By James Burns
10 things to do for your dried up drought stricken small lake or pond
These things happen from time to time. It is nearly inevitable unless you have a high volume spring feeding your pond or lake. The water will return.
We are having a severe drought, accompanied by a severe heat wave in some parts of the U.S. And many small lakes and ponds (and some very large ones too) are drying up. I know it is sad to see your pond or small lake drying out, and drying up, and I know there is probably little that can be done about it except to wait for the rains to return.
That does not mean that you should do nothing!
While there is little that can be done about the rain, that doesn’t mean you have to just take it as a loss. No, to the contrary, this is a great opportunity to perform maintenance, make improvements, and get your pond or small lake into the best condition possible before it refills. Don’t just set around and mope about it, get out there and do something productive. This opportunity won’t last forever! The water will return, and when it does, you can and should be prepared.
- If you have a dock, boathouse, or other structures on and directly adjacent to your lake, it is probably more accessible now than it has been in years. This would be the perfect time to do any needed repairs or upgrades. If you have been thinking of adding any of these features to your lake doing it before it refills will save you money.
- Dam inspection can be done at this time. It may be the only opportunity you have to visually inspect this part of your reservoir from the inside for many years.
- Overflow pipes can be checked and adjusted as required. Do not raise the level without professional advice about the safety of your dam.
- Debris removal can be accomplished on a dry like bed without having to fight the water. This is the time to remove that thing, or those things that have been bothering you for years. Who knows what kind of treasure might be out there?
- Consider making the edges of your pond deeper. Dredging can probably be done with a backhoe or loader at this stage. Making the water deeper at the edges will increase the amount of water your lake contains, and decrease the likelihood of weed and pond scum problems.
- If you suspect that your pond is leaky, this is also the perfect time to apply bentonite. It can be done with a tractor and spreader in much the same way you would apply fertilizer. The headland setting on your spreader will allow you to make unidirectional applications toward the center to cover areas that might still be to wet for the tractor.
- If pH has been a problem, this is the perfect chance to apply lime directly to the bottom where it is needed the most. Lime can be applied by tractor and spreader with a headland setting without having to get into marshy areas if the reservoir is dried completely, or nearly dry.
- If you have unwanted fish species in your pond, it will be easier to eliminate them now than at any other time. If you are like many people in the southern region of the country, it may be possible to physically remove unwanted fish without resorting to other more costly methods. You may need to get some advice from your county agent or from a professional to accomplish fish removal. Once this is done, and the water returns, you can restock with the appropriate species for your pond size and region.
- Killing and or removing invasive lake weeds should be a little more efficient when the lake bed is dry.If you do this with a chemical, you should still use one that is labeled for aquatic use. Use a systemic weed killer that kills the entire plant to help prevent future infestations.
- If you have had problems with excessive fertility , start making plans to plant a vegetative barrier at the inlet and anywhere else that large quantities of water flow in. Agricultural and horticultural nutrients have to go somewhere if they are washed from surrounding farm lands or lawns, and that somewhere is probably into your pond or lake unless something is there to absorb them.