The Management Plan
In 2020, a comprehensive lake management plan was prepared for Hess Lake. The plan included an evaluation of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the lake, an assessment of the watershed, and management recommendations to improve lake conditions. Biologists from Progressive AE, the lake board’s environmental consultant, are assisting with the implementation of the plan. The goal of the management plan is to restore the natural ecological balance in Hess Lake.
Click here to view the Hess Lake Management Plan.
While, historically, Hess Lake naturally supported abundant rooted plant growth, the lake has shifted to an algae dominated system. Currently, rooted aquatic vegetation in the lake is nearly non-existent and the lake experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms. The proliferation of common carp in Hess Lake appear to be a primary factor sustaining degraded water quality conditions. Key objectives of the Plan are to:
Reduce the frequency and duration of algae blooms.
Improve water clarity.
Re-establish beneficial submersed aquatic plants and stabilize bottom sediments.
Reduce the carp population and enhance the fishery.
Reduce pollutant runoff from the watershed.
Implementation of the management plan is ongoing and is focused on the following:
Aquatic Plant Control: Biologists are conducting GPS-guided surveys of the lake each year to detect the location of exotic and invasive aquatic plants and targeted treatments are being conducted to limit their spread. The herbicide treatment program on Hess Lake is designed to control exotic, invasive plant species while preserving beneficial native plants.
Lake Monitoring: Biologists are conducting lake-wide hydroacoustic surveys of the lake annually to measure plant biovolume and to evaluate how much submersed aquatic vegetation is becoming re-established in the lake. Water samples are being collected from multiple locations in the lake and from Wheeler Drain on a periodic basis to evaluate baseline water quality conditions.
Fisheries Management: Fish stocking is being conducted and various alternatives are being evaluated to effectively trap and remove carp from the lake. Monitoring of carp migrations in Hess Lake is currently being planned to inform future management direction. Removal and control techniques under consideration include baiting of box nets, trapping of carp during spawning migrations, fall seining, and the installation of barriers to prevent carp reintroductions into the lake.
Watershed Management: The watershed management component of the Plan has two components:
Shorelands Management: Information is being disseminated to lake residents that promote practices in the near-shore areas around the lake to protect water quality.
Extended Watershed: The Hess Lake Improvement Board is monitoring activities in the Wheeler and Alger Drains and is supporting projects that will help to minimize sediment and nutrient transport to Hess Lake.