Every year, our Extension office gets a number of client inquiries looking for assistance with ponds. The level of involvement and assistance that Extension can provide regarding ponds has changed over time, so we frequently have to refer clients to other resources. This week, I wanted to clarify what pond-related things Extension can help you with and where to go for other assistance.

            Historically, Extension and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) played a more active role in supporting pond owners with pond engineering. In the past, the NRCS employed engineers and provided funding programs to install and maintain pond systems on private property. Unfortunately, the funding for these programs was removed several years ago, resulting in both Extension and NRCS ceasing their involvement with pond infrastructure. Therefore, if you require assistance with designing a pond, installing a pond, engineering dams or overflow systems, or any other aspect related to pond infrastructure, we recommend reaching out to a private contractor. To assist you with finding the right contractor for your needs, our Extension office maintains a list of professionals specializing in pond work, and we are happy to provide you with that list upon request.

            These days, Extension focuses primarily on helping manage ponds for water quality, fishing, and weed management. Water quality samples are crucial for assessing oxygen and nutrient levels, which are essential for maintaining a healthy aquatic environment. Based on the results of these samples and the intended purpose of the pond, Extension can offer recommendations for pond liming and fertilization to optimize conditions. By providing advice tailored to your specific situation, we aim to help you create an environment that supports the well-being of your pond’s ecosystem. Another common issue faced by pond owners is the presence of aquatic weeds. Extension can assist you in identifying the specific weed species and provide guidance on developing a control strategy.  Proper identification of these weeds is the first step in developing an effective control plan, which often involves the use of aquatic herbicides or other relevant products.

Extension can aid in evaluating fish populations through the analysis of harvest records. By examining the data, we can help you assess the current status of your fish populations and work with you to develop management programs that align with your desired goals. Whether it involves adjusting stocking rates, implementing selective harvesting, or enhancing habitat, Extension can provide guidance to help you achieve the desired balance and productivity of your pond’s fish populations.

While Extension and NRCS no longer offer direct support for pond infrastructure, their focus has shifted towards providing guidance on managing water quality, addressing weed-related concerns, and optimizing fish populations. Should you need assistance from Extension, our contractor list, or a connection to the NRCS, please contact us at uge3181@uga.edu or 706-359-3233.

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