Pond building, management featured at seminar

5/17/2013 7:34:22 PM

News Release Distributed 05/17/13

LAFAYETTE, La. – Building a pond requires more than just digging a hole and waiting for rain, LSU AgCenter experts said at a pond seminar recently (May 14).

Planning and following basic guidelines can prevent problems.

The purpose of a pond should be identified, such as a pond for trophy bass, a catfish pond to put food on the table or a pond for landscaping purposes, said LSU AgCenter aquaculture expert Greg Lutz. “Rarely will a pond be capable of doing everything for everybody.”

The local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service can assist with permits, complying with regulations, testing the soil, siting and other preliminary steps prior to construction, Lutz said.

He advised against planting trees on levees of a pond because roots can develop underground channels for leakage.

A deeper pond will create more habitat, he said. But non-oxygenated water will be held in deeper water inaccessible to sunlight.

A well is usually needed to replace water lost from evaporation, but groundwater contains little or no oxygen, he said. Allowing water, pumped from a well, to splash over bricks or a grate can mix the new water with oxygen.

An aeration system can be used to avoid oxygen problems in a pond, Lutz said. An oxygen problem is the likely culprit if large fish are found dead before small fish.

“Every pond in Louisiana should be fertilized,” Lutz said. Fertilizer will enrich micro-organisms that will color the water and prevent it from becoming too clear and inhibiting weed growth.

All ponds should be stocked with bream, preferably coppernose bluegill, he said. Bass will feed on bream, and a bass requires 10 pounds of bream to gain one pound.

But a large percentage of bream should be harvested to prevent them from overpopulating and feeding on bass eggs and fry, he said.

A pond with banks sloped at a 45-degree angle can reduce weed problems, said LSU AgCenter fisheries agent Mark Shirley. And islands within ponds will create more weed problems.

Herbicides can be used to control aquatic weeds without harming fish. But he said weeds have to be identified properly, and the appropriate chemical must be obtained.

“There are only a handful of herbicides labeled for aquatic use,” Shirley said. “As with any chemical, read and follow the label directions.”

Some herbicides require a surfactant to allow the herbicides to stick to plants, he said.

For online information about weed control, go here.

An LSU AgCenter booklet “Management of Recreational and Farm Ponds in Louisiana” can be downloaded or ordered in hard copy for $1 plus postage and 9 percent sales tax here.  

Bruce Schultz

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