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Extension workshop covers pond management

Pond management can be complex, but with the proper preparation and planning it can become a much easier process.

That was one of the main talking points during a pond management workshop hosted by the Chilton County Extension Office at the Jemison Municipal Complex on July 11.

The workshop was led by regional extension agent Chris Jaworowski and extension specialist associate professor Rusty Wright.

Jaworowski talked about the animals commonly found around a pond setting, while Wright focused on the types of fish to consider when stocking a pond, as well as pond creation.

According to Wright, there are about 250,000 ponds in the state of Alabama ranging from less than an acre to 10,000 acres in size.

“I want to make sure that people understand that it’s not brain surgery and that anybody can do this type of management,” Wright said.

There are three factors that Wright recommends pond owners always be aware of, which includes pond fertility, weed control and the harvesting of fish.

Consistency is king when it comes to maintaining a pond and Wright warned those in attendance of the negative results that can come from fluctuating things such as fertilization on a year-to-year basis.

“You have to kind of commit to it for at least a couple of years, before deciding not to do it,” Wright said.

In the animal portion of the workshop, Jaworowski spoke about geese, cottonmouths, beavers and river otters, which are just some of the creatures that are typical sights around ponds.

Rule No. 1 that Jaworowski mentioned to prevent the animal population from becoming a nuisance or aggressive is to never feed the wildlife.

“When you start feeding geese, you give them an incentive to stay,” Jaworowski said.

He introduced various methods of trapping that can be used to solve the problem and also mentioned the construction of nesting boxes as a way to promote the pond’s natural habitat.

Selecting the types of fish when stocking a pond can be the deciding factor in the eventual shape of the pond’s fish population, as certain species do not mix well with others.

Bass and Bluegills are two types of fish that are known to flourish in a pond environment.

According to Wright, the most common questions he often gets asked at workshops pertain to weed control and Bass size.

“They [Bass and Bluegill] are native to backwaters of rivers, and that is essentially what we’re creating with a pond,” Wright said.