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So You Think You Want a Pond? Developed by: Susan Donaldson University of Nevada Cooperative Extension USDA NRCS.

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Presentation on theme: "So You Think You Want a Pond? Developed by: Susan Donaldson University of Nevada Cooperative Extension USDA NRCS."— Presentation transcript:

1 So You Think You Want a Pond? Developed by: Susan Donaldson University of Nevada Cooperative Extension USDA NRCS

2 What we’ll cover  What is a pond?  Why have a pond?  Types of ponds  Pond requirements and issues  Site considerations  Water quality, vegetation and fish  Maintaining your pond

3 What’s a pond?  Lake: more than 10 acres  Pond: less than 10 acres  Pond: manmade  Arbitrary distinction - smaller than a lake! UNCE, Reno, Nev.

4 Why do you want to have a pond?  Irrigation water storage (is it legal?)  Stock watering  Aesthetics  Wildlife habitat  Fish production  Recreation  Fire suppression, etc. USDA NRCS

5 Pros and cons of pond ownership  Aesthetics versus ugliness  Water storage versus legal issues  Livestock watering versus water quality  Recreation versus public health, safety, risk management  Habitat versus nuisance species USDA NRCS

6 Ponds are a lot of work! UNCE, Reno, Nev.

7 Types of ponds  In-stream dammed ponds (  )  Excavated, off-stream ponds  Empoundments  Water features (not included in (not included in this presentation) USDA NRCS

8 Contemplating a pond?  Consider water sources  Surface runoff  Streams  Springs  Groundwater WellsWells SeepsSeeps USDA NRCS

9 Water use  Do you have the right to an adequate amount of water to keep the pond filled during hot weather?  How much evaporation will occur from the water surface?  No water, no pond! USDA NRCS

10 Laws and liabilities  Check on local and state laws regarding liability and other issues  Check your CC&Rs  Check with your insurer USDA NCRS

11 Permits  Obtain needed permits  Water rights  Excavation  Pollution  Army Corps of Engineers  Etc. USDA NCRS

12 Neighboring issues USDA NRCS

13 You still think you want a pond? USDA NRCS

14 Soil type Bottom soils and seepage:  Fine-textured clays and silty clays work best  Sandy soils won’t hold water  If bottom materials are not suitable, the rate of water loss may be unacceptable

15 Site considerations – potential hazards

16 More site considerations  Keep pond at least 100 feet from a septic leach field  Don’t build on top of buried pipelines, cables or utilities  Site should be accessible for maintenance  Pond should fit into the design for the rest of your landscaping USDA NRCS

17 Depth and size issues  A deeper pond has less nuisance weed growth and less temperature fluctuation  For fish habitat, a pond should be deep enough to avoid winter freezing issues  Keep pond at least 3 feet deep to avoid cattail encroachment  Size of the pond depends on water availability, CC&Rs, risk and insurance costs, etc.

18 Health issues  Flow rate and stagnation  Mosquito habitat  Disease UNCE, Reno, Nev.

19 Water quality issues  Ponds may be a source of water quality impairment  Sediment  Nutrients  Temperature UNCE, Reno, Nev.

20 Water quality issues: hot springs ponds  These ponds are filled with thermal waters  Water quality is likely to be poor, with high levels of minerals  Your neighbors may complain about odors  The water is not suitable for fish

21 Safety issues  Emergency spillway: how much water does the spillway hold?  More severe events may destroy a dam  Will the failure threaten your home or someone else's home? USDA NRCS UNCE, Reno, Nev.

22 Vegetation issues  Identify your plants  Select species for revegetation  Learn about plant management needs and longevity  Manage invasive species USDA NRCS

23 Fish-stocking issues  When stocking, consider water quality needs  Temperature  Dissolved oxygen  pH  Nutrients USDA NRCS

24 Fish-stocking issues  Permit requirements – contact local fisheries department or U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service  Appropriate species  Fish needs  Stocking rates  Best time to stock USDA NRCS

25 Maintaining your pond USDA NRCS

26 Sediment accumulation  Consider periodic dredging, perhaps every five to 10 years  To decrease sediment accumulations, never construct a pond within a stream  Control sediment in inflow water USDA NRCS

27 Muddy water Determine the cause:  Remove fish that are rooting around  Fence out livestock  Establish moderate growth of vegetation including rushes, sedge and cattails to protect pond banks from erosion USDA NRCS

28 Muddy water Determine the cause:  Keep domestic ducks and geese away from the pond  Maintain good vegetative cover throughout the watershed  Plant windbreaks to decrease wind-related wave action

29 Muddy water from clay particles  Apply alum or other materials  Add organic matter (barley hay)

30 Leaky ponds  Determine the cause  For porous soils, use bentonite clay applied to dry pond soils at a rate of 1 to 3 pounds per square foot of basin  Incorporate the clay into the soil using a rototiller or disk, then compact it with a “sheep’s foot” roller or soil compactor

31 Leaky ponds  Commercial pond liners are available, but are expensive  Drought conditions can cause cracking and leaking

32 Algae A. Miller

33 Algae  Planktonic  Filamentous  Attached (periphyton) Big Bear Municipal Water District

34 Nuisance algae Filamentous algae Blue-green algae aquaplant.tamu.edu

35 Tips for controlling algae  Reduce nutrients, especially phosphorus  Try biological controls, such as barley straw – may not be effective  Improve pond aeration  Remove by hand (for filamentous algae)  Apply chemicals

36 Excess aquatic vegetation UNCE, Reno, Nev.

37 Excess aquatic vegetation  Consider mechanical removal or sterile grass carp to eat plants.  Check with your fisheries department to see if permits are needed.

38 Excess aquatic vegetation  Chemical controls

39 Fish kills Causes include:  Lack of dissolved oxygen (summer problem)  Decaying aquatic vegetation  Hot water  Chemical contamination  Diseases

40 Tips for avoiding fish kills  Consider adding an aeration system to increase dissolved oxygen  Avoid using toxic materials and fertilizers adjacent to the pond  Don’t make lawn pesticide applications in the pond drainage area if it will rain, or if you irrigate with pond water  Fence out grazing animals

41 Wildlife damage  Burrowing animals  Muskrats and beavers  Nuisance fish, fish diseases and parasites  Waterfowl, especially Canada geese (manure, aggressive males, honking, etc.) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

42 Wildlife damage  To the pond itself  To other parts of your property If you provide water, they will come! U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

43 Mosquitoes Aquatic plants at the surface can provide shelter for mosquito larvae Shallow water less than 1 inch deep can provide a safe place for mosquito larvae to grow Plants hanging into the pond can provide shelter for mosquito larvae Graphic adapted from by A. Miller

44 Tips for mosquito prevention  Add mosquito-eating fish  Don’t let plants touch the water surface  Avoid fertilizer and nutrient contamination of the pond

45 Tips for preventing pond problems  Don’t build one in the first place!  Fence livestock out of the pond and provide an alternate freeze-proof, year-round watering source USDA NRCS

46 Tips for preventing pond problems  Maintain deep pond edges to deter the growth of aquatic weeds (3 to 4 feet)  Maintain healthy vegetation on the margins of the pond  Manage your pond to minimize problem algae that may shelter mosquitoes. Nutrient control will help reduce algae blooms.

47 Homework  Inventory your pond.  What’s growing on the banks?  What’s growing in the water?  How deep is the pond?  What temperature is the water?  Do the jar test.  If you don’t have a pond, write your own personal pro and con list.


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