogs.

CityConnection
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*sorry for hijacking this thread*

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/propertyoutline.gif[/img]

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/trailmapofponty.jpg[/img]


These are maps of my location....

As for the crayfish, I know the location of most of them. I made a rockbed that they love. The rocks are 6-12inches big in diameter in an area of about 10ft by 5ft. I know it is a very small area, but they love it there. We have so much muck in an area of about 500sq ft that is about 2-3ft deep. I can put my canoe paddle just about all the way in. And it is soft enough that I cannot walk in it. BUT it isnt a swamp. There is still about 2-3ft of water on top of the muck.

TheLorax
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Silly you, you're not hijacking! editing to add- who cares if you were anyway?

Umm, maps are fun but what county and state are you in please.

CityConnection
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TheLorax wrote:Silly you, you're not hijacking! editing to add- who cares if you were anyway?

Umm, maps are fun but what county and state are you in please.
Sorry, should have mentioned that. I am from Ontario, Canada. The plot is about 1 hour north east of Toronto.

TheLorax
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That's a help.

In reviewing your aerial photo, I couldn't help but notice your pond isn't an isolated watershed.

Regarding this crayfish-
Orconectes rusticus

If that's what you have, and my bet is that's what you have... you don't exactly want to be encouraging them in that type of an ecosystem and you don't want them ending up downstream-
https://dnr.wi.gov/invasives/fact/rusty.htm
Again, it doesn't appear you are an isolated watershed so what ever you allow in your pond will ultimately end up in someone else's pond downstream. That goes for both plant and animal life forms.

More fact links to this particular invasive species of crayfish at the above link.

I've got them by me too. I sunk a preform pond in the ground and every time I find one, I toss it in the preform for the raccoons to eat. I leave a couple inches of water in the preform and some rocks and pieces of wood and such to keep them way down at the bottom where they can't get out so they can become dinner for native species of fauna. I toss all earthworms in that preform too. Both you and me are gardening in formerly glaciated regions therefore there are no earthworms that are native for you and me. Another great link below-
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/earthworms/index.html

There are two other common crayfish that are native to the continent of North America but not to where you garden- Orconectes limosus and Pacifastacus leniusculus. If by any chance you have either of those, feel free to feed them to raccoons too.
https://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2007/08/23/rusty-crayfish.html
https://www.dnr.state.md.us/dnrnews/pressrelease2007/101807c.html

You might want to take some photos of exactly what you've got in your pond though to get a positive ID.

Don't know what kind of turtles you have but if you've got Trachemys scripta elegans (red eared sliders), those would be a cause for concern too and should have no place in a Canadian pond. Yup, I toss those in the bottom of that 3' deep preform too. I feel bad that people irresponsibly let their pets go but they're causing damage to our environment. On the lighter side of things, my husband and me watched a raccoon momma trying to teach her young how to fend for themselves trying to get at a red eared slider we had placed in the bottom of the preform. It was the funniest thing but persistency paid off for her and her babies and they did ultimately have a meal.

Ever since I put in that one preform pond where I toss invasive species into the bottom, our woodland critters think I am God. Should mention that I've seen coyotes trying to get at the goodies in there too every once in a while and the same thing goes for the opossums. It's become sort of their own personal smorgasbord. They sit on the shelves and reach down and grab. The pinchers from the crayfish get the juveniles but once they get enough practice in, they're pretty expert at eating them without getting clipped.

Back to your 500 sq feet of black gold, go ahead and harvest it. I don't personally see much wrong with removing it from that area. Just don't let it go to waste.

CityConnection
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The interesting thing about my pond is that it is not fed straight into the river. There is a dam and a culvert that feeds the river, so I can actually control the height of the water though opening and closing the culvert.
[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/DSC00738.jpg[/img]
If you look closely you can see a little thing stick out of the water on the right side. The Culvert is right behind it.

As for the crayfish I don't know what kind they are. All I know is that some of them are big enough to eat. My guess is that they came from up river. My pond is one of the starting points of a HUGE network of lakes known as the Kawartha Lakes.

As for the Turtles, I am told that they are snapping turtles. I don't know how accurate it is, but they are quite dark (almost a black) in color. From what I remember they also had pointed noses (if thats what you call them) kind of like a birds beak (but smaller and fatter).

In terms of the pond "management", I don't know enough about it to "mess around" with it. I leave it as is, as nature intended it to be. We bring kids to our plot and take them fishing using all the crickets and grasshoppers as bait. They love cathing the chub and perch.

Does anyone know another forum that I can learn more about the pond?

TheLorax
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Your pond is breathtakingly beautiful. I could live there year round ;)

The culvert, as well as any extreme weather event such as flooding, could be the portal for lack of a better word. I did see more than just a culvert in that photo so thanks for explaining to me that you're the starting point of a huge network of lakes. Makes sense given you indicated you were spring fed I believe.

If you share decent photos of the crayfish you have, I can most probably identify it for you. Please know your overall description leads me to believe you do have the Rusty Crayfish. There used to be a Canadian Organization where one could learn more called "Protect Our Waters". Perhaps there is material available from them at your library?

The overall description of your turtles sounds an awful lot like Chelydra serpentina. Cut and paste that scientific name into a search engine for images and see if it's a match. Bet it is.
In terms of the pond "management", I don't know enough about it to "mess around" with it. I leave it as is, as nature intended it to be.
Nature did not intend for non-native crayfish to be in that body of water. That's an accidental introduction as a result of sportsmen tossing out left over bait. Think of our waters as you would the blood in our own bodies. Blood acts as a transport medium carrying various substances from one part of our body to another while additionally protecting our bodies against organisms. Pollute your blood by introducing foreign substances, and it's ability to function as nature intended is impaired. Same deal with our waters.

I don't know of any other interactive forums where you could learn more about ponds however if you find one, please share the link. I only post here for all practical purposes and the vast majority of forums I visited before I joined here didn't have members who could or were even interested in differentiating between a native and a non-native species. Many thought the term invasive was a joke. The only forum that I stumbled upon where members seemed to actually care about the environment other than here was the North American Native Fish Association. Which is a quality organization by the way. Many of the people at that forum would be able to help you differentiate between which species belong as intended by nature and which species don't belong which could help you feel more comfortable managing your pond. That NANFA organization is extremely progressive and environmentally conscious. They have a line up of hands on professionals who address these types of issues daily.

CityConnection
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TheLorax wrote:
If you share decent photos of the crayfish you have, I can most probably identify it for you. Please know your overall description leads me to believe you do have the Rusty Crayfish. There used to be a Canadian Organization where one could learn more called "Protect Our Waters". Perhaps there is material available from them at your library?

The overall description of your turtles sounds an awful lot like Chelydra serpentina. Cut and paste that scientific name into a search engine for images and see if it's a match. Bet it is.
In terms of the pond "management", I don't know enough about it to "mess around" with it. I leave it as is, as nature intended it to be.
Nature did not intend for non-native crayfish to be in that body of water. That's an accidental introduction as a result of sportsmen tossing out left over bait. Think of our waters as you would the blood in our own bodies. Blood acts as a transport medium carrying various substances from one part of our body to another while additionally protecting our bodies against organisms. Pollute your blood by introducing foreign substances, and it's ability to function as nature intended is impaired. Same deal with our waters.
The crayfish do look similar to the ones you posted. I don't know if it was dropped in my a sportsman though, because it has been owned by the same owner since the 70s and he isnt too intrested in fishing and so on.

Also, the turtles look like the ones you showed, BUT I have yet to see them open their mouths. They always have their mouths closed. Im pretty sure those are the guys though...

Im still eager to learn more about the land. We have had it for about 3 years now and we see something new every time we go...

[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/DSC_0201.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/DSC_0005.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a220/4x4v8/Ponty/DSC00739.jpg[/img]
More pics just for fun....

TheLorax
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You're photos are absolutely awesome and they exemplify why people gravitate toward such beautiful properties even if it means living on mac and cheese for years on end. Really glad that someone who is eager to learn ended up with the title to that property!

The crayfish probably are rusty crayfish. When I was up in Ontario the last time, I noticed you all were inundated with them just like we are. It happens. One of the problems with invasive species is that they simply don't stay put. For this particular species, it's pretty well accepted that the introduction was as a result of sportsmen as opposed to say ballast water from a ship. A fisherman several miles away from you or a guest to the property decades before you owned it could have easily been responsible for the initial introduction and from there they reproduced and "naturalized". If you've got it in you to turn them into raccoon chowder, you might seriously want to consider it. You could probably even toss them into the bottom of one of those canoes and the critters would find them. You too... could become a Woodland God to the local critters.

I kinda figured you had that kind of turtle. It's the description of the beak that gives it away every time. It's indigenous to where both you and me garden and has its own special niche in the environment. That's a species you need to steer clear of. They can get rather crabby (understatement) and mature adults can easily take your hand off at the wrist. This is not a joke and I am not exaggerating to make a point. Hopefully it will comfort you to know they don't move as fast as you and me can move so we can stay out of their way easily enough. The other thing that's nice is they don't go out of their way to go after us.

So you want to learn more about your land, eh? Good for you! Ok, one of the best publications available that I'm sure you can pick up from your library would be, "Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality" by Carrol Henderson. Watch out which publication you pick up as there's a new release out which is the one you'd want. The cover looks like this-
https://www.amazon.com/Lakescaping-Wildlife-Quality-Carrol-Henderson/dp/0964745127

For your situation, I'd even suggest you actually buy this book so you can mark it up and keep it for reference. Just make sure you're getting the newest edition and Amazon isn't always the cheapest-
https://www.wildlifeforever.org/store/product.aspx?c=cg_natural_history_activism(base)&p=106436(base)

The next book that would be invaluable to you based on your sincere interest would be, "Bringing Nature Home" by Douglas Tallamy. This is what the cover looks like but again check around for the best pricing-
https://www.timberpress.com/books/isbn.cfm/9780881928549

The above would be another book you might want to consider buying so you can mark it up, dog ear it, stick slips of paper in, and really go at it.

Books that are so well used they are falling apart are almost always owned by people who aren't falling apart.

Again, so happy that land is in the hands of someone like you.

CityConnection
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TheLorax wrote:You're photos are absolutely awesome and they exemplify why people gravitate toward such beautiful properties even if it means living on mac and cheese for years on end. Really glad that someone who is eager to learn ended up with the title to that property!
Actually, the previous owner only sold it to us because we told him we were going to conserve the land. He had a higher offer for the land but they wanted to use it for its logging potential. I guess he wanted to see it in the best hands, as he didnt touch it since the 70s and his father had bought it in the 60s. He farmed and hand plated almost every pine tree on the plot (it was a christmas tree farm). It has a lot of heritage which we also find very interesting. We still meet him once in a while and he brings us old antique tools he used to use.

Thank you for the names of those books. I will definitely look them up.

CityConnection
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TheLorax wrote:
So you want to learn more about your land, eh? Good for you! Ok, one of the best publications available that I'm sure you can pick up from your library would be, "Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality" by Carrol Henderson. Watch out which publication you pick up as there's a new release out which is the one you'd want. The cover looks like this-
https://www.amazon.co
We also have deer, wild turkey, rabbits, occasional coyotes, and so on. I want to keep them close to our land but at the same time I don't want to keep them where they don't belong. This book definitely looks like a good read.

TheLorax
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Ohhhh, wild turkeys! Have you any photos just for fun?

CityConnection
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TheLorax wrote:Ohhhh, wild turkeys! Have you any photos just for fun?
I don't have any pictures unfortunately. BUT Turkey season is coming up. Hopefully I can snap some when I see them.

TheLorax
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Oh thank you! That would be really great. We don't have wild turkeys down here where I live year round. I think wild turkeys are really neat. I bet you've got other goodies there that you don't even know you have. You need to camp out at dusk and watch the skies. Focus on any snags you have. Locate where they all are and start watching. I just know you probably have some owls and bats. You lucky duck you! Speaking of which, you probably have ducks too.

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MC Mixin Bricks
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lake bottom fertilizer

If you're not sure about pollutants inthe lake pond, test the black muck from the lake/pond on a tomato plant in a container. or on anout of the way piece of land that you can turnover and fix later if it doesn't work. :?:
Do or do not....there is no try.

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Sage Hermit
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Its so beautiful there. :)))))
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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