“Ponds with a Purpose”: Review hosts daily farm pond clinic

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LONDON, Ohio – Want to get more out of your farm pond? Attend “Ponds with a Purpose” at Farm Science Review.

The one-hour clinic will show how ponds work and the best ways to manage them. The goal: To help pond owners head off problems and, in the end, save money.

“For example, we’ll discuss how nutrient levels ultimately determine how each pond behaves, what kind of vegetation problems may occur, and how many pounds of fish and what size of fish a pond will support,” said presenter Bill Lynch, an Ohio State University Extension associate for aquatic ecosystem management.

“A major underlying theme will be preventing pond problems rather than waiting for them to occur and thus incurring considerable expense in correcting them,” he said.

Nipping the blooms. The biggest pond problems, at least in Ohio, are filamentous algae blooms, excessive submerged aquatic plants and summer fish kills.

The keys to preventing these problems, Lynch said, are minimizing shallow water and limiting the nutrients that enter the pond.

“A properly managed pond is likely to be a pond in which no mats of algae or duckweed are floating about,” he said. “These indicate excessive nutrients.”

Farm Science Review is Sept. 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio.

Offered daily. “Ponds with a Purpose” will be held each day from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Review’s Gwynne Conservation Area. The location is the south shore of the Gwynne’s farm pond.

Shuttles to the Gwynne will leave from the west end of Friday Avenue.

At the Review, Lynch will focus on pond ecology and on setting management goals and objectives. For instance, is clear water wanted for recreation, or is a pond full of plants – great for wildlife, not as good for swimming and fishing – preferred? Among the topics will be improving fish production and controlling unwanted algae and aquatic plants.

Proper construction, especially having 3:1 underwater slopes near shore, is critical.

“In Ohio, most aquatic plants can’t grow well in water deeper than 6 to 8 feet,” Lynch said. “By minimizing the amount of water shallower than that, we can effectively limit the amount of nuisance aquatic vegetation.”

Do it right first time. Prevention pays, Lynch said. Re-contouring the bottom of a too-shallow pond may cost thousands of dollars. It’s rarely done for that reason. And using herbicides to control plants and algae may cost up to $600 per acre per year.

It’s a lot less expensive to build a pond right to begin with and to limit excess nutrients, he said.

Also at the clinic site will be “Managing Your Farm Pond: Vegetation and Fish,” a display of live aquatic plants plus free pond-management information.

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