A healthy, sparkling pond can provide a family or neighborhood with unlimited enjoyment. Water offers aesthetic and recreational benefits that enhance the overall value of your property. Until recently, ponds were rarely actively managed unless an unpleasant condition arose. By the time an issue is noticeable, there are quite often invisible imbalances underlying it. Understanding this, pond owners are now tending more toward planned pond management, versus a more reactive approach.
The Reactive Management Model
You are taking a walk around your pond one evening, and you notice a ripe odor and some green algae on the surface. You pick up some algaecide to apply to the problem. This reflects the reactive model of pond care; you respond as problems emerge. In the short term, a little algaecide will likely eradicate the algae, but the causes of the algae problem are often overlooked. Unchecked, these conditions can compromise your pond’s aquatic ecosystem and lead to unexpected, costly problems.
The Preventive Management Model
A proactive approach to managing your pond involves designing and following an annual plan for regular pond maintenance. One major advantage of the proactive approach is that a scheduled plan can be budgeted to spread costs out. The opposite is true of the reactive approach. When problems arise, their cost may be prohibitive, and you may be unable to address a significant problem.
Nutrient imbalances, insufficient dissolved oxygen and sun penetration are often contributors to algae overgrowth. A proactive model would include shoreline maintenance and aeration to increase the pond’s oxygen content. Healthy oxygen levels prevent algae and improve the overall health of the pond, for humans, fish and wildlife. The result is fewer urgent problems and less cost for you.
If you don’t like being caught off guard and faced with unexpected costs, the preventive pond management approach may work best for you. Pond science suggests that performing monthly pond maintenance can save you money by addressing the systemic health of your aquatic ecosystem. If the basic chemistry, shoreline integrity and oxygen levels are in line, you are likely to have few unexpected pond management challenges.