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Outline Leaks Water Quality Muddy water, fish kills, animals Common Plants and Algae and Control Control Methods Grass Carp Barley Straw Update Fish Topics Common species, trout, fish kills Miscellaneous Problems Canada Geese, muddy water New Resources Pond Leaks

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  • Leaks

  • Water Quality

    • Muddy water, fish kills, animals

  • Common Plants and Algae and Control

    • Control Methods

    • Grass Carp

    • Barley Straw Update

  • Fish Topics

    • Common species, trout, fish kills

  • Miscellaneous Problems

    • Canada Geese, muddy water

  • New Resources

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Pond Leaks

  • Avoid with proper design and construction!

  • Nearly always necessary to drain pond

  • Simple compaction if good clay present

  • Make-up water – sometimes possible

  • Sealing products

    • Plastic liner - $$$$

    • Bentonite (one pound/ft2) – also $$$

      • disc into soil 3 or 4 inches, swells when wet

      • better for coarse textured soils

    • Sodium polyphosphate (0.05 lbs./ft2)

      • white granular form, mix to 8” then compact

      • breaks soil into fine particles

    • blanket of clay

      • 6 inches in depth and compact, refill pond quickly

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Pond Water Quality for Farms

  • nitrate-N should be less than 100 mg/L

  • fecal coliform bacteria

    • <10 per 100 ml for adult animals

    • 0 fecal coliform for calves

  • blue-green algae - toxins

  • pH should be 5.1 to 9.0 for dairy cows

  • watch use of aquatic herbicides (copper)

  • iron and manganese - taste problem

  • sulfate < 250 mg/L (mining)

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Pond Water Quality for Fish

  • temperature

    • all fish have temperature limits

    • difficult to control – must match fish to temperature

    • used to determine fish spawning times

  • dissolved oxygen

    • normal = 10-15 mg/L

    • warmwater fish like D.O. > 3 mg/L

    • coldwater fish like D.O. > 5 mg/L

    • depletion caused by decay of organic matter

    • most common cause of fish kills in ponds

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Pond Water Quality for Fish

  • pH

    • can be treated with chemical additions

    • warmwater fish (6 to 9), coldwater (pH 5 to 9)

    • low pH may cause stunted growth of fish

  • aquatic herbicides

    • many are toxic to fish (especially young fish)

    • obtain a permit and read the label carefully

  • herbicide runoff

    • some are extremely toxic to fish

    • especially high following first rain after application

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Fish Kills in Ponds

  • #1 oxygen depletion

    • decay of organic material

  • #2 undetermined disease

    • Noted by death on only one or two kinds of fish

  • #3 pesticides

    • runoff or drift from fields, improper aquatic use

  • #4 cotton wool disease

    • occurs in spring around spawning time

    • soil bacteria infects bluegill, bullhead, crappie

  • #5 winter kill

    • shallow ponds with persistent ice and snow cover

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Pond Water Quality for Swimming

  • coliform bacteria

    • 2000 total coliform bacteria per 100 ml of water

    • 200 fecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml

  • swimmers itch

    • free swimming parasite

    • can be controlled with copper sulfate or predator fish introductions

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Water Quality for Aquatic Herbicides

  • hardness

    • affects dose of some chemicals

  • temperature

    • Many labels recommend temperature range of 60 to 75 F

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Aquatic Plants and Algae

First Step – What is the Objective?

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Cause of Plant and Algae Problems

  • Natural aging of the pond

  • Transport of plants from pond to pond

    • Canada Geese!!

  • Nutrient inputs

  • Ideally – 10-20% of pond bottom and surface will be covered with aquatic plants

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Nutrient Management

  • N and P cause increased plant and algae growth

  • Sources

    • runoff from barnyards, cropland, feedlots

    • sewage systems

    • managed turf (golf courses, developments)

  • Control (BMP’s) - impact will not be immediate!

    • redirect runoff

    • reduce fertilizer use

    • buffer strips (tall grass or forests)

    • maintain on-lot septic systems

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Plant Identification

  • Field Guides

    • Through the Looking Glass … (available from Wisconsin Lakes Partnership for $20, 715-346-3424).

    • Many web pages

    • How to Identify and Control Water Weeds and Algae and Aquatic Pesticide Application Assistant CD – both available at 800-647-5368

  • Send digital pictures to brs@psu.edu

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Chara – hardwater areas, encrusted, usually beneficial except in some shallow ponds

Filamentous Algae – many species

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Algae Control

  • Mechanical

    • Raking, netting, aeration (??)

  • Chemical

    • Copper sulfate or chelated copper compounds

      • Rapid acting, non-selective, contact herbicide (0.25 to 0.5 ppm), cheap

      • more toxic in soft and acidic water

      • may kill sensitive fish (trout, catfish, carp)

      • accumulates in sediment!

    • Dyes

      • block sunlight (blue/yellow dyes), no permit, cheap

      • safe for fish but “artificial” appearance

  • Biological

    • Grazing insects, bacteria products (??)

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Barley Straw Update

  • Fungi decompose barley in water releases inhibitory chemical (hydrogen peroxide?)

  • Not all algae susceptible

  • Results inconsistent

    • species, water condition, climate

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Barley Straw Use

  • Break bales apart into loose netting

  • Place in shallow water (< 5 feet)

  • March or April best

  • 225 lbs/acre (~5 bales per acre)

  • Higher dose in muddy water (double)

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Barley Straw Regulation

  • EPA considers barley straw a pesticide

  • It cannot be sold as a pesticide since it is unregistered

  • Important for commercial user but homeowner can still use it as “home remedy”

  • Extension should use care in recommending its use to commercial applicators

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Curly-leaf Pondweed

Floating-leaf Pondweed

Thin-leaf Pondweed

Large-leaf Pondweed

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Leafy Pondweed

Common problem, very dense growth

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Coontail – dense, may float, fragments

Watermilfoil – reddish, fragments, feather-like leaves

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Elodea – dense, common in northern PA ponds, aquarium plant, good habitat

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Bladderwort – tiny oval bladders, may float, found in cold, acidic ponds, yellow or purple flowers

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Naiad – brittle, grows in deeper water, fragments

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Physical/Mechanical Control

  • cutting, raking, mowing, digging, pulling

    • most effective for small quantities near shore

    • usually need to repeat several times per year

    • need to harvest plants if possible

    • mechanical harvesters for larger lakes ($$)

    • can make some problems worse! (naiad, elodea, coontail, etc.)

  • blanket

    • gravel or sand

  • shade

    • black plastic for 30 days

  • deepen pond edges

  • drawdown

    • expose and freeze root stock

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Biological Control

  • triploid grass carp (white amur)

  • Will eat most submerged aquatic plants

    • pondweeds, naiads, elodea, coontail, muskgrass

    • Not for floaters (somewhat for duckweed)

    • Not for emergents

    • Little control of algae

  • thrive in warm water (68°F+)

  • can reach 25 pounds or more

  • may cause water discoloration

  • sterile fish must be stocked

  • permit required (1 to 15 per acre)

  • koi, carp not recommended

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    Herbicides for Submerged Plants

    • Hydrothol 191 (monopotassium endothall)

      • rapid, non-selective, no root kill, high fish toxicity

    • Aquathol-K (dipotassium endothall)

      • same as above, contact stops photosynthesis,

    • Weedtrine-D (diquat dibromide)

    • Reward (diquat dibromide)

      • rapid adsorption, stops photosynthesis, degrades fast

    • Sonar SRP (fluridone)

      • slow acting, inhibits carotene

    • Copper Compounds

      • rapid, non-selective, high fish toxicity, accumulate, inhibits cell growth, generally algaecides

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    Herbicide Use

    • Important to make clients aware of state permit requirement

      • There is a large-scale failure to use permit system

      • This could lead to tighter regulation

      • Liability issue

      • Permit ensures correct herbicide and dose

      • Simple, takes about two weeks to get permit, available online

    • Chemical must be EPA registered, PDA listed, and labeled for aquatic use

    • Important that client reads and follows label directions

    • Careful pond measurements are critical

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    Cattails – mechanical removal?, can use Rodeo also

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    Purple Loosestrife – problem exotic plant in much of PA, Rodeo effective

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    Emergent Plant Control

    • Mechanical

      • Pulling

      • Cutting – may drown plant

      • Digging

      • Drawdown

    • Chemical

      • Rodeo (glyphosate)

        • moves through plant from contact to roots

      • Weedtrine (2,4-D)

        • roots lose ability to take up nutrients

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    Watershield – common in acidic ponds, underside of leaf is purple with gelatinous film, dull red or purple flowers, spreads quickly, BIG problem, Rodeo or 2,4-D product

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    Spatterdock – heart shaped leaf, yellow flower

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    Water Lily – often desirable, mechanical control possible

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    These are BIG problems in PA, especially stagnant ponds, Sonar best herbicide ($$)

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    Floating Plant Control

    • Mechanical

      • Netting or aeration (duckweed)

      • Pulling or cutting (watershield)

    • Chemical

      • Rodeo (glyphosate)

        • moves through plant from contact to roots

      • AquaKleen/Aquacide/Navigate (2,4-D)

        • roots lose ability to take up nutrients

      • Sonar A.S. (fluridone)

        • absorbed by leaves and roots, inhibits carotene

    • Biological

      • Grass Carp (limited duckweed control)

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    Herbicides Can be Expensive! cost per acre

    • Reward® (diquat dibromide) - $200 to $400

      • submerged

    • Sonar® (fluridone) - $500 to $1,000

      • floaters, some submerged

    • Rodeo® (glyphosate) - $100 to $250

      • emergents, some floaters

    • Copper compounds - < $100

      • algae

    • Navigate (2,4-D) - $300 to $600

      • some floaters, some submerged

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    Fish Topics

    • bass/bluegill

      • most common and most successful option

      • thrive in warmer water (77 - 86° F)

      • dissolved oxygen > 3 mg/L, pH 6 to 9

    • requires management and patience

      • abundant small bass

        • harvest bass, slot limit, stock bluegill?, patience

      • abundant bluegill

        • harvest bluegill, limit bass harvest, 15:1 harvest ratio

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    Other Options

    • bass only

      • 150-200 fall fingerlings

      • add 8-10 adults bass in spring before spawn

      • great for lots of 9-12 inch bass

    • bass/shiner

      • summer stocking 100 bass, 400 golden shiners

      • faster bass growth, aquatic plants helpful

    • bass/catfish

      • 500 catfish, 1,000 fathead minnows in Feb-Mar

      • 100 bass fingerlings added in May-July

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    Other Fish Species

    • shiners - need to be continually stocked

    • perch - prolific, spawn before bass, ice fishing!

    • pike, muskie, walleye - not for ponds

    • channel catfish – spawning and survival unpredictable

    • sunfish - lower winter survival, slower growing

    • bullhead catfish -prone to stunting and overcrowding, may muddy the water, have low water quality requirements

    • crappie - some success in PA with cool, deep ponds, also good for ice fishing

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    Trout in Ponds

    • not well suited to most PA ponds

    • like cold water with dissolved oxygen > 5 mg/L and pH of 5 to 9

    • cannot compete with warmwater fish

    • “put and take” option

      • stock catchable size trout in spring

      • fish them out before water warms (June)

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    Miscellaneous Topics

    • supplemental feeding

    • liming/fertilization

    • pond regulations

    • adding fish structure

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    Muddy Water

    • “natural” color cannot be removed

    • common in new ponds (exposed soil)

    • other reasons - muskrats, crayfish, fish, livestock, waterfowl, zooplankton, wind

    • control - remove cause?

    • chemical addition (per acre)

      • 1,000 lbs. ground agricultural limestone

      • 740 lbs. hydrated lime

      • 1,000 lbs. agricultural gypsum (not as good)

      • 250 lbs. aluminum sulfate (alum)

      • 2 lbs. copper sulfate (zooplankton)

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    Canada Geese

    • spread plants from pond to pond!

    • coliform bacteria from waste can be a problem for swimming

    • try to maintain <2 ducks/geese per acre

    • eliminate if using for water supply

    • short-term migrational stops generally not a problem

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    Canada Geese

    • Man-made barriers

      • Fence

      • Goose Grid -plastic line, checker board, temporary

      • 20 lb. monofilament tied to stakes around pond at 6” and 12”

      • Riprap – 2 to 3 foot band around pond

    • Repellent

      • Turfshield – artificial grape flavor with sticking agent

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    Canada Geese

    • Harassment

      • Scarecrows like owls, hawks – short-lived

      • Noise

    • Ice

      • Turn off aeration to allow pond to freeze in winter

    • Vegetation

      • Like bluegrass, ryegrass, red fescue

      • Dislike tall fescue, common periwinkle, English ivy, Japanese pachysandra

      • Vegetative barriers – cattails, bulrushes, shrubs, etc.

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    • Pond Management Circular

    • Plant Control Publication (for sale)

    • NRCS Design Publication

    • PSU Fact Sheets (2)

      • Barley Straw

      • Aquatic Plant and Algae Control

      • Others???

    • Web sites – lots of them!

    • APD display – panels, What’s in My Pond?

    • CD and Book on Aquatic Plants

    • Pond Downlink (video)

      • Repeat??

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    • build dens in banks 6-18” below surface

    • burrow extends upward into bank

    • may cause leaks and collapse in poorly designed ponds

    • riprapping shoreline with large gravel from one foot above to 3 feet below water surface

    • may be killed for property destruction in PA

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    • flat, dark-colored, parasite

    • attach to swimmers, fish, birds

    • harmless but frightening and detract from swimming use

    • need 5 mg/L of copper sulfate treatment

    • this treatment will kill fish!

    • partial treatment (< 20% of pond area) of swimming area best but temporary

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    Swimmer’s Itch

    • not common but occasionally found in PA

    • free-swimming parasite that burrows under skin and causes itch and rash for 3-7 days

    • develops mostly in snails in pond

    • More common in ponds with few predator fish

    • must control snails

      • Largemouth bass

      • redear sunfish (shellcrackers)

      • Copper sulfate at 4 mg/L will kill snails but also kills fish

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