If you’re a homeowner’s association (HOA) manager and are tasked with the upkeep and maintenance of the ponds in your community, you may have had a few residents ask if you could stock them with fish.
While the idea of walking across the street with your kids on a Saturday morning to do some local fishing may seem like a good idea, there’s a lot to take into consideration before you start dumping trout, catfish, and other sportfish into your HOA community ponds.
We want to share with you a few pros and cons that can help you make a more informed decision as an HOA community manager.
Pros of Adding Fish
There are many benefits to adding fish to a community pond. They contribute to the overall ecosystem, add value for the residents, and in some cases, can raise property values. Here are a few reasons why some HOA’s choose to add sportfish to their community waterways:
Ecology – Establish ponds already have an ecosystem food chain in place. The sun provides energy for the microscopic plankton, which in turn are fed on by slightly bigger animals, including various species of birds.
Adding species like largemouth bass, trout, catfish, or sunfish will only add another link to the overall food chain. These fish can help keep the food chain in balance, and some of them might even contribute to keeping nuisance plants under control.
Mosquito Control – Stillwater ponds are a prime breeding ground for mosquitos. Gamefish of all sizes love to eat the mosquito larvae—and this will have a noticeable effect upon the population of mosquitos in the neighborhood.
It can also help prevent one of several deadly diseases from being spread by the mosquitos. Even if you don’t choose to stock your pond with gamefish, adding a few small minnow-like mosquito fish can add value to the neighborhood as they have a voracious appetite for mosquito eggs and larvae.
Improved Quality of Life – Many residents will appreciate the addition of bass, catfish, and sunfish to your HOA community ponds. Dad and Grandpa can take the kids fishing for a day of wholesome fun.
Best of all, most community residents can look out the front window of their home to keep an eye out on their kids while they fish. Some HOA communities will even host fishing tournaments, which brings together the entire neighborhood and allows homeowners and children alike to meet their neighbors and socialize.
Flora Benefits – Fish can also benefit the flowers and plants inside a pond. A co-study performed by Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Florida found that ponds that have a thriving fish population tend to have better pollinated nearby plants.
The fish eat the Dragonfly larvae, which helps keep their population under control. Dragonflies tend to eat bees and other insects that are responsible for the pollination of flowers. It stands to reason that the front and backyard flower gardens of homes will benefit from stocking fish in the nearby ponds!
Cons of Adding Fish to an HOA Pond
While there are many benefits to stocking an HOA pond with fish, there are also few negatives that go along with it:
Ongoing Cost – If the stocked fish don’t reproduce or aren’t given that chance due to overfishing, the HOA will need to bear an annual cost of restocking the ponds.
Water Parameter Monitoring – The HOA will also need to conduct regular water quality tests to ensure the parameters are sufficient to sustain a healthy population of fish. If the water quality is bad, or a nuisance algae outbreak occurs, a huge fish die-off could occur. This would cause the entire neighborhood to reek of dead fish.
Increased Maintenance – In addition to monitoring the water and making sure the fish population remains stable, HOA managers will also need to divert maintenance personnel to the ongoing maintenance of the ponds. This includes making sure all life support systems are functioning as intended, and even de-icing the ponds in the wintertime to ensure the fish are getting enough oxygen.
To Add Fish or Not to Add Fish?
Adding fish to a local HOA community pond is something that requires a strategic plan and understanding that it could come with an increased financial cost. No matter what you decide, your ponds still need to be dredged annually to help prevent nuisance algae outbreaks.
Dredging your ponds can help reduce and eliminate the organic muck that sits at the bottom—and cut off the food that the nuisance algae feed upon thereby decreasing the frequency of outbreak blooms.
At American Underwater Services, we’ve helped countless HOA managers protect and clean up their stormwater retention ponds. Our professional and expert dredgers can travel anywhere in the country to help improve the health and longevity of your stormwater retention pond. Give us a call at (866) 594-1272 or contact us to learn more about the dredging and pond maintenance services that we offer.