What does Foster Lake & Pond Management, Inc. do?

We are a full service aquatic and stormwater resource management company focused on North Carolina and can provide any services or products you need. We are constantly studying new methods, products and developing technologies. Plus we are committed to explaining them to you in timely, interesting and fun ways. Our mission is to “help property owners enjoy their lakes and ponds and to insure that our customers are in regulatory compliance with state and local stormwater BMP regulations”.

How do I improve my water quality?

We can assess and monitor your water quality and even get EPA certified water test results if desired. Furthermore, we have the knowledge, experience and tools to improve poor water quality and develop an aesthetically pleasing body of water. By far, the main water quality issue we see is excess nutrients. We have a line of probiotic products that include beneficial bacteria and enzymes, which can have a dramatic impact on improving water quality particularly if aeration is available. Aeration is almost always beneficial. We have solar and electric diffused air systems in addition to decorative fountains that aerate lakes and ponds.

How do I know how many fish are in my pond?

Sometimes you learn the hard way by having a fish kill or if you need to drain the pond. But, we can use sophisticated technology, 35 years of experience and elbow grease to sample your lake and help you manage your population to achieve your objectives. Electrofishing is a powerful tool. Once we know what you’ve got we can prescribe a stocking strategy based on North Carolina conditions to achieve the results you want.

I saw your truck by our pond today and a guy was walking around the shoreline taking notes. What was he doing?

Your community has employed our Preventive Maintenance annual contract service. Our personnel continually assess your lake, pond or stormwater system to make sure everything is functioning properly, attractive and complying with regulations. Recognizing developing conditions that can lead to problems will save money over the long term. We know what to look for, we communicate with our clients and we have the experience to recommend the most cost effective solutions.

I have weeds in my lake. Can’t I just cut them?

Although the principal is good, mechanical removal of vegetation requires a lot of effort. Aquatic vegetation is very heavy and usually must drain or dry before being hauled off or otherwise disposed. Even then, the effort may have only encouraged it to spread or become more abundant. Nevertheless, you will have removed significant volumes of plant material completely from the lake or pond. That may make it worth the effort.

Other options include:

Dredging: Shallow water allows light to reach more pond bottom providing more plant growing space. Excavating sediment, muck, plant stems and roots makes the water deeper and more resistant to nuisance plant growth.

Cutting: This can be a good technique for small areas. It is highly desirable to remove the cut plant material so it doesn’t spread or decay and release nutrients contributing to additional growth.

Fish for Weed and Algae Control: We have used sterile (triploid) grass carp for controlling nuisance weeds and algae in North Carolina since 1983. Nobody has more experience. Typically, we recommend stocking 20 fish (10 – 12 inches long) per vegetated acre (not total surface acre). The fish can be expected to provide control for at least 5 years. We also provide tilapia for algae control in situations where they are also desirable as forage for largemouth bass. Tilapia are tropical fish that reproduce throughout warm weather. They are stocked in the spring and will die if not eaten by the other fish when the water gets cold in the winter. Contact us and we can make recommendations for your specific situation.   Chemical application: Aquatic herbicides and algaecides are important and effective tools for improving nuisance or invasive vegetation problems. Identifying the problem plant accurately will allow selection of the most cost-effective treatment tool. Constantly studying  treatment options and techniques helps us provide you with the best solution. We have granular and liquid products that we can apply professionally and we have products we can provide with instructions for those who prefer to do-it-yourself. Contact us today to get your problem solved quickly and safely!  

I know I need some plants, but I can’t enjoy my area of the lake because there are too many?

There are two relatively inexpensive means to control aquatic nuisance vegetation. These include:

Nutrient Reduction: Simply reducing phosphorus concentrations in lakes and ponds can greatly reduce problems with algae, cyanobacteria (formerly called blue-green algae), duckweed, watermeal and other plants that must get nutrients directly from the water. Alum (aluminum sulfate) will work and has also been used to clear muddy water. PhosLock uses the element lanthanum to bind the phosphorus and lock it out of the system permanently.

Competitive Beneficial Plantings: Shoreline plantings are a great way to beautify a lake or pond, provide fish cover, reduce shoreline erosion and utilize nutrients that might otherwise encourage nuisance vegetation to grow. Plants grown in floating rafts or islands are very easy to establish and must get all their nutrients from the water since they don’t have any contact with the soil. Both systems will utilize nutrients that might otherwise be used by nuisance vegetation.

I’m worried about putting algaecides and/or herbicides into my water because I don’t want to kill the fish?

Most Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs are designed to provide the longest lasting, least expensive solution to the pest (in this case nuisance vegetation) problem. Many solutions start with aquatic algaecides and/or herbicides. treatments kill what they contact even if it is only part of the plant. Systemic treatments are absorbed by the plant and can kill the entire plant. Excellent treatments are available, some of which are very selective, can be applied in very small concentrations, and are very safe to the environment. When applied properly all are very safe to the environment. We have the experience and commitment to sustainable lake and pond management to recommend the best vegetation management solution for your problem.

Is there anything I can put in my pond that will eat my weeds?

We have been stocking sterile grass carp in North Carolina longer than any other private company (35 years). We know when to use them and how many to stock for the least expensive, long-term control of many types of nuisance vegetation. These grass carp cannot reproduce and do not eat fish eggs. The fish eat almost nothing but plants, but grow incredibly fast. A fish eating 1.5 pounds of vegetation this year could easily be eating 5 pounds of vegetation next year.

What is a BMP or SCM?   BMP stands for Best Management Practices and SCM stands for Stormwater Control Measure. The industry is transitioning away from using the term BMP since it is prevalent in so many different industries. SCM is the increasingly important term being used. Both refer to the best way to manage stormwater runoff from a site. There are several types of stormwater devices ranging from dry ponds to bioretention cells (rain gardens) to sand filters to wet ponds. We can construct, inspect, repair and maintain all of the various devices. Furthermore, we are a licensed and insured General Contractor and Landscape Contractor in the State of North Carolina.  

The City tells me my stormwater pond needs repairs. How do I find someone to do that work?

No matter what type of construction, repair or maintenance required, we can help. We regularly communicate with State regulatory personnel and consequently understand the initial and long-range costs involved with these activities. We can help determine the most cost effective methods to repair or replace a damaged drains, fix shoreline erosion, remove sedimentation, repair or replace damaged inlet or outlet pipes, reseed bare spots and mow steep pond shorelines. Furthermore, we are a licensed and insured North Carolina General Contractor. In many cases the law requires the contractor to be licensed. Be sure to ask.

I had my stormwater wetland inspected and was told I need to get rid of the cattails?

Correcting developing conditions will save you money over repairing problems. A few of the services we provide for stormwater device maintenance include mowing grass on pond banks, controlling undesirable plants or planting desirable ones, reseeding bare spots on dams, replacing stone or fabric on inlets or outlets and cutting brush or removing trees from dams. Cattails can be a problem since they spread so aggressively. We usually control them by spraying them with an approved aquatic herbicide and then applying a catalyst that encourages them to rot quickly so they aren’t an eyesore. We can also cut them, dig them out or wipe individual plants with herbicide.

The forebay of my stormwater pond has filled with sediment. The inspector says it must be dredged?

Dredging can be complicated. How much sediment must be removed? Where can the sediment be disposed?  What access is available for equipment? Sometimes all that is needed is a mini-excavator and a dump trailer. Other times large specialized equipment is required for removal and transport. In some situations the sediment can be sucked out with a pump. With our inexpensive bathymetric mapping service, we can measure the depth and volume of sediment that needs to be removed. As a licensed North Carolina General Contractor, we have the ability to recommend and implement the best solution to solve your problem.

My pond water level is dropping and I don’t want to lose my fish. What do I do?

Is the cause seepage, leaking, shoreline animal damage or just dry weather? It’s possible that water loss may occur through the lake or pond bottom, sides or dam. Our three decades of experience help us identify the problem, recommend and implement practical corrective actions. We know the latest materials and techniques as well as the time tested basic concepts, which enable us to be extremely cost effective. As a licensed North Carolina General Contractor, we’re capable of undertaking the most complicated projects. Emergency aeration or installing a permanent system may be required.  

I have a low spot on my property and I’d like to build a pond there?

New lake or pond construction is extremely dependent upon the site. We are familiar with North Carolina soils, water tables, regulations and appropriate construction techniques. Most of our lakes and ponds are built by constructing a dam from one hillside to another to impound runoff water. However, some can be dug on low flat ground if there is a relatively high water table to provide the water supply. The days of damming up an active stream are pretty much over because of regulations. A professional engineer will be required for most lakes and ours have the experience to avoid surprises. Contact us early and we can guide you through process of building a new pond.

I just bought some property adjacent to a pond. What do I need to know?

A lake or a pond is just like a lawn. It needs routine maintenance or it will lose value and may require expensive renovation. With our assessment service we can thoroughly inspect everything, make recommendations and either do the work or provide you with the products you need to do the work. Our company has 4 divisions: Preventive Maintenance monitors everything and provides maintenance that avoids problems; Corrective Maintenance can provide the maintenance or repair when the problem has occurred; Construction Repair Services can fix structural problems; and Retail can provide you with the products needed to correct some problems. Regardless of your objectives, we can make sure the lake or pond is enjoyable for your family and an asset to your property value.

Should I aerate?

Virtually all lakes and ponds benefit from aeration. The size, shape and bottom contours of the pond along with the objectives of the property owner will determine the most appropriate method of aeration. We sell only the most dependable and reputable brands of fountains, diffused air systems, circulators and surface aerators. Furthermore, we are authorized to honor warranties, maintain and repair those brands.

Home sales in our neighborhood increased dramatically after your fountain was installed in our stormwater pond. It is really beautiful! What are the other benefits?

Our fountains are designed to look good and aerate the pond. High volume pumping rates expose lots of water to air so oxygen can be absorbed and bad gases dissolved in the water will be released. The splashing water sound is soothing and is great for muffling noise from traffic or neighbors. Lights add drama to the display at night. The rippling surface of the water helps prevent unattractive surface films of pollen, leaves and other tree litter. The aeration and circulation greatly enhances the ability of probiotic beneficial bacteria and enzymes to improve water quality and reduce maintenance requirements.

I want the least expensive aeration system I can get and I want it to be quiet and peaceful. What do you suggest?

Diffused aeration is often the most cost effective aeration method. A compressor (mounted in a sound insulated cabinet) on shore pushes air through tubing to special diffusers placed on the lake or pond bottom. Usually, the diffusers are placed in the deepest water. As the bubbles rise to the surface each bubble gets larger due to the lower pressure and the column of bubbles spreads. Poor quality water from the bottom of the lake or pond is pulled to the surface by the bubbles. The result is the complete water column can be circulated and aerated. Virtually every lake or pond benefits tremendously from aeration. Recently, very effective probiotic beneficial bacteria/enzyme products have been developed to digest organic “muck” that causes odor, excess nutrients and consumes dissolved oxygen.

I live on a small cove on our lake and the water gets stagnant and smells. What can I do to fix it?

Similar to fountains, surface aerators pump more water volume but the spray isn’t nearly as high. Thus, they may be more energy efficient than fountains for the same amount of aeration. The splashing water sound is still there and dissolved oxygen is added to the pond. We even rent units for emergency aeration.

I bought some fish off a truck at a feed store. They were small and did not seem to be in good condition. The next day many of them were dead floating on the surface of the water. What went wrong?

Your fish may have been on the transport truck for several days. Our fish holding system uses re-circulated, chilled and filtered water so we can keep the fish in excellent condition and even feed the fish if they are held for more than a couple of days. We can recommend stocking strategies for new or renovated lakes and ponds. We can also provide supplemental stocking to achieve your objectives. Fish population sampling by electroshocking will help us prescribe effective supplemental stocking. We have several sizes of most species and even have specialty fish for special situations. We can deliver the fish and guarantee they will arrive in good condition or you can pick them up at our offices. We will pack the fish in bags filled with oxygen at no additional charge.

I’m a bass fisherman and I want good bass fishing. How do I ensure that?

We have small bass for new ponds and big bass for older ponds. Our bass are trained on feed so they are not completely dependent upon forage fish for growth. Largemouth bass are naturally crossed with Florida strain bass in North Carolina. Therefore, you can stock the mixed species, Northern Largemouth or Florida Largemouth. Tell us your objectives and we will prescribe a stocking strategy based on 29 years of stocking experience North Carolina waters. Contact us for all your bass stocking needs!

I love taking my grandchildren down to the pond to catch bream. What do you recommend?

The term “bream” is widely used in North Carolina for several sunfish stocked for largemouth bass forage, fishing pleasure and great eating. We prescribe various species depending upon your conditions and objectives. Utilize our experience to make sure you get the least expensive, sustainable population prescribed to meet your objectives.  Bluegill are the most widely stocked. Coppernose bluegill may grow a little faster in your situation. Shellcracker, also called Redear, generally live in deeper water and eat snails that may contribute to fish parasite problems.

I like catching different kinds of fish. What else can be stocked in my pond?

One very popular stocking strategy for new or renovated ponds includes 10 bream (in a ratio of 7 bluegill and 3 shellcracker) for each largemouth bass stocked. Channel catfish can be considered a bonus. They won’t reproduce, are fun to catch and good to eat. Fathead minnows are good forage for young fish and help reduce problems with insects such as mosquitoes. Various other species may be appropriate depending upon your objectives and situation.

I have a very small pond and want to be able to catch something without much trouble. What do you recommend?

Some people love catfish and some people hate them. Channel catfish are the only catfish we recommend. They are cavity nesters and most smaller lakes and ponds don’t have suitable spawning cavities. Therefore, they represent a put and take fishery. Stock some, catch them out and stock some more. However, large catfish over about 3 pounds may be significant predators and must be considered when managing mixed fish populations. Depending upon your objectives we may recommend anywhere from 20 to 2,000 channel catfish be stocked per acre. Another option may be to stock hybrid bluegill, which are mostly male so they don’t reproduce effectively. Still, a few bass need to be stocked to eat the ones that do reproduce.

How do I make sure my pond is not a source of mosquitoes?

Minnows eat insect larvae and provide food for small fish. If you can walk around the shoreline of your lake or pond and don’t see any minnows, you need to stock some. Habitat enhancement can provide suitable minnow hiding places and spawning locations. We carry Fathead minnows that do an excellent job controlling mosquito populations. Contact us today to discuss your needs!

I haven’t had any aquatic vegetation problems for the last 8 years since you stocked those grass carp. Should I add more?

These are extremely useful aquatic vegetation management tools. They are often the least expensive long-term method for controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation. They have preferred plants, but will eat any plant that isn’t woody. We are experts in utilizing them over the past 35 years. We have generally found that if you stock 20 grass carp per vegetated acre you can expect control of susceptible vegetation by the end of the second year after stocking.