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Healthy Ponds Certification Program

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The Healthy Ponds Certification program is a self-paced, 8-week online course that culminates with a 4-hour, in-person field day. Course participants can earn up to 21 Pesticide Applicator’s License CEU credits. See the CEU credit table and course outline posted below for more information.

Available CEU Credits

Pesticide Applicators CEUs Pending


Aquatic (core)


Aquatic (category)


Natural Areas 


Total CEUs allowable



Healthy Ponds Certification Program Schedule

 Schedule for the Healthy Ponds Certification Program

What is a Healthy Pond?

The definition of a healthy pond can vary depending on the person you ask. To the experts at the University of Florida, a healthy pond has five main features. The first is an abundance of native flora in and around the pond to help support a balanced ecosystem of fish, invertebrates, birds, and more. When selecting plants for your pond, it is important to have a variety of species in order to encourage biodiversity. Biodiversity helps ensure resilience in the face of disease and encourages a greater range of animal visitors to help provide ecosystem services. It is also the second main feature of a healthy pond.

Another feature of healthy stormwater ponds is a buffer zone that extends anywhere from 3 to 10 feet. Buffers help prevent erosion, provide protection from storm surge, and help filter runoff pollutants and nutrients that find their way into stormwater ponds. They also provide great habitat for many of the animals mentioned above. Buffers can be created with a number of native, easy-to-care-for species that you can learn more about in our Healthy Ponds Certification Program.

Contrary to the common narrative that a "a clear pond is a healthy pond", the presence of algae, bacteria, and detritus in ponds is an integral part of a healthy ecosystem. These smaller organisms are at the bottom of the food chain and provide necessary nutrition to fish, birds, and invertebrate pond residents. 

The last important feature of a healthy pond is minimal exposure to stressors from surrounding roadways and yards. This stress can come about from too much foot traffic, soil compaction, urban runoff, nutrient pollution from mowing or yard waste, and improper chemical treatment.

What is a healthy pond?

All of these features together can help boost stormwater pond functionality throughout the state of Florida. To learn more about what makes a pond "healthy" as well as how to effectively maintain pond health over time, register for one of our upcoming Healthy Ponds Certification Program sessions. You will have the opportunity to use valuable tools unique to the program, adopt a multi-level approach to stormwater pond health and management, get exclusive access to lectures from some of the leading experts at the University of Florida, and connect with other professionals interested in pond management.

Interested in participating? Register here.

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