Too much green is making some Ohio farm ponds blue, and not in a good way.
Invasive aquatic plants, filamentous algae and harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are growing threats in the state, said Bill Lynch, program specialist in aquatic system management with Ohio State University Extension.
They’re popping up in places they’ve never been before; can turn waters slimy, pea-soupy and sometimes even poisonous; and can ruin a pond’s value to wildlife, fish and people.
The good news: You can learn ways to stop them in an upcoming workshop.
“Ponds with a Purpose” takes place on Saturday, July 24, at Ohio State University’s Molly Caren Agricultural Center — home of Farm Science Review — near London.
Lynch and Marne Titchenell, OSU Extension program specialist in wildlife, will teach it. OSU Extension’s Ohio Woodland Stewards Program is the sponsor.
“I’ll be spending time, for the first time, educating on HABs, which have become a major problem in ponds and small lakes the past two summers,” Lynch said.
“Never mind Grand Lake St. Marys or western Lake Erie,” he said. “(HABs) have arrived in small systems too.”
And that’s on top of an ongoing challenge.
Long, green and stringy, filamentous algae form mats that look like wet wool. And invasive aquatic plants — curly pondweed, purple loosestrife, Eurasian water-milfoil and others — grow fast, crowd out native plant species, and make it hard for people to swim or fish.
“The biggest problem pond owners cope with is an excessive abundance of aquatic plants, particularly filamentous algae,” Lynch said.
The workshop — from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Caren center’s Gwynne Conservation Area, 640 Arbuckle Rd. W. — will cover aquatic plant problems, how to correct them, plus fish stocking, pond aeration, pond wildlife, preventing fish kills, and general pond function and management.
“A pond, if properly managed, can attract a nice array of wildlife species, such as frogs, salamanders, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and mammals looking for a drink of water,” Titchenell noted. “You might encounter some unwanted wildlife species, like geese and muskrats, so we’ll be discussing ways to lessen the damage they can cause too.”
Registration costs $35, includes lunch and extensive printed materials, and is due by Monday, July 19. Register and pay online at http://woodlandstewards.osu.edu/.
Call 614-688-3421 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
OSU Extension sponsors the Ohio Woodland Stewards Program in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry to teach people about trees, forests and other resources, and how to know and manage them. The program’s goals include helping landowners make well-informed management decisions.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.