This Community type is characterized by the presence of nearly permanent open water a minimum of one-half acre in size to a maximum of 20 acres(8 hectares). Although free of vegetation throughout the non-growing season, floating vascular plants and/or algae often comprise a majority of the vegetation mass during the mid-summer months. Rooted vegetation is generally restricted to the shallows. Bottom sediments consist of mud, sand, cobble, gravel, and organic debris.

Many Illinois ponds are man-made and include farm ponds, borrow pits, and small reservoirs, as well as natural open water areas which may occur within a marsh or swamp.

The soils of this community consist of silty and loamy materials. Reaction of the materials ranges from strongly acid to moderately alkaline. Typically, ponds are constructed in Ava silt loam, Hosmer silt loam, and Hickory loam in southern Illinois. Some of the larger ponds have Belknap silt loam in the bottom.

In central and northern Illinois, the major sloping soils include Fayette silt loam, Miami silt loam, and Morley silt loam. Larger ponds would typically have Lawson silt loam in the bottom.

*Used throughout the community descriptions to indicate the most commonly occurring code in Illinois