As summer turns to autumn and cooler weather sets in, be on the lookout for a Lake transformation. SAMLARC’s new Lake maintenance company, Lake Management, is implementing the Aquatic Midge Treatment Plan to arrest the growth of the aquatic midge fly population, reduce algae growth, and increase water clarity; a plan that has already begun to produce results. Over the months of October and November, an even greater change will begin: The Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project.
The Restoration Project, approved at the August 2018 Board Meeting, aims to build an aquatic ecosystem that both fosters healthy aquatic life, improves water quality, and deters golden algae. The objective of the Project is to re-balance the Lake’s mineral and nutrient levels without sustained dependence on chemical treatment. This Project is a component of the large-scale Lake Ecosystem Repair Project and will help to prepare the water quality for eventual irrigation usage.
Board Director Dennis Reid, who is also the Chair of the Lake Ad Hoc Committee, met with SAMLARC Staff and vendors on September 10, 2018 to discuss the shape and placement of the floating botanical islands, and again on October 8, 2018 to discuss the plants which will populate the islands. Twenty-two (22) islands will be placed along the perimeter of the Lake, each covering approximately fifty-two (52) square feet. The islands will host about sixty (60) plants per island, creating lush accents above the waterline and nutrient-absorbing root systems underwater. The plants for each island will be carefully selected from a palette of plants proven to thrive on floating islands in Southern California. These plants must include root systems that flourish in nutrient-laden environments, withstand Rancho Santa Margarita’s long and hot summers, and enhance the Lake’s natural beauty.
The project will be executed by Eco Lake Solutions, Inc. Jonathan Todd, the company’s founder, has extensive experience in using botanical islands in water quality management. Eco Lake Solutions’ floating island projects have revitalized water quality management systems and conservation efforts, with some projects located as far abroad as China. One of the company’s most local projects is in Yorba Linda’s East Lake Village. Since the implementation of botanical islands in 2017, East Lake has seen a revitalization of aquatic life and water quality – without massive golden algae blooms. It is anticipated that the Lago Santa Margarita’s botanical islands will similarly absorb excess nutrients, aerate the water and provide havens for fish, leading to a beautiful Lake for all.
In addition to botanical islands, the Restoration Project will also implement fine bubble aerators into the Lake. Eleven (11) aerator disks, placed in various spots on the bottom of the Lake, will release a stream of miniscule bubbles through the water column. Each disk produces approximately eleven billion bubbles per day; when all eleven disks work in tandem, they will be able to turn over the Lake’s volume of water five times per day. This will increase oxygen in the Lake and improving clarity and reducing the build-up of sediment.
The Landscape and Facilities Enhancement Committee will meet on September 18th to discuss a plant palette appropriate for SAMLARC’s aesthetics and efficient nutrient absorption. The island bases will arrive at the Lago Santa Margarita Beach Club during the week of October 22nd, after which they will be planted and placed in the water. The process is anticipated to span approximately two weeks, with staging to take place near the Beach Club. The Project is anticipated to be completed by November 16, 2018.
Monday, October 8: Trenching begins at Lakeshore to prepare for electrical work.
Tuesday, October 9: Electrical work begins at Lakeshore.
Friday, October 12: Trenching and electric scheduled to conclude.
Monday, October 22: Island planting and placement, with staging near the Beach Club.
Friday, November 16: Project scheduled to conclude.
The Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project is a component of the Lake Ecosystem Repair Project, which will commence when reclaimed water grants and rebates become available, and when the Lake’s water quality is sufficiently balanced for irrigation usage.
For questions regarding the Lake Ecosystem Restoration Project, please contact George Blair, Assistant General Manager at 949-709-0014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.