Pond and People Management

| 11/18/2013 9:43:00 AM

Tags: ponds, pond management, Kenneth Rust,

I enjoy speaking on pond management and teaching its fundamentals. One of the ways I begin my talks is to let people know: It’s not always pond management, it’s often people management. People, their effects on the input to the pond, and their expectations of what the pond can do for them are the things I deal with the most. Contrasting uses for a pond can result in frustration. Actions have reactions, and finding out the root causes for a pond’s behavior is the key.

Ponds aren’t mysterious; they are behaving exactly as they should, based on their circumstances, and are actually pretty predictable. As with a lot of things, there are fundamentals to any subject and focusing on them as you begin is a good idea. A few “big picture” fundamentals on pond behavior:

Ponds are aging and trying to turn into land. As a part of natural succession, ponds generally are filling and losing volume to plant life and organic material. Some are doing this slowly, but some ponds seem to be transforming rapidly before our eyes on a seasonal basis. Each season ponds receive input from the watershed and environment: leaves, grass clippings, thatch, water runoff, erosion, and manure from fish, waterfowl, and livestock. The ecosystem digests this liquid compost, but generally not to completion each year, leaving residual organic sludge in your pond. As the volume of sludge builds over the years, it provides a bank of nutrients for the ecosystem, and creates chemical and biological demands on oxygen in the pond.

Pond ecology needs oxygen. There are two sources: mixing from weather, and photo synthesis. Submerged plants and algae provide oxygen through photosynthesis during daylight hours and respire at night, consuming some of the day’s oxygen and producing carbon dioxide. Wind, and rain and the resulting energy from wave action help to mix ponds and bring water in contact with the atmosphere for some healthy “breathing action.”pond filling 2

Kenneth Rust
11/27/2013 8:48:50 AM

Shewolf We will miss you in Louisiana, but Arkansas is a great place too! A few notes about your new pond project: You will need enough clay to line it with 18-24 inches of compacted clay. Use a sheepsfoot roller to compact-nothing else will work as well. NRCS has information that you can use regarding the soil types and strata on your location, so that you will know about your soil types for planning. Consider the influence and size of the watershed feeding the pond/drainage area. I would not stock sac au lait or perch in a pond less than 5 acres since they will likely stunt. Channel catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill are all good candidates. Hybrid bluegill are good for growing and eating but not a good reproducing population. Stay in touch as your project goes forward.

Kenneth Rust
11/26/2013 5:17:59 PM

K.C. Thanks for the welcome. I have really enjoyed the community at the fairs. I look forward to contributing here. We will be discussing algae and its impact in future conversations/ articles.

Kenneth Rust
11/26/2013 4:25:33 PM

K.C. Thanks for the welcome. I am looking forward to blogging here. I have enjoyed the community at the fairs. We will be discussing algae control and its place in the pond community in a future article.

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