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Leaking Ponds, Pigs, and Sheep Feet

| 4/20/2015 4:48:00 PM

Old Spillway 

One of the larger frustrations a pond owner can have is a leaking pond. That is the purpose of a pond anyway, to hold water. When it starts retreating and you realize that it is more than evaporation, it can be difficult to find and solve the problem.

Why Should I Be Concerned?

When a pond loses significant amounts of water on a regular basis, even if it is temporarily recharged with rain, there is a profound effect on the pond and how it functions. Vegetation proliferates in the marginal areas along the shore. Facultative plants that enjoy a zone from damp ground to 18 inches of water now have a larger zone where they can flourish due to the fluctuation in water levels. This can contribute to filling in the pond around the edges, in addition to choking the pond with unwanted vegetation.

As the pond loses water, it functions as a smaller pond and that is more challenging for water quality. Nutrients are concentrated and the lower volume of water heats up and cools down more rapidly. This can stress fish and cause more algae growth.

Fish have less access to habitat and they are more concentrated. Crowding affects fish, and with reduced water quality, this could also result in stunting or imbalance between bass and bluegill populations.

Is It Really a Pond Leak?

In the summertime, when the sun is blazing down on everything, including the water’s surface, it is difficult to tell the difference between a leaking pond and losses due to evaporation. If you suspect a leak, place an open 30- or 55-gallon drum in the pond and fill it with pond water to exactly the same depth as the pond. Monitor the water level in the pond and the drum. Evaporation should remove the same amount from both the pond and the water contained in the drum. If the pond retreats faster, then more than evaporation is removing water from the pond.

4/21/2015 10:48:15 AM

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