We don’t all have a degree in environmental science, but that doesn’t mean you can’t know a little something about nature and the world around us. Some of us are even lucky enough to have gorgeous landscapes right in our own backyards. 

Those living around Geist get to enjoy nature every day! While actively conserving our natural sites is crucial, education is also paramount to conservation. After all, getting accurate information is often the first step toward making a difference. Read up on some common ecological terms you might hear around the Geist Reservoir. Who knows? Perhaps these details will come in handy someday! 


Simply put, a habitat is a natural home for plants, animals, and other living things. Geist is a natural habitat for plenty of plants, fish, and wildlife, and keeping an ecological balance is vital to the continued health of the reservoir. Native plants to the reservoir provide essential shelter for fish, but when that vegetation gets out of control, they can just as easily hurt the ecosystem. 


Think of an ecosystem like a community. Scores of different organisms make up an ecosystem, and they all work in tandem to keep their “community” thriving. Even the soil makes up an indispensable part of the Geist ecosystem! The Geist Conservancy works to treat the lake and preserve the soil, ensuring that the ecosystem stays healthy and invasive species stay at bay. 


Algae is an aquatic plant commonly seen on the surface of the lake. This plant has no stem, leaves, or true roots and simply floats along the water. While some people find algae to be an annoyance, it isn’t inherently bad! When kept under control, this aquatic organism provides necessary shelter for fish and plays an important role in the Geist ecosystem. 


Dredging a lake involves removing silt, sediment, and debris from the bottom. In Geist’s case, dredging is especially useful to prevent the growth of invasive algae and remove contaminants. Dredging is an essential tool for cleaning up pollution and maintaining the lake’s thriving ecosystem. However, dredging a lake is both time-consuming and expensive, especially in the massive Geist Reservoir. Getting a dredging project off the ground requires the support of community members like you.  


The term “biodegradable” refers to a substance that will decompose over time. Biodegradable products won’t contaminate nature over long periods of time and are generally seen as a more eco-friendly option. When we all use biodegradable products and work to keep debris out of the lake, we’re doing our part to preserve Geist for later generations. Learn more about best practices for lake care

Invasive Species 

Invasive species are organisms that cause long-term harm to a new environment where it doesn’t naturally grow. While Geist is chock-full of native plants and fish, there are also a few invasive species. These invasive species make it more difficult for native wildlife to flourish at Geist: 

  • Eurasian watermilfoil
  • Curly-leaf pondweed
  • Brittle naiad

Nutrient Cycle

The nutrient cycle is the process that nutrients undergo as they pass through one organism to another. The cycle begins as organisms take in nutrients and comes full circle when the organism dies, decomposes, and creates nutrients for other living things. Think of this process as ecological recycling! We see the nutrient cycle at Geist in the form of eutrophication. This process refers to how nutrients enter the water supply. While we definitely want some nutrients in the water, too much can cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. At the Geist Conservancy, we work to restore balance at the lake and manage the potential damage of eutrophication. 

Lake Preservation with Geist Conservancy District

Whether you live along Geist Reservoir or simply have an interest in nature conservation, knowing your ecological terms is helpful. You’ll know how to discuss issues of lake preservation and take steps to keep our little slice of nature enjoyable for future generations. Contact us today to support the Geist Conservancy’s mission and be a part of an eco-friendly community.