Friday, May 21, 2010

Weather for the Pond Clinic was perfect

What a beautiful night to sit on straw bales beside the pond and listen to several speakers on the subject of your dream pond.  This is the site of the clinic - the EARS facility just outside Belle Valley on St Rt 215.  This 3 acre pond was installed about 50 years ago by the Ohio State university to supply all the water needs for the research station.  By pumping water from the pond to a tank at the high point of the farm, they are able to supply water to the buildings and to the livestock that are raised and studied at the farm. 

Thirty people attended the clinic.  The first speaker was Clif Little, OSU extension ag and natural resource agent for Guernsey and Noble counties.   He spoke on the subject of controlling weeds in the pond, and on how to stock the pond with fish.   The pond in the background is stocked with bluegills and bass, and has white amur to help control weeds in the pond.  Because the pond was designed correctly and has been well maintained, there are few cattails, duckweed, or other pond pests.

Here are Jim Mizik, technician for the Noble SWCD, and Dave Sayre from our office, talking about the process of planning and building a pond.  If you missed this clinic, you missed the chance to take advantage of Dave's 25 years in the trenches; from evaluating the site of a proposed pond all the way through designing the dam, emergency overflow, and working along with the contractor as the pond is being built. 
Two important pieces of advice from these 2 men are to look above and below the site of the pond before you decide to build.  Below the dam to see what could be damaged should it fail, and above the pond, to see what is in the watershed.  If you do not control the watershed to the pond, you may have problems with runoff from septic systems, lawn chemicals, silt and leaves, and animal waste. 

The final speaker of the evening was Joe Lehman, our wildlife specialist.  He started his presentation by asking who was in favor of wildlife, and who was against it.  Although it was a joke that brought chuckles from the crowd, it served the purpose of introducing his topic.  Not only do ponds attract wildlife that we enjoy watching and appreciate for its beauty, but the wildlife can also cause problems in the maintainance of a pond.  Beaver, Muskrats, and geese are the most destructive; beavers block overflows and cause the pond to overflow the dam, weakening it; muskrats dig holes in the dam, causing it to leak; and geese contaminate the water and banks of the pond with their feces.   So Joe talked about ways to manage these pests, and also ways to attract desireable wildlife to ponds by providing feed and cover (habitat). 

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