The Frog Blog

Every treatment season there will always be ponds that are difficult for an applicator to treat. Ponds where no matter what, plant and algae biomass just seem to flourish regardless of what management techniques are employed. Although relatively rare, I get to see these ponds from time to time and speak to their owners. They are typically frustrated with the appearance of their ponds and desperate to figure out what to do. A further investigation of these ponds sometimes reveal that they are heavily influenced by their surroundings and often shallow. Rarely is it easy to identify and mitigate watershed influences on a pond but, depth is relatively straightforward. Although all ponds are slowly filling in and taking in material from their watersheds, deeper ponds are more resilient to these inputs, shallow ponds are not.

At AQUA DOC Lake and Pond Management, we typically suggest that a pond have an average depth between 5 – 6 feet (ft.) for it to sustain a well-balanced ecosystem. Remember that’s average depth and not maximum depth. This allows for some relative shallowness in your pond around the perimeter while limiting light from penetrating to the bottom of the deepest zone due to the greater depth (suggesting you have a typical “bowl” shaped pond). This will allow for some growth around the outskirts of your pond while restricting growth near the center. Nutrient inputs will also be limited to a degree since shallow, mucky ponds release more sediment -derived nutrients than a pond with proper depth. Additionally, this arrangement also works well for predatory fishes like bass who are visual predators. They can sit within the weedy areas for prey to show in open water and “ambush” them.

Remember having proper depth to your pond is a critical component of its sustainable well-being. However, if you find that your pond may have symptoms of shallowness (namely lots of muck, nuisance plant and algae growth, and little water depth), a sediment study is typically suggested followed by a potential dredging project to restore depth.

By: Edward Kwietniewski

Aquatic Biologist

AQUA DOC Lake and Pond Management

Edward Kwietniewski graduated from The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) with a Bachelor’s degree in Aquatics and Fisheries Science. He also has a Master’s degree in Lake Management from the State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta). He has a love for all things aquatic and is an avid fisherman.