Ponds require regular inspection and maintenance. Negligence can and will result in expensive or even irreparable damage to dams and spillways. However, basic pond maintenance procedures can prevent some of these pond problems. Commonly witnessed problems include improper dam maintenance, excess vegetation, and sediment.

Trees can cause problems around ponds, especially if they are allowed to grow on the embankment. Tree and woody vegetation growth on earthen dams and in close proximity to other dams such as concrete dams is undesirable and at a minimum has some level of detrimental impact upon operation, inspection, performance, and safety of dams. Trees should be removed from the embankment when they are small, and before they develop a deep root system.

Excess vegetation in a pond can be a result of excess nutrients running into the pond from fertilizer applications. In shallow areas of a pond (less than 3 feet) sunlight may reach the bottom of the pond, allowing for more plant growth.

Muddy water can be a result of wave action against exposed shoreline or from sediment runoff flowing into the pond. Maintain good shoreline vegetation and take measures to control all forms of soil erosion within the pond’s watershed. In some cases if the water remains cloudy, placing a few bales of hay or straw in the water can help clear it up. Sediment accumulation will occur over time; however, the rate of accumulation is directly related to activities occurring upstream or within the pond’s watershed. In time, either dredging or rebuilding the pond might be necessary.

The following resources provide more detailed information about common pond problems and maintenance suggestions.

Pond Maintenance Checklist
http://pond.dnr.cornell.edu/Pond/farmpond/contents/Checklist.pdf

Clearing Muddy Pond Waters – VA Cooperative Extension publication
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-250/420-250.html

Aquatic Plant Control – VA Cooperation Extension publication
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-251/420-251.html

Pond Management Guide – VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries publication
http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/pondmanagement/

Private Consultants
http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/pondmanagement/privateconsultants.pdf

For further technical assistance, contacts:
Henricopolis Soil and Water Conservation District

VA Cooperative Extension, Henrico County Office

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries