Many foothill and valley ponds have suffered though another long dry summer. We are hearing drought every day on the news and with conversations with our friends and colleagues. As we move into fall and winter, now is the time to pay attention to how we maintain a healthy pond and protect our fish. Here are 8 tips for a healthy pond and to insure the survival of your fish.
1. Raise overflows pipes and spillways to the maximum height. This will insure that your pond catches the most water possible.
2. Divert any safe and clean runoff to your pond. It is surprising how a simple ditch, uphill from your pond, can help supply it, even in a short thunderstorm. Runoff can also be caught from roofs and pavement areas.
3. Secure an alternate supply of water from a well. Maintaining the level of your pond may only take a few minutes a day.
4. Repair any leaks in the pond. Plastic, clay, or bentonite can help seal a pond. A healthy population of fish can also help with the job. Use the low water months to access these areas that need repair
5. Keep a log of water depth so you can evaluate your improvements
6. Plant trees away from the pond so they do not foul the water in fall or draw water from the pond. Plant tall tress so they provide some shade to reduce evaporation.
7. Remove aquatic weeds that will reduce open water for fish when the water gets low. The lower the water gets, the more aquatic weeds will grow.
8. Install aeration equipment to add oxygen and circulate water. Running an aerator a few hours a day (3:00 a.m. to sunrise is best) will make your pond healthier and save your investment in fish.
A pond not only provides fun and food for your family, it provides wildlife with badly needed water and habitat. Collectively, thousands of private lakes and ponds contribute to the rural ecology. Treat these jewels with respect and they will give back in many ways.