A healthy pond allows you to get more use and enjoyment from your water body. Whether you fish, swim, or have a boat, the state of your pond can make your recreation effortless, fraught with problems, or simply impossible.
Over time, ponds can revert to a marsh or dry ground without intervention. Whether a decade passes or 50 years goes by, certain elements can shorten the life of a pond. Take a look at these three life-giving elements that make a healthy pond.
1. Adequate Vegetation
Aquatic plants and other vegetation at a pond are important for a well-balanced ecosystem. Different plants grow in varying pond zones. For example, underwater plants fasten their roots to the floor of the pond and remain submerged. Other plants may root in the soil of a pond while most or all of their foliage remain out of the water such as lily pads and cattails.
Aquatic vegetation performs many beneficial services for a pond. Stalks, stems, and leaves provide shade, shelter, and food for wildlife. Their roots help limit wave movement to hold soil in place and slow down erosion.
However, too much or too little vegetation can hurt a pond. Lack of food and shelter that plants provide causes reduced aquatic wildlife. Fewer plants mean a tendency for a pond to experience more erosion.
Heavy shade from floating plants and leaves prevents sunlight penetration that underwater aquatic life needs to grow. Also, heavy pond vegetation adds too much decaying material to the pond bottom and lowers overall water depth. Finally, excess aquatic plants reduce your ability to fish, swim, and maneuver a boat safely.
2. Adequate Oxygen
Oxygen plays an important role in the health of a pond. Plant and animal life within a pond all need oxygen to flourish. In normal conditions, oxygen enters water via atmospheric diffusion and during the photosynthesis of plants. As pond plants collect sunlight to create energy, they produce and release oxygen into a body of water.
The presence of plants ensures a pond receives enough oxygen to support wildlife that lives there. However, sometimes oxygen levels are not sufficient, and the health of a pond may decline. Oxygen levels in a pond can drop for several different reasons:
- Warm weather
- Little water circulation or still, deep water
- Excess nutrients from runoff
A pond with little oxygen tends to experience a decline in plant and animal life. The resulting decomposition of materials uses even more precious oxygen.
3. Good Water Quality
Water quality is important whether your pond is for irrigation, recreation, or both. Ponds are prone to attract contaminants from runoff and other sources that can harm the health of your pond. Contaminants may be pesticides, metals, bacteria, or excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer. Additionally, pond health is affected when sediment enters a pond and alters a pond’s dimensions.
Several methods exist to limit the amount of sediment and runoff with accompanying contaminants. Vegetation buffers can help slow the flow of new water into a pond and then filter that incoming water. This filter action limits the amount of sediment that enters a pond as well as nutrients like phosphorus that attach to sediment particles.
Shallow pools near the inlet of a pond also help prevent the entry of sediment and contaminants. As new water enters a pond, contaminants drop into this shallow sedimentation pool first rather than into the pond itself.
Despite efforts to maintain your pond health with adequate oxygen, vegetation, and water quality, sometimes a pond needs intervention. Shallow water levels, excess sediments or layers of decayed materials, and heavy vegetation require the help of a professional pond dredge. Contact Abbotts’ Construction Services, Inc., for more information about how a dredge can help your pond.