Presentation on theme: "So You Think You Want a Pond? Developed by: Susan Donaldson University of Nevada Cooperative Extension USDA NRCS."— Presentation transcript:
So You Think You Want a Pond? Developed by: Susan Donaldson University of Nevada Cooperative Extension USDA NRCS
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
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.
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
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
Ponds are a lot of work! UNCE, Reno, Nev.
Types of ponds In-stream dammed ponds ( ) Excavated, off-stream ponds Empoundments Water features (not included in (not included in this presentation) USDA NRCS
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
Laws and liabilities Check on local and state laws regarding liability and other issues Check your CC&Rs Check with your insurer USDA NCRS
Permits Obtain needed permits Water rights Excavation Pollution Army Corps of Engineers Etc. USDA NCRS
Neighboring issues USDA NRCS
You still think you want a pond? USDA NRCS
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
Site considerations – potential hazards
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
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.
Health issues Flow rate and stagnation Mosquito habitat Disease UNCE, Reno, Nev.
Water quality issues Ponds may be a source of water quality impairment Sediment Nutrients Temperature UNCE, Reno, Nev.
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
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.
Vegetation issues Identify your plants Select species for revegetation Learn about plant management needs and longevity Manage invasive species USDA NRCS
Fish-stocking issues When stocking, consider water quality needs Temperature Dissolved oxygen pH Nutrients USDA NRCS
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
Maintaining your pond USDA NRCS
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
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
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
Muddy water from clay particles Apply alum or other materials Add organic matter (barley hay)
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
Leaky ponds Commercial pond liners are available, but are expensive Drought conditions can cause cracking and leaking
Algae A. Miller
Algae Planktonic Filamentous Attached (periphyton) Big Bear Municipal Water District
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
Excess aquatic vegetation UNCE, Reno, Nev.
Excess aquatic vegetation Consider mechanical removal or sterile grass carp to eat plants. Check with your fisheries department to see if permits are needed.
Excess aquatic vegetation Chemical controls
Fish kills Causes include: Lack of dissolved oxygen (summer problem) Decaying aquatic vegetation Hot water Chemical contamination Diseases
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
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
Wildlife damage To the pond itself To other parts of your property If you provide water, they will come! U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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
Tips for mosquito prevention Add mosquito-eating fish Don’t let plants touch the water surface Avoid fertilizer and nutrient contamination of the pond
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
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.
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.