Managing pond depth is crucial, as it directly impacts excavation costs and fish survival. Deeper ponds entail higher excavation expenses due to the increased volume of soil movement, prompting many pond owners to strike a balance by digging a primarily 12′ deep pond with strategically placed deeper holes (15′ to 20′) to save costs while providing adequate conditions for fish, especially during Michigan’s harsh winters. Additionally, the nature of pond edges plays a significant role, with sandy or swampy areas prone to soil erosion that can gradually diminish pond depth. In such cases, larger ponds or reinforced clay sides may be needed to maintain depth. During winter, the main threat to fish is oxygen depletion under thick ice, which can result from plant die-off due to limited sunlight penetration. Countermeasures include installing aeration systems, creating deep sections for fish refuge, vegetation management to prevent oxygen depletion, and selecting fish species adapted to Michigan’s winter conditions. By carefully considering these factors, pond owners can foster a fish-friendly environment while effectively managing costs.
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