I am looking at buying a house in NW OH in the next few months. Some of the properties I am looking at have ponds on them. Does anyone know where I can find info on how to evaluate the quality of the ponds?
My realtor/appraisor told me the average 1/4 acre pond is worth about 2500 bucks to add to the value of a property, a full acre maybe 5000 dollars and after that would have to be a extrememly attractive pond to add anymore value then that.
If you are asking about how to evaluate how productive a pond is, I would suggest if you are derious about the place asking if you could either fish for 30 minutes or meet the owners and have them catch a few fish to evaluate average size, legth to weight ratios, stunted bass etc. I good look/walk around the pond right now will show you weed problems, spawning beds, aquatic life ( Muskrat holes, beavers, frogs, dragonflies, turtles etc) Be sure to notice water clarity, muck or sloumphing banks , cattails or any other problems, also notice the inflow for the ponds, do they come from farm fields? that equals some serious weed issues. A spring or field tile is alway the best option, also ask about how far down pond gets in drought years.
Just some thoughts, wouldnt hurt to ask about 3 questions to the owners and youll know right away if the pond was seriously managed or just something they let go. As all housebuying goes, I wouldnt believe a word they say without proof.
If I was looking at a pond I would first find out if it has substantial depths of 8 feet or more. Then I would look at how it is filled. Surface runoff from farm fields would be my last choice. I wouldn't care too much about the fish in it, that can be manipulated. Even if it contained carp I wouldn't pass it up. I might drain it and kill everything in it to start over if it was that bad. The basin would be what I'm interested in.
Of course it would get 24/7 aeration at full depth from about April until November. It would also get a windmill set at 1/2 depth to keep a hole in the ice.
Does it hold water, how much water comes in, where does the water come from. The county soil and water dept. should be able to help with this and determine if the watershed is appropriately sized for the pond. Too much water causes problems as does too little. They'll also know if the soils on site were suitable for pond building. If the soils weren't good to start with, further investigation may be needed. Virgin grassland is obviously ideal for watershed but I wouldn't be too concerned about ag field surface drainage as long as there's some filter vegetation before it reaches your pond...100' if possible. I only have about 50' between my pond and crop field with no trouble so far but we farm the field. If the water is coming out of woods, there could be leaves flowing in or tannins. If there's a feedlot or chicken farm upstream...probably wouldn't want a house there anyway. 8'-10' minimum depth recommended. Look for signs of silting in too. Ponds less than 1/2 acre are often harder to manage than those greater than 1/2 acre.
Beware of "spring" fed ponds. The pond will drop to the level of the spring as the aquifer drops...may or may not be a problem.
If it has a dam: Is it sized appropriately? Is the outflow structure of appropriate size and in good condition(soil and water can help determine these too)? Are there trees growing on it (bad)?
Secondly, does it fit what you plan to use it for: Fishing, fertile and full of life or swimming, crystal clear and sterile looking? You can always get the water tested before buying as well.
Weed infestations can be a sign of problems or simply neglect. Eliminating some troublesome weeds can be expensive.
Thanks for the excellent info, everyone. So I gather I want to look at drainage area, what is growing in that area, what type of soil is in that area, what kind of chemicals are being applied in that area. As for the pond, how much water passes through, what is the level when it is dry, does it have a dam, how deep is the pond, what shape are the banks in, do I see vegetation issues.
At this point, I'm less concerned with the current quality of the fish, if I have to start over, so be it. Most every pond I have seen so far has had a decidedly copper/blue tint to it with minimal vegetation. I suspect it was done to make it look pretty with disregard for how it would affect the fishing.
I am no expert but have spent a ton of time working on my pond. I live in NW Ohio and if its not too far and you would like another opinon I could take a look for you. Peaking of my pond I finally got a few pics. I'll post them later if I get a chance, my daughters are hollering for me to go swimming!!
Thanks for the offer Swan, but it will be a few months before I close. I'm born and raised urban Cincy, and moving to a job that will have me in the Findlay/Fremont/Toledo area. I'm renting a place for 3 months till I can figure out where I want to buy. So for now, just seeing as many places as I can, and learning how to shop for houses +/- land.