5Ws+1H: How It's Done: Pond management is a year-round affair

Apr. 25—Pond management is not only important during the warmer months, but all year long.

Sherry Clark, agriculture educator for the Cherokee County OSU Cooperative Extension Office, said a common misconception about ponds is that they can manage themselves and problems can be fixed quickly.

Clark said one of the major management problems occurs when the area is being sprayed for herbicides or other chemicals.

"You have to be careful of them washing into the pond," Clark said.

The herbicides label should be thoroughly read to ensure the proper amount is used, its effects on wildlife, and the perimeter for spraying near a watershed. Green and blue algae, which can be fatal to humans and animals, are common in some ponds. Clark said copper sulfate can help combat the problem.

"I just always refer people to [the label] because I don't know how big their pond their is," Clark said. "People call [something] a pond that might be very small, or someone will call it that and it will be [huge]. I'm always like, read the label and follow what it says."

Adding plants to a pond should be done with care, as some vegetation can either struggle or cause problems.

Clark said ponds should be monitored all year long, especially during the warmer months. Clark said the OSU Extension Office can test the water for consumption and irrigation purposes.

If fish are dying in a pond, especially within a day, Clark said the leading cause could be oxygen depletion. Some other symptoms of oxygen depletion include the pond water changing colors, fish coming closer to the surface, and scum or film showing up.

"Basically, the water needs aerating," Clark said. "The recommendation on that is you can back a boat in there with a propeller and get the water moving again. You can put a pump in it to get the water moving — any kind of aeration that you can do [helps]."

Clark said the main goal is getting the water to move, and it can take several days for the levels to recover.

Pond care and information are often referred by Clark to Natural Resources Conservation Service, as they can answer questions about location and other issues. An example is that if a pond is built in the wrong location, constant problems will arise, and the pond may dry up. More information about NRCS can be found at www.nrcs.usda.gov.