"A good consultant is a better investment than free advice"
Every day we quietly compete with 'free' advice from neighbors, internet "experts", fishing
pals, pro fishermen, landscapers, consultants offering 'free consulting', who just happens to sell
chemicals, equipment and labor to maintain your aquatic habitat on a regular
basis. Ask a 'free' pond / lake consultant what you can do to maintain your water without using chemicals, herbicides, bacterial additives and a garage full of equipment. The answers
might be enlightening - that is if you get one.
The sole reason for the existence of a lake and pond maintenance industry is the reality that very few bodies of water are sufficiently designed to maintain clean water to begin with. It is also easier to sell products than solve problems. Solving problems is much more rewarding for us as biologists. We would quickly become bored visiting every month to apply the same old bandage that never actually cures the problem. Consumers are easily pursuaded into lower monthly fees until they realize the amortized investment in improved habitat design is more economical than the monthly treatment.
When it comes to the arena of innovation and solving problems, the concept of "group thinking" is also dashed
upon the rocks of reality. Where might the better answers originate, from a group of 30 people with one year of
experience or from three people each with 30 years of experience and a record for innovation? That is
something to consider when seeking advice from a room (online forum) of "students" rather than the professor. As we are often quoted: "cheap advice, build it twice."© That is a simple point to ponder.
The Key to Clean Water Ponds & Lakes
The concept is quite simple: remove excess nutrients that result in fouled water and sludge. The key is removing the nutrients permanently instead of killing the offensive algae/plants/sludge/scum only for the treatment to turn around and provide more nutrients for the above list of offenders. The dominating strategy for the water management industry is to overcome the offensive elements with bacteria. Yes, the bacteria do kill and eliminate the usual algae infestation, but what happens next is the key. The bacteria die off once the algae bloom has been reduced. Much of that dead bacteria now fertilizes the habitat for the next generation of algae. The common "fix" is to continually add even more bacteria to address the additional algae. It is a product marketing dream to create a perpetual problem.
The answer is simple, the science complex: design a habitat that permanently and constantly sends the nutrients out of the habitat. If the answer is ultimately effective, the lake pond or stream will actually need to be fertlized instead of cleaned. That is vastly less expensive and much easier to accomplish. This is precisely what we do when creating or restoring an aquatic habitat.
In the real world, we do not expect this lesson to be learned on the outset. What we see are new clients who have exhausted the pond maintenance cycle of futility. After a decade or two people come back to invest in actual solutions. We understand the desire to get more for less. It takes time for people to learn they are actually getting less for more when they short cut the issue of aquatic habitat health.
In our work we redefine the rules. Before we developed our biological techniques, the rules applied to us.
After we developed our lake and pond design techniques, those rules now only apply to those who have yet to
learn how to break them. For instance, how many times do respected publications advise to create steep lake
and pond edges in order to thwart aquatic vegetation that might ruin poorly designed ponds? When we learned to
break this cardinal "rule" our ponds started producing larger fish without the dreaded weed infestation we were
warned about by the self proclaimed "experts". We have also heard a few Biologists warn that our
goals are not attainable. We proceeded to reach those goals successfully because those particular rules did not
apply to our refined understanding of the habitat. We have learned when someone poses a rule, it actually means
they lack the knowledge to overcome the challenge.
Our sole product is knowledge. We do not sell chemicals and equipment because we
want your complete trust. This would not be as easy to earn if you are wondering
why we want to sell you $20,000 worth of equipment, or chemicals at $90 per gallon
plus labor to apply. We make up for lost profits from equipment sales, when we
gain new business via your satisfaction and referrals.
We must provide our clients with solutions that save them much more money
and effort than the 'free' answers, while simultaneously providing our clientele
with the highest quality habitat and satisfaction from their land. We do this through
knowledge, experience, a life defining passion for our work, and a great deal of
creativity which comes from (1) a fully integrated understanding of the systems we
work with, and (2) getting our hands dirty for well over thirty years. In this way,
our knowledge goes well beyond what is published. Books are simply a good beginning for education.
The Right Experience
Everyone claims experience as if the number of years means everything. It doesn't. One-year of experience 30 times in a row is still just one year of experience. Thirty years of a professional quest of innovation to keep our science and techniques at the forefront of pond, lake and stream design means the world to our clients. Time is only important when it measures the distance between an observation, a question and a solution. While we strive for knowledge for our professional interest, the real reason we do it is because we love our science and the personal satisfaction it brings. While it is rewarding to develop an answer several years after an observation, it is incredibly satisfying to come to an epiphany some 35 years after making a casual observation as a child. While that particular answer is proprietary, it is giving our techniques yet another quantum leap for effective lake and pond design.
The right experience brings the most scientifically effective yet practical design to bear on our client's ponds, streams and lakes, and directly to the pond owners' enjoyment of their waters. Larger fish, cleaner water, longevity of ponds, greater beauty and higher property value all come from innovation. Many claim they are the best in their field, but can they prove it?
Are we the best Biologists for aquatic habitat design and restoration? We don't know if there is one real "best". We do know we often get the call to come in to fix habitat that was designed by people who claim to be "the leader" in this field. We are not sure if this makes us the best, but it is pretty reassuring to our capabilities.
Phrases such as "recognized industry leader", "world class" and "gold medal fisheries" don't impress us; the environment and the fish impress us.
Our philosophy is to treat the cause of the illness instead of treating the
symptoms. We don't treat the cancer in the patient; we eliminate the cause
before cancer develops.
Getting it right
Over the life of your habitat our methods are usually more economical. There may be a few times when chemicals can be cheaper if you don't mind an artificially blue-green pond with significantly smaller fish and correspondingly reduced property value. We believe chemicals and equipment in a pond are signs of poor habitat design. Consider when you pay $90 per gallon for chemicals, and even more for application labor, that, while they do eliminate algae, they do not eliminate the nutrients that cause the algae problem in the first place. You then continually apply chemicals, which only put a Band-Aid over a wound that only gets worse. Our first choice is to design healthy aquatic habitats the first time around rather than constantly treating an ailing habitat. We look
to the root of all the threats to your habitat. Usually these come from upstream. Do not be surprised if we spend more time outside your lake rather than in it when we develop solutions for you. Your habitat is part of a watershed. The entire watershed needs to be considered to deliver successful results. Maybe that watershed is a thousand acres, or maybe it is a thousand square feet between the pond and the putting green. We have solutions for both.
Above and beyond
We work with the natural environment rather than attempt to fight it. In order
to maximize success in ecosystems that humans do not completely understand, our
philosophy is to incorporate a strategy called emulation. We identify the
'tools' that the environment needs for its health, then we provide them. This
has two benefits:
1) It is usually cheaper to employ these techniques instead of traditional 'control' techniques, and
2) we can actually attain results that go beyond what our current science can explain.
For instance, it can be much more cost effective to simply supply a river with
large woody debris for channel health and complexity, than to go to considerable
expense to engineer each log structure in the river. Our best science is
employed to place each log, but the river is not so simple as we understand. The
river may put the logs exactly where it needs them after we go the expense of
placing them exactly where WE think they need to be.
Reinvestment - Giving Back
Spring Creek profits from our natural resources, so we want to be sure our natural resources profit from Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts. We accomplish this via several avenues:
Our Natural Fish Wildlife & Plants Preserve Program gives priority to projects where the property owner desires to create a private refuge for any stock of sensitive, threatened or endangered fish species. We donate extra effort in the design and development of these habitats to ensure the success of this program. Our goal is to expand this program and continue to be a model for environmental restoration driven by private initiative. We maintain control of the project for the property owner in situations where we involve government organizations. We expect the project owners to benefit as much from this program as the sensitive fish populations they are helping. Often a significant side benefit to these programs appears in the form of property value appreciation.
Where possible we utilize local native stocks of fish in our projects. We also encourage native vegetation. Again, clients usually experience higher property values resulting from natural projects featuring native species. For instance native brook trout projects in New England tend to become more valuable than ponds and lakes with non-native rainbow trout.
We promote native wildflowers on ponds and lakes because we believe these are the most beautiful and enjoyable habitats for the pond owners. See what you think of native vegetation in our ponds lakes and streams
Because our waters are very stable spring-fed type environments, rare flowering plants, that require these special environments, thrive in our lakes and streams. We are expanding the range of these sensitive wetland flowering plants by doing our work. This translates to larger populations of rare plants and increased beauty and value of our waters.
Because these spring-fed habitats are so rare, we are continuously adding more and more of one of the rarest types of wetlands to the wetland base that is dwindling in most areas.
We actively encourage native vegetation while providing education materials for invasive species. See our Invasive Species page for more information. We encourage people to link to the Invasive Species page to help spread the message that "native is better".
Our designs use the least amount of water to develop the greatest amount of habitat. While this saves money for our clientele, it also contributes to society by increasing quality habitat area on a relatively static water resource. We also continuously seek opportunities to gain multiple beneficial uses from each water source.
Our website promotes a natural approach to management of highly aesthetic aquatic habitats without using environmentally threatening pesticides and herbicides. If a constructed habitat is well designed, there is no need to utilize chemicals such as copper that eventually seep into the ground water to threaten our water supplies.
We provide environmental education at our Lessons from lake and pond habitat Biologists page.
We are involved in local and regional watershed groups, boards and advisory committees. Our contributions have ranged from small local land improvements to research into nationwide salmon restoration techniques. While contributing is good for business, we would choose to contribute regardless. Passion goes well beyond monetary returns.
We firmly believe in conservation of natural resources also called sustainable development. Water is a limiting resource in our society; it needs to be used responsibly with maximum benefit to our society and environment. Reuse of resources such as waste water to simultaneously create quality aquatic habitat, clean the waste water, create aesthetic landscape features and irrigate without fertilizing, is an example of creating more from less, while conserving resources. Ideas like these cause people to see more potential in water features at places like resorts or commercial complexes. They can do much more than provide aesthetics. They also contribute to profits since many people enjoy natural environments.
You can help us improve our environment! One very simple and free way to help us help the environment is to put a link to Spring Creek on your websites, or suggest us to other websites. This helps us spread the word to expand our win-win philosophies for the environment. We have prepared several link codes to select from if you wish to help us. After you link to us, send us an email so we can thank you.
A second way to help us spread our message is to simply bookmark our website on your favorite online bookmark sites here:
These sites are a great way to share quality websites with a great deal of the online world.
Another no cost method to help the environment is to suggest the natural design concept to people who are considering construction of a water feature or aquatic habitat. We do not have to design every habitat or water feature, but we want to see more of them designed for maximum benefit to the environment and to the owners.
Spring Creek is very difficult to find on the usual environmental organizations pages since they shy away from listing businesses. We need extra help to get our message out because of this challenge. We strive to be the model of mutual benefit for the environment and enterprise.
Cost to build a pond or lake
Guide to sealing a lake and pond liners