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,

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