Small Impoundment Management in North America

Chapter 9: Pond Renovation

Jeffrey W. Slipke and Steven M. Sammons


A variety of problems can affect pond fisheries as they age, including population imbalances, unwanted or nuisance species introductions, and siltation or other losses of habitat. Most problems can be addressed and remedied utilizing traditional management practices such as harvest strategies or corrective stocking. Occasionally, problems become so severe that a renovation of the pond is warranted. Pond renovation can be complete, where all fish are eradicated via draining or the use of rotenone. Alternatively, partial or selective renovation can be used to eradicate or reduce a single species, a group of species, or a particular size-group of fish.

Although typically viewed as the most drastic form of pond management, renovation can at times be the most economical approach to improve a severely degraded pond community and create a quality fishery. The costs associated with removing fish with traditional gears (seines, gill nets, electrofishing, etc.) and/or corrective stocking with intermediate or adult fish will often exceed the costs of renovating and restocking with fingerling fish. In addition, renovation often offers the best and quickest solution to severe management problems. In fact, when the management objective is the complete removal of undesirable species, renovation is the only option.

In this chapter, we will discuss the two primary methods of renovation (draining and rotenone). Because each method has inherent advantages and disadvantages, careful thought and consideration should occur before a renovation project is initiated. Our objective is to provide information that will aid in the planning, development, and execution of an efficient and effective renovation project.