Consider Winter Drawdowns for Pond Management
11/13/2017 2:21:27 PM
One of the most useful and inexpensive pond management practices is called a "winter drawdown." Water levels are reduced in a pond to some predetermined level, generally exposing 35 to 50 percent of the pond-bottom area. Winter drawdowns can be useful in controlling aquatic weeds and can help manipulate fish populations. They are also useful when repairing piers and docks or, redesigning, and liming ponds. 

In most farm ponds, lowering the water level 2 to 4 feet usually exposes the proper percentage of the pond bottom. You must consider the topography of the pond, amount of shallow water, and pond shape and design. Reach the maximum depth of drawdown by late November, and let the water remain down through February. In south Mississippi, the stand pipe can be raised a little earlier, perhaps mid-February, to let the pond refill and not hamper bass spawning activities that begin earlier in that part of the state. 

To perform a winter drawdown, make sure the pond has a drain pipe that lets the water levels be lowered and kept down throughout the winter. Ponds without a drainpipe can be retrofitted; detailed information on how to do this is available through your county's Natural Resources Conservation Service office. 

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