Pond Habitat Assessment
Temperature | Water Quality | Water Clarity | Depth
Assess Your Pond - Measure temp, depth, volume and water quality
Coldwater ponds have a summer maximum of less than 74° F, while warmwater ponds reach temperatures above 74° F during the summer months. Due to cooler temperatures, coldwater ponds which can sustain various trout species.
Nutrients are important to maintain production within ponds however, too many nutrients are not a good thing. Phosphorus and nitrogen are familiar nutrients that we use to fertilize gardens and house plants. These nutrients also enrich the growth of aquatic vegetation such as algae and rooted pond vegetation, thereby controlling pond productivity. Most New York ponds have enough available nutrients to support fish production, and a more common problem is the presence of excessive nutrient levels. Watershed land uses influence nutrient levels and water quality. Runoff from cropland can increase the amount of sediment reaching the pond and may cause excessive turbidity. Runoff may also contain potentially toxic agricultural chemicals, and runoff from pastures and livestock holding areas is rich in nutrients from animal wastes. Residential, urban, and industrial runoff may contain substances (such as chemicals, oils, and sediment from construction activities) that can adversely affect a pond's water quality.
Oxygen levels can limit fish survival and production.
Oxygen levels are another important
aspect of pond water quality. High nutrient levels that produce algae
blooms eventually result in decaying vegetation that use up available
dissolved oxygen. Fish kills
often result from a lack of oxygen or, under extreme circumstances,
the presence of toxic algae. During hot weather most ponds have a layer
of water near the bottom that contains little or no dissolved oxygen.
When high winds or cold rain cause this water to mix with the upper
pond water, oxygen levels often drop to levels that can kill fish.
Ponds are usually constructed
with depths between 6 and 8 feet, and with a maximum depth not greater
than 10 to 12 feet. Natural ponds can be found with a wide variety of
depths. An average depth of less than 6 feet greatly increases the probability
of aquatic vegetation becoming established in the pond, and depths greater
than 12 feet are not necessary for good fish production. Steep pond
slopes help prevent the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation, which
can also become an important feature of the pond habitat.
Check out Activities To Assess Your Pond