Most ponds develop problems from time to time. Problems can be in the form of aquatic vegetation, wildlife issues, high/low water, muddy water, leaky ponds and more.
Visit the information below to learn about some common pond problems and what you can do to remedy them. In addition, the staff here at Warren SWCD can help you with pond problem identification and solutions.
For some overall general information on pond problems visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife Pond Management page or the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources Troubleshooting Common Pond Problems page.
Controlling Filamentous Algae in Ponds | The Ohio State University Extension
Duckweek and Watermeal: Prevention and Control | The Ohio State University Extension
Cattail Management | The Ohio State University Extension
Using Grass Carp to Control Aquatic Plants | The Ohio State University Extension
Chemical Control of Aquatic Plants | The Ohio State University Extension
DROUGHT/MINIMAL RAIN CONDITIONS: Most ponds are refilled with rainfall, so during drought times pond levels can drop significantly due to evaporation. This is a natural occurance and should gradulally fill back up as rain appears. This type of low water is not a problem.
LEAKING DAM: A weak point has developed in the dam causing pond water to drain through the dam itself. Indications: Wet areas on backside of dam, with standing or trickling water. Change in vegetation type or existing vegetation is greener in a certain area. How to Fix: Contact an excavation contractor to discuss methods and price.
FAILING SPILLWAY: The principal spillway has developed a weak point somewhere in the structure causing pond water to drain at a lower point than what the spillway was designed for. Indications: Water flowing within spillway & not over normal lip. Water flowing alongside of outlet pipe and not through pipe. How to Fix: Contact an excavation contractor to discuss methods and price.
SPILLWAY PROBLEMS: High Water is most likely due to the principal spillway being either blocked with debris or some other type of blockage disturbing flow.
FISH KILLS:: Common causes for fish kills include overabundant aquatic vegetation, overabundant Planktonic Algae, physical turnover/mixing of the water layers from heavy rains, improper use of aquatic herbicides, pollution, disease, spring die-off, winter kill and natural mortality. Read about these fill kill causes on the KY Dept of Fish & Wildlife Resources TROUBLESHOOTING COMMON POND PROBLEMS page and in the pdf below.
Fish Kills | Unknown
MUSKRATS:: Muskrats primarily feed on cattail, bullrush, smartweed, water lily, young willows, and other plants. Muskrats become a nuisance when they begin burrowing into the banks or the dam of farm ponds. They dig their burrows below the surface of the water and extend them at an upward angle until a den chamber is hollowed out above the water line. A rise in the pond water level will force muskrats to dig further and higher into the banks or the dam. Although burrows along the pond bank can lead to problems with sloughing, the greatest damage is created when muskrats tunnel into the dam. This weakens narrow or poorly constructed dams causing them to leak and results in lowering of the water level.
CRAYFISH: Like their aquatic cousins, burrowing crayfish use gills to extract oxygen from water. Unlike their water-soaked cousins, burrowing crayfish spend most of their lives on land. They dig their burrows down to water so they have a ready source of oxygen. This connection to a high water table explains why most burrowing activity occurs in poorly drained soils near streams or around shallow ditches. Burrowing crayfish throw soft mud up around their exit holes as they excavate the soil. These chimney-like structures may tower 3-8“ above the soil surface. Extensive burrowing around ponds and lakes can undermine the structural integrity of dams.
OTHER WILDLIFE: Other wildlife can cause damage to a pond structure or eat a large amount of the fish in a pond. Common pond nuisances are muskrats, birds, turtles, beavers and crayfish, For certain animals you may need to contact the Warren County Wildlife Officer for proper methods and permits for removing these nuisances. View the current list of Wildlife Officers by County HERE.
Pond Nuisances | Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
OTHER POND PROBLEMS
MUDDY WATER: A common pond problem is occasional muddy water. Short lived muddy water due to weather will usually clean up in a few days. If your pond's muddy water does not clear up after a weather event, you might have a problem. Muddy water can have an impact on wildlife, aquatic plant life and aesthetics. Read the information below for more information about how to trouble shoot and remedy muddy water.
Muddy Water in Ponds | The Ohio State University Extension
LEAKING POND: Pond leaks can be a difficult problem to find, manage and fix. Inspect the outlet pipe, drain pipe structures, inspect the pond banks and dam. Look for wet spots, changes in vegetation to a thicker, greener growth or bubbles appearing on the surface of the pond in one location. Read the information below for more information about leaky ponds.
Fixing a Leaking Pond | Penn State Extension