Bathymetry is the study and mapping of the terrain on the floor of lakes, ponds, and oceans. Similar to topography for land structures and mapping, bathymetry creates a 3D map that helps determine the contours of the pond floor. In pond and lake management, bathymetry is used to document and monitor sediment build-up on the floor of the structure.

Why is sediment build-up important? Sediment comes from a variety of sources and runoff into the pond. This runoff contains pollutants that can harm the health of your pond. Sediment build-up reduces water quality, fosters the growth of invasive aquatic weeds, encourages harmful algae blooms, harms fish and wildlife, and decreases the volume of water the pond can accommodate – which means increased risk of flooding. Sediment also hastens the process of stagnation that can turn your pond into a dead zone.

Bathymetry should be performed on a consistent basis to monitor the accumulation of sediment on the pond floor. After several consistently performed bathymetric tests, your pond management service can use the sedimentation data to approximate the rate at which sediment is building up and help you plan ahead for one of the most expensive pond maintenance needs you will have – dredging. Once the sediment reaches a level that is harmful, the pond will need to be dredged to remove the sediment build-up and keep it healthy and its ecosystem stable.