Michael Masser, Texas Cooperative Extension fisheries specialist, and graduate student April Schonrock are surveying pond owners to gather information about what kinds of issues pond owners face and how those issues currently are handled.
"One of the aspects of this survey that we're most looking forward to seeing is where pond owners are getting their information, whether it's from a state agency, private consultants or neighbors," Schonrock said. "Knowing this, along with the most common and most severe problems, will help Extension agents make their information distribution more efficient."
The areas the survey looks at are water quality and pond construction, pond use, vegetation control, stocking and fishing, and some economic information.
"We really want to emphasize that not every pond in Texas is used for trophy bass, but for all kinds of other uses, such as livestock watering, irrigation, wildlife attraction, water gardens and other recreation," she said. "We want to know about all of these ponds, and the differences between the problems they have."
Schonrock said the research team is combining traditional mail survey methods with online components.
"We will be mailing out information post cards with instructions regarding how recipients can complete the survey, which will take place entirely online," Schonrock said. "With access through the Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Web site and the Aquaplant Web site, we are hoping to reduce the time and burden of more traditional survey methods. We hope that pond owners will access the Web site and fill out the survey without being sent a mail-out."
She explained that the online method should be easier both for those who are completing the survey and those who will examine the data.
Kathleen Phillips is a writer for Texas A&M University.