Clemson Extension Announces Spring Master Pond Manager Course

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Registration is under way for Clemson Extension’s Spring 2018 Master Pond Manager program, which will run online from late March through May, with field days held in the Charleston area May 9 and 10.

Aimed at recreational and stormwater pond owners and pond management professionals, the Master Pond Manager achievement course is designed to teach participants a wide range of pond management knowledge and skills.

A hybrid course combining online and face-to-face learning, it will incorporate self-paced lectures, discussion, quizzes and other web-based methods of participant-instructor interaction, along with hands-on participation activities in the field.

Guinn Wallover, program coordinator and Extension natural resources agent, said the program would provide in-depth pond management curriculum while allowing for schedule flexibility due to its online compatibility.

“Participants can take the online components from their living room or workplace, and then they are able to join us for the field days and apply the lessons in a hands-on learning environment with experts in the field demonstrating some of the practices being recommended,” she said. “We hope it provides flexibility, but also gives that packaged, in-depth information they need to help with better pond management decisions.”

The course features three tracks to choose from: an Master Pond Manager certificate, a letter of completion in recreational pond management or letter of completion in stormwater pond management.

Master Pond Manager certification can also be implemented as a marketing tool for professionals due to the recognition received from the Clemson Cooperative Extension Service for completion of the course.

The program was developed in 2015 to provide a comprehensive pond management education strategy for Clemson Extension, serving as a model for unique methods of outreach to solve community problems in suburban, urban and rural areas of South Carolina.

Pond owners who are only interested in one side of the course — recreational or stormwater ponds — may receive training from the aspects of management they desire.

“If the stormwater pond side is not relevant to you, you can just take a letter of completion in the recreational area, and vice-versa,” Wallover said. “The program can be tailored to the user’s needs too.”

Depending on a participant’s preferred track, the course may include six parts: Recreational Pond Design, Permitting and Management Strategies; Stormwater Pond Design, Inspection and Maintenance; Limnology; Integrated Aquatic Plant Management; Best Management Practices for Stormwater Ponds; and Fish Management.

Stormwater ponds are one of the most highly used flood-management and water quality-control practices in South Carolina. There are more than 9,000 stormwater ponds in the South Carolina coastal counties and more expected as urbanization continues.

The course will also delve into the uses ponds serve within communities. Poorly managed stormwater ponds can contribute to water resource degradation and threaten ecologic and human health.

“One of the things we talk about is that mismanaged ponds can impact downstream waterways, which affects downstream ecologies and health, as well,” Wallover said. “People want to manage these for their purposes — better fishing or better views or whatever — but also the better management of these pond systems helps protect our community too.”