Many studies were done at Purdue University, but “they couldn’t prove it did anything .... I’ve never seen it work in a pond.” But he also added that individuals who use that method in the United States haven’t followed everything the Europeans did, which included putting the straw in a mesh onion sack before placing it in the water.
Roger Wenning of Wenning Excavating & Drainage said persons should do their homework before having a pond constructed.
Look for a location, keeping in mind who will be using it. “I have grandkids, and they run around, so I don’t want it near the house ....Think about ease of access. If it’s too easy to get to, you may have people coming there.”
When looking for a contractor, “ask around” to find who has a good reputation because “if you put a leaky dam in, you’re going to spend a fortune fixing it.
“Find out about the drainage area. Then you can decide how big to build the pond .... What are you going to use it for? Will it be used for recreation, swimming or fishing; special uses (such as a shrimp pond) or watering livestock?” It’s also important to make sure there is a sufficient water supply to fill the pond.
“Think about land use in the watershed and what could be draining into the pond ... I would never build one right below a golf course because of all the things washing off there.” He recommended keeping cattle from having access to the pond because they can add nutrients to the water (through manure) and their hooves can break down the shoreline as they go in and out of the water.
Wenning also told participants to be aware of nuisances. “Do not let a tree grow on a dam.” When it dies, its roots decay, leaving a cavity within the dam. Muskrats, beavers and geese can also cause problems.
Diane Raver can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
FIRST IN A TWO-PART SERIES • Part 2: Fish stocking and management, Oct. 15