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Pros and Cons of Backyard Ponds

Pros of backyard ponds:

  • A water source for wildlife
  • A food source for predators such as owls and herons
  • An ecological ‘source’ of new individuals in populations of animals
  • Homes for dragonflies and damselflies (which eat mosquitoes as larvae in the ponds and adults in flight)
  • A way to teach adults and children about ecological interactions and conservation biology
  • A way to interest children and adults in biology and ecology
  • A source of experiments: What to do if the water turns green (or smelly)
  • A teaching tool for adults and children on how to manage ecosystems small and large

Cons of backyard ponds:

  • A water source for wildlife we might not like
  • A food source for predators that we might not love, such as raccoons or small garter snakes
  • An ecological ‘sink’ where individuals are attracted to live, but cannot be successful, depleting wildlife (if, for example, your cat catches every frog that comes to live in your pond)
  • Homes for mosquitoes that breed in your ponds (if you don’t have fish or dragonfly larvae)
  • A source of stress (having to deal with water that is green or smelly, or a mismanaged ecosystem)
  • “Ponds gone wrong” – watch some great videos on the web….

Having your own backyard ponds can be a source of pleasure or frustration.  But the more you know, the more likely it is that you can manage a pond with little effort, and gain a source of interest and pleasure.