After the garden has been harvested is the perfect time to pull a soil sample.  The Lawn and Garden Soil Test Program is still underway.  Soil test coupons can be purchased at the Mercer Soil and Water Conservation District, in Celina, and Helena Agronomic Center, in Coldwater.  Cost per sample is $5 and the program will end on November 21st.  We hope to continue to offer the program in the spring of 2015.  So far, about 100 samples have been sold.

Also with the changing weather, we’ve begun to winterize the five floating wetland systems floating on channels around the lake.  The systems on the south side of the lake will be overwintered in the Prairie Creek Treatment Train.  They will freeze with the water; however, another county had tremendous success with letting their system freeze last year.  If their system made it through last year’s winter, I would think ours would survive whatever is coming.  The plants will be trimmed down in the next few weeks.  Trimming the plants will remove the nutrients that have been pulled out of the water and stored in the plant over the summer.  The trimmings will be composted off site, in order to prevent the nutrients from re-entering the system.  

Speaking of nutrients re-entering the system, if you live on a channel, the lake, a tributary, or by water in general, you may consider doing your best to remove any leaves, grass clippings, or sticks that have fallen into the water.  While the nutrient contribution of this organic debris is minimal, we might as well stop the muck buildup at the bottom from the debris sinking to the bottom.

The floating wetland program will begin around March/April of 2015, depending on the weather.  We are looking into partnering with Butler County to provide people the opportunity to purchase wetland plants for their systems.  Mats, cups, and anchoring systems are provided at no cost.  More information will be released this spring, along with thoughts of warmer weather.

This photo is of the installation at one location in May.  

The following photo was taken in October at the same location.  Notice the plant growth.

The following photo is of a colony of bryozoans that developed on the underside of one of the mats at a different location.  These colonies are indicators of good water quality.