Before he arrived, we had Sean give his presentation on water development for wildlife and water control structures. I think Sean did a great job...I realized that he is getting more confident in talking to a group...when he read his report...he did not stumble over words as much. I was able to add just a few key points to clarify some issues. And, I even had a chance to remind everyone that Cary would be discussing pond management with the emphasis on fish and waterfowl...just before he walked in the doors. To our surprise...we had our county 4H agent...Mr. Ryan...joined us as well!
Cary started out with a basic drawing of a pond to illustrate the various techniques that keep a pond healthy. Here are a few of the highlights I remember:
- Ponds intended for fish and waterfowl need to have deep edges to avoid unwanted sediment from entering the water. Deepening edges of a pond is helpful when vegetation is too thick around the edges or the slope is not steep enough. This also allows for native plants to form around the edges.
- Consider the sediment in a pond as two opposing forces much like charges in electrons or magnets...if the right balance is not obtained, the settlement of the pond will not be adequate and cause negative effects on the pond. Gypsum or lime can be added but it is not always easy to determine effectiveness without experimentation for the specific pond.
- The ratio of bass to bluegill should be 50:500 unless the pond is being fertilized and then the ratio should be 100:1000. This restocking technique should only be used if other methods have not remedied the balance of bass to bluegill. A well managed pond should not need to be restocked. Turnover of a pond is a normal cycle in ponds but should not have extreme population decrease. If large fish are lost, than it is likely due to lack of oxygen. If small fish are dying then it is due to poisoning. Usually the latter is the case.
- The pH balance of the pond water is essential to keep with a range of 6.5-9 on the scale in order to provide a balanced habitat for fish.
- If the pond water is too acidic, then it is best to add gypsum to the pond.
- Fertilizer (with a ratio of 12-52-4) should only be added to the pond (15 pounds per surface acre) if there is not adequate vegetation. This vegetation includes microscopic photo-plankton that provides initial food source for the food cycle needed for a pond. This technique should also be avoided if there excessive water flow or the pond is turbid (muddy).
- Turbidity is also a concern for most land owners. The pond water should be clear up to 18 inches in depth. An increase in turbidity is usually caused by erosion from livestock or lack of vegetation along the watershed, which can be avoided by reseeding this area.
- Seepage on a pond is usually caused by leaks or cracks in the pond walls. This is often caused by tree root system. These areas need to be repaired to allow for adequate water level in the pond.
WOW! What great information and it helped to have him explain everything in ways the 4Hers could understand. I cannot thank him enough for coming to our group to give us a better understanding of the material. I think this is very practical information for our families. He even told us this was the most asked question...above lawn care and gardening! It is pretty impressive that our 4Hers have a grasp of understanding now that many adults do not understand! Thank you, Mr. Cary!
It was nice to take the two agents around our home away from home...we love the museum and are so thankful for being able to use it each week!