The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is offering a pond and lake management webinar series for landowners interested in improving the quality of their aquatic habitat and sport fishing opportunities.
Each monthly aquatics webinar begins at 6 p.m., lasts an hour, and covers subjects ranging from water quality, how to properly stock ponds, aquatic vegetation – the benefits and drawbacks of various species, vegetation control methods, herbicides and permitting, and managing fish populations.
Individual webinars are $35 each and will include a 30-minute Q&A at program’s end.
Registration for the webinars is open now.
AgriLife Extension experts provide answers
The programs will be presented by Todd Sink, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension aquaculture specialist and director of the AgriLife Extension Aquatic Diagnostics Lab; and Brittany Chesser, AgriLife Extension aquatics vegetation management program specialist, both in Bryan-College Station.
Chesser said her office receives countless calls within the range of subjects related to pond and lake maintenance including vegetation control, water quality and maximizing sporting fish production throughout the year. These programs are tailored to give specific direction and information on best management practices on topics of high interest to landowners.
“We created the program because we see the need for subject-specific discussions on stock pond management,” she said. “It’s impossible to squeeze all the information pond owners want or need to know about in a one- or two-hour comprehensive program.
“So, each of these webinars is tailored to these pond owners. I really think any pond owner can benefit from most of these subjects, especially those looking to establish or maintain a good fishery. But I am also certain landowners using their ponds for other uses will still benefit from participating in multiple webinars.”
Dates and topics:
- Jan. 19 – Pond Stocking – Sink will discuss how to stock ponds with multiple sportfish options. The webinar will include tips for landowners with small ponds of less than 1-acre, and ponds larger than 1-acre. The program will include fish species recommendations and management practices to establish a well-balanced healthy food chain that will help grow trophy fish.
- Feb. 16 – Will My Aquatic Vegetation Return? – Chesser will provide a how-to educational program on preventing reemergence of aquatic vegetation in ponds. The program will cover control methods, including timing, costs, labor and feasibility.
- March 16 – Fish Management Strategies – Sink will cover fish management strategies to build a healthy food-chain for maximizing sporting fish potential in ponds and lakes. The program will cover fertilization programs, fish feeding, sampling fish populations, common problems in fish populations and how to determine if fish growth is stunted. Sink will also cover structure and fish attractor options to improve fishing opportunities.
- April 20 – Aquatic Herbicides and Permitting – Chesser will provide in-depth information regarding all 15 aquatically approved herbicides, their common uses, modes of action, and the differences between terrestrial herbicides for better management decisions. Frequently asked questions such as herbicide toxicity to fish and humans will be covered. Chesser will also discuss various permitting regulations associated with aquatic herbicides.
- May 18 – Water Quality for Fisheries Management – Sink will cover water quality, its importance for supporting healthy fish populations, how to determine water quality levels and the links between water quality and chemistry. This is important information for pond owners concerned about toxic organisms in their ponds, or with ponds that support cattle or livestock. The program will cover water testing and application of amendments that can drastically improve fishery quality.
- June 15 – Aquatic Vegetation: Beneficial or Pest? – Chesser will discuss the pros and cons of aquatic vegetation in ponds and lakes. The aesthetic and wildlife value of top beneficial aquatic vegetation and the threats nuisance aquatic vegetation species pose to ponds and lakes will be discussed. Chesser asks that pond or lake owners send high-quality, up-close photos against a light background to Brittany.Chesser@tamu.edu before June 13 for questions on specific species.
Topic timing coincides with pond management
Chesser said the webinar schedule makes each topic timely.
“The February webinar is right before water temperatures begin to warm up and algae and submerged plants begin to emerge, so it will get pond owners’ wheels turning on what their prevention options are,” she said. “And the last one is something we wanted to make interactive with plant IDs. Participants get their aquatic plants identified, and I will discuss best management practices. I let them know if it’s a beneficial plant, something that may need small spot treatments or an invasive that needs to be dealt with quickly and in a specific way.”
Chesser said the specialists will be working in tandem and that each will be watching for questions from the audience via chat.