• Gus Hetcher

Ponds In Winter

Winter is known as a time of change; your pond can undergo a winter metamorphosis if you aren't careful. With decreased temperatures, your pond can go from a flourishing fishery to a turbid tub in no time due to lowered oxygen levels. During wintertime, your pond can be an amazing addition to the backyard with ice fishing, ice skating, or just a nice view. However, without monitoring, that beautiful view you've been enjoying all summer and winter could, in reality, be suffering.

Organic matter accumulates throughout the season and traditionally gets decomposed by aerobic bacteria. These bacteria function best in oxygen-rich environments and during the decomposition of organic matter, harmful gasses get released as a bi-product. When completely frozen over, your pond won't release these gasses into the environment and the oxygen-rich pond that's ideal for bacteria decomposing the organic matter is suddenly not.

Your pond gets oxygen one of two ways; via the air, assisted by wind, or through the release of oxygen by plants during photosynthesis. During the cold months, this is mostly contributed through plants. When the water is frozen over and limits the plants' access to light, oxygen levels can go down resulting in anoxic conditions which can lead to a winter fish kill and build-up of organic material.

There are many easy solutions to ensure a healthy fishery during the winter months. One of the easiest is maintaining an area of open water for light to reach plants to maintain oxygen production by breaking the ice or shoveling. This build-up of harmful gasses should have some release to the environment. Additionally, more extensive measures such as adding a diffused air system to maintain the oxygen levels in your pond can solve the issue while also keeping an area of open water. This open water also benefits local wildlife during the winter months. While the diffuser placement during warm months should be in the deepest section of the pond, during winter months, they should be closer to shore to reduce ice formation and circulate the colder water near the surface.

Cason & Associates offers many options for stabilizing the oxygen levels in your pond. Additionally, dissolved oxygen probes can deliver readings that tell the amount of dissolved oxygen in your pond at select depths. With this information, you can tell if a diffused air system is necessary or if other methods may help the health of your pond. If diffused air isn't ideal, circulators are another option for maintaining areas of open water during the winter months. Call today for additional information regarding the health of your ponds during the cold winter months.

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