Land management decisions have consequences – both good and bad – for your ranch’s watershed and the health of your bodies of water.
Noble Rancher Articles
This article originally appeared in the March 1998 Ag News and Views newsletter, revised 2023.
Cattails can be desirable or undesirable, depending upon a pond or marsh manager’s goals.
People unintentionally harm pond environments by releasing inappropriate fish, dumping aquarium organisms, transferring water from a river or using contaminated equipment. Inappropriate organisms, or the microscopic hitchhikers on them, in associated water or on equipment can create havoc in a pond, such as harming desired fish populations, introducing diseases or establishing invasive species.
Beaver damage concerns more landowners than damage caused by any other native wildlife species in Oklahoma. No pesticides, toxicants or fumigants are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for beaver control. Trapping and shooting are the most effective lethal control techniques. Conibear traps are probably the most effective beaver traps. Beavers are primarily nocturnal so effective shooting generally must occur at night. Landowners and the general public cannot legally use conibear traps or shoot beavers at night in Oklahoma without attending a special course and obtaining a Nuisance Beaver Control Permit from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 Ag News and Views newsletter, revised 2023.
Two characteristics that should be considered before constructing a new pond are depth and watershed.
To attract more ducks to your pond, manage for clearer water, less disturbance and more duck food.
Wetlands come in many different forms. They can be tidal zones, marshes, bogs or swamps among many other types. However, they all share characteristics that make them wetlands. They are areas where water is present above or near the surface of the soil for at least a portion of the year, and the soil and vegetation present is determined by the presence of water. Some wetlands need to be dry for part of the year to maintain their hydrologic cycle. Wetlands provide several ecosystem services such as reducing erosion, recharging aquifers and providing habitat for several wildlife species.
A parallel-bar barrier is probably the best option to prevent adult fish passage through spillways. Parallel-bar barriers are especially important for ponds stocked with grass carp. When water flows only a few inches deep through spillways, grass carp tend to leave ponds unless appropriate barriers exist. Properly constructed parallel-bar barriers do not rust out quickly and do not clog regularly with leaves and aquatic vegetation, unlike fish barriers made of poultry wire, net wire, hardware cloth or netting. When constructed and installed properly, parallel-bar barriers restrain grass carp larger than 8 inches, restrain adult game fish, prevent undesirable adult fish from entering ponds, last many decades and require little maintenance.