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Joined: Jun 2021
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ghdmd Offline OP
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Greetings, all -

I was glad to recently come across these forums, as I've been dipping my toes into some basic understanding of pond management.

Here's our situation:

Our in-laws have two modest-sized ponds on their ~80 acre farm in western Maryland (between Frederick and Hagerstown).
I'd ballpark the slightly larger of the two at 120' x 50', and max depth of ~12-15 feet. (Some old paperwork we dug up shows it permitted at 0.2 acres)

Each pond was last stocked approximately 10 years ago - a bit prior to our in-laws move here. There are bluegill, bass, and catfish, according to neighbors who have been fishing here for years.

Our primary use / interest is swimming and canoeing - for our young kids, and ourselves cool


The algae and vegetation situation has grown worse each of the past ~5 years. In past years we've managed to haul out enough of it on our own (a process the kids & I enjoy) to continue swimming in the larger pond. This year, we've lost the battle - the vegetation situation has grown so bad that no one is interested in swimming any more. My initial online research suggests we're dealing with the following:
  • Baby pondweed (submerged plants) are the most problematic for us: they make it really difficult to swim through large swaths of the pond, and have taken over ~2/3 of the pond area
  • Filamentous algae (surface level) seems to really trap heat / warm the pond, significantly
  • Watermeal covering most of the surface. Doesn't seem to cause much of a problem that I can tell (other than requiring a rinse-off after swimming)


I recently read about the submerged plants: "Physically removing it is only temporarily effective due to its ability to come back from roots and seeds in the water."

So at this point, we're open to any and all options. As I understand it, this includes:
  • aerator pump (solar or more powerful)
  • adding beneficial bacteria
  • adding fish (Triploid grass carp)
  • dredging
  • chemical treatment (less appealing, but wouldn't rule it out entirely)


I've come across plenty of websites selling aerators, chemical treatments, etc. - some with decent instructional videos - but we're not in a position to manage this situation ourselves - relative our lack of knowledge, equipment, and (honestly) time / interest.

I'd prefer to hire someone knowledgeable to assess the situation, provide some recommendations, and contract for the work. Hopefully we'd be able to maintain it ourselves, going forward.

Unfortunately most of the pond construction and maintenance companies I've found online are based in the midwest. Can anyone recommend someone in the mid-Atlantic that would consult on this (relatively small) project?

(other guidance welcome, of course!)

Thanks much,
Bob

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One of the experts will be along to help you shortly, here is my $.02 while you wait. Depending on your budget and how quickly you want to see results, dredging/excavating to remove the nutrient rich "muck" at the bottom of your pond will provide the most immediate and most significant solution. If I were in your shoes, I would excavate and then add bottom aeration set up and stock some grass carp. Grass carp do a very good job at keeping plant life in check. They will likely not have a significant impact on your FA as long as there is a good supply of submerged vegetation, but they will help. Stocked in high enough numbers, they will basically wipe out submerged vegetation. This can be detrimental to your other fish populations, but if fishing is not a priority it may be something to consider.

1 member likes this: ghdmd
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We just finished a one year long renovation of our pond, construction work completed as of yesterday.

Your vegetation ills sound similar to what we experienced. Vegetation (mostly coontail and watermeal) that over the years got worse and worse to the point that you didn't want to swim and where the ability to fish was next to impossible by summertime. It was depressing for us.

We decided to drain the lake and dig out much of the muck that had built up. Adding grass carp a few years back didn't even put a dent in it. Apparently they don't like to eat coontail and water meal but it appeared that the bluegill ate the watermeal as I'd find it in their digestive systems when I filleted them.

It's a big project and can get expensive, but so too can chemically treating it as well.

We found a local guy who owns and operates his own big machinery. He's built many private lakes and ponds in our area and was the one who originally built our lake 40 years ago for my dad. I don't think he's that hip on draining and digging out old lakes and I think he took our project on simply for nostalgia reasons, lol.

Anyways, the reason I am bringing this up is just to put out the idea that maybe you can find a self employed independent contractor in your area that has the equipment and knowledge to help you should you end up choosing to dredge or even drain and dig out your pond. This fine gentleman charged us by the hour and the total cost looks to be close to $11k but we also had other work done apart from the lake while he was out here too. I imagine if we had a company come out here it would have possibly cost us double that amount or more.

It's just a thought. I imagine things are a whole lot more expensive in MD though than for me out here in MO. I was just in Frederick two weeks ago visiting family and I used to live in the Gaithersburg, Germantown area as a kid and then again working after I got out of college.


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