Extension offers online courses to help with pond management

A Penn State Extension educator takes a water sample at a rural pond. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -– At this time of year, when many ponds are frozen over, it may seem too early to start thinking about managing them. But now is a good time for pond owners, and those they hire to manage their water impoundments, to consider participating in courses designed to help them make sound decisions.

Starting this April, Penn State Extension will offer two newly updated courses -- "Online Pond Home Study Course" and "Category 9 Aquatic Pesticide Recertification Correspondence Course" -- that will provide information and learning tools to aid rural pond owners.

Jim Clark, an extension educator based in McKean County, will coordinate the courses. He noted that a survey conducted by Penn State Extension revealed that the most common pond problem is overgrowth of plants and algae.

"Pond pesticide applicators in rural Pennsylvania often have to travel long distances to get the credits they need to maintain their applicator license," he said. "They can participate in these classes in the comfort of their home, and the most traveling they have to do is to walk to the mailbox to get materials."

The Online Pond Home Study Course includes six sessions distributed by email over 12 weeks that help participants understand the basics of pond management. Topics covered include pond assessment, pond maintenance, aquatic plants and algae, fisheries management, attracting and managing wildlife, and pond management case studies.

This course is targeted at larger earthen ponds rather than small ornamental water gardens.

The Aquatic Pesticide Recertification Correspondence Course is designed to help aquatic pesticide applicators obtain recertification credits to maintain their Category 9 Pesticide Applicator License through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The course derives from the Penn State Extension publication, "Management of Aquatic Plants," and comes with a CD containing seven short, pond-related videos and seven corresponding worksheets.

Participants receive their three Category 9 recertification credits if they complete and pass the course within 60 days.

"The worksheets are designed so that the students have to interact with their pond," Clark said. "The information that they gather for the worksheets will help them in the future."

The Online Pond Home Study Course costs $35, and participants must sign up by March 29 at The Aquatic Pesticide Recertification Correspondence Course costs $30, and individuals can sign up at any time at

For more information, contact Jim Clark at 814-887-5613 or by email at

Last Updated March 07, 2013