Why We Stock Ponds at the Anne Springs Close Greenway

At the Anne Springs Close Greenway℠, maintaining the health and balance of our aquatic ecosystems is a top priority. Our secret weapon? Tilapia! Although tilapia is not native to South Carolina, the introduction of these fishy friends plays a crucial role in promoting ecological equilibrium. Dive into the details with us, and you’ll see why tilapia are essential to our aquatic success story—they’re truly the reel deal!

Tilapia: The Unsung Heroes of Our Ponds

Although we monitor our ponds regularly to maintain a healthy ratio of fish species, we primarily stock them with tilapia. Stocking tilapia requires a permit and reporting to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources because they are nonnative and could potentially become invasive under the right conditions; however, the conditions at the Greenway are well-managed to prevent this risk. Tilapia cannot survive in water below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing us to stock them annually without fear of them becoming invasive.

Our Source: A Retired Fisheries Biologist

We are fortunate to source our fish from a retired fisheries biologist who operates a South Carolina fishery in the lower part of the state. His expertise and dedication to growing healthy fish ensure that we receive high-quality stock that contributes positively to our pond ecosystems.

Algae Control and a Feast of Gamefish

We stock our ponds with tilapia to achieve two primary objectives: cutting back on algae growth and providing an increased food source for our gamefish. Algae, while beneficial in moderation, can quickly become a nuisance if it grows out of control. Excessive algae not only looks unappealing but can also deplete oxygen levels in the water, harming fish and other aquatic life. By introducing fish, like tilapia, that feed on algae, we maintain a healthier balance in our ponds. These tilapia are prolific breeders, reproducing every 28 days, which maintains a steady population to control algae until they naturally diminish in cooler weather. In the meantime, they are also an excellent food source for gamefish, such as largemouth bass.

Pond-Specific Stocking Strategies

Not all ponds are created equally and each body of water on the Greenway has specific characteristics that are carefully considered in its management. We stock all our ponds except Lake Haigler – its unique low-flow from the inlet creek to the spillway and the minimal presence of algae make extensive stocking unnecessary. Additionally, the number of fish required per acre for effective algae control would make stocking Lake Haigler an unnecessary and costly endeavor.

Responsible Fishing Practices

To maximize the benefits of tilapia, we request that members refrain from fishing for tilapia until the fall to allow the tilapia to do their algae-eating job throughout the summer.

In conclusion, our annual tilapia stocking at Anne Springs Close Greenway is a deliberate effort to improve pond health and support our aquatic ecosystems. By carefully managing our fish populations, we create a sustainable and thriving habitat for all the species that call our ponds home.