Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life

Posted by: NancyGA

Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 01:41 AM

Don't want to make my first real post too long, so here goes..

I have a pond (dam) in NE Georgia. When I first bought the property the pond had been stocked with large mouth bass, bream, catfish, and crappie. There were frogs, geese, ducks, snakes, etc, you name it.

The property was originally just an investment, not my home, so I've neglected it for several years, and now it appears to have been taken over by snapping turtles. I don't see any minnows or hear many frogs, just small bream and bass, and loads of turtles sunning in the water.

The dam standpipe has rusted and broken down almost to the point it enters the dam, so the water is down about 3 feet. I'd like to install a new PVC siphon drainage system. Having a hard time finding anyone willing to do it, but I'm still working on that as we "type." wink

Just this week I've started trying to reduce the snapping turtle population a little using milk jug lures. It seems promising---I've caught a couple on the first go 'round with just a dozen jugs.

I'll post a couple of pictures just to get started. Any comments or advice you can offer, at any time, are really appreciated.

View of the dam in the distance:



View from the dam:



Broken off standpipe:


Posted by: TGW1

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 05:25 AM

NancyGa, Welcome to the forum, some others have had similar experiences with their drain pipes (reading past post here). Maybe they will jump in for a suggestion or two. Looks like a nice piece of property.

Tracy
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 08:21 AM

Nancy, welcome to PB. It is unlikely that the turtles are a problem. They are about 90% scavengers and/or vegetarians. On rare occasions, a turtle might be able to catch a healthy fish.

I'd spend some time identifying the balance of fish. Do a lot of fishing and keep a log.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 09:21 AM

Dave (or anyone), I agree the turtles can't catch healthy fish. But don't you think they would go after fish eggs, like in bream beds, and frog eggs? At least when they run out of everything else to eat?

I can spot a dozen turtles at a time sunning everywhere on the lake, and I can't really see a benefit of having so many snappers.

BTW, when I read webpages of fish hatcheries, many say they only provide to new ponds and those where all of the fish have been killed off. Is that true? (I don't expect to get them for free.)



Posted by: esshup

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 02:20 PM

Welcome to the forum.

Fish hatcheries will sell to anyone that will buy the fish. Ideally they should work with the pond owner so they don't stock the incorrect fish for the pond owners goals, or incorrect sizes of fish (that may be eaten within a few days of stocking).

Snappers will walk a mile or more to get to a body of water, especially males during breeding season. So, even though you may eliminate some now, different ones may be there next month.

Eggs are probably too small for the turtles. Dead fish, crayfish, etc. will be food. If they run out of food, they might leave the pond to walk to another one too.

Are the turtles you see sunning snapping turtles or are they a different species?

As for a siphon drain, look in the Pond Boss Resources Guide. Maybe someone there can help.

http://www.pondboss.com/resource_guide.asp?c=9
Posted by: stickem'

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 04:48 PM

NancyGa...Welcome to Pond Boss......tons of info and good helpful folks here. Have you thought about what your goals are for the pond? Something to think about.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 10:44 PM

Fair enough. Here are my goals. Hope this makes sense.crazy Of course, all this depends on what is possible with my setup....

I think of a pond as a, more or less, closed ecological system. I'd like to maximize the diversity of species in the system, and have wildlife balanced in such a way that is sustainable over time, assuming occasional tweaking from me.

I'd like to see healthy fish, frogs, snakes, plants, whatever could live there compatibly, in a good balance.

I can control the input of fish species and the numbers, the habitat for natural species to some extent, the health of the water, water plants. I have heard that the siphon drainage system provides better water turnover, and results in a healthier pond, than the old standpipe drain-from-the-surface system.

But it might be months before I could get the new drainage system in. Meanwhile I've got the summer free and I'd like to do what I can, now.

I've noticed as the water has gone down, it has provided swampy areas around the edges that seem to be more beneficial for the frogs. There are many more frogs than there were before the standpipe rusted. This should also help newly hatched fish species I would think. Sometimes I just call these minnows, probably incorrectly, covering all speces of stocked fish.

When the new drain system is put in place this will change. Maybe I can make this change more gradually. Not sure if that's possible with a siphon system, though. Probably not.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/04/16 10:52 PM

Originally Posted By: esshup
Snappers will walk a mile or more to get to a body of water, especially males during breeding season. So, even though you may eliminate some now, different ones may be there next month.

When that happens, I'll put out some more jugs. They are pretty easy to set up.

Originally Posted By: esshup
Are the turtles you see sunning snapping turtles or are they a different species?

Absolutely snapping turtles. They float out in the middle of the pond with just their heads out of the water. I've caught two so far. There are a few red-eared sliders also. They sun themselves on logs. Not that many of them, though. I caught a dozen of those with a PVC trap a couple of years ago.

Thanks for the link, esshup.
Posted by: Rainman

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 12:59 AM

Originally Posted By: NancyGA
Dave (or anyone), I agree the turtles can't catch healthy fish. But don't you think they would go after fish eggs, like in bream beds, and frog eggs? At least when they run out of everything else to eat?

I can spot a dozen turtles at a time sunning everywhere on the lake, and I can't really see a benefit of having so many snappers.

BTW, when I read webpages of fish hatcheries, many say they only provide to new ponds and those where all of the fish have been killed off. Is that true? (I don't expect to get them for free.)


I think the "hatcheries" you checked were probably state owned and most states that stock, make your pond "Waters of the State". Private fish farms will sell whatever you order. Many fish farm operators don't know, (or forgot) how to reach goals in a sportfish pond, since their ponds are vastly different in growing fish and goals.

As for reaching a "balance", nature will always balance out, but that balance may not be anything at all of what you envision a balance to be. You can put a wide variety of species in the pond that can co-exist well, but if wanting to fish for table fare, you may need t be more specific on what main species and sizes you'd like most.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 01:38 AM

I think I'm getting off to a bad start here. Ha!

Several of you asked for goals, so I gave it my best shot, while trying to keep it brief. Not interested in fishing at all, except maybe when relatives come to visit and they want to try it. smile

I'll ask specific questions if I can't find answers in the archives.

Thanks for your replies.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 01:47 AM

In a pond, a balance is only for a nanosecond. Like trying to walk on a knife edge. It is either forage heavy or predator heavy. In a small ecosystem, man will always have to be the manager or the teeter totter will become very heavy on one side.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 06:36 AM

Nancy, I have never seen or been concerned about turtles eating fish eggs. Maybe they do but that's nature at work. I've also found small turtles when cleaning fish.
Posted by: basslover

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 08:52 AM

Sounds like you need to address the broken pipe first, if you want the water level to rise, correct? So maybe that is your first action item.

And if it broke where you see it then it will likely break again beneath the water's surface to I would recommend having it fixed all the way. You mentioned a siphon system, so you may then consider capping that standpipe off after filling it in.

Depending where in Georgia you are you will always have turtles entering your pond. Our pond is pretty remote, and it is surrounded on 3 sides by steep "hills", but I still spot new turtles occasionally. We've got 2 snappers I know well, but I do wonder where the new sliders come from. Turtles are pretty slow on land. Yet each year there are 1 or 2 sliders that appear. And that amazes me because the land all around our pond doesn't appear to be turtle friendly land. lol

What do you want from your pond? What are your goals? Do you want to make it natural and have water plants and wildlife? Fishing? Swimming?
Posted by: stickem'

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 07:04 PM

Originally Posted By: NancyGA
I think I'm getting off to a bad start here. Ha!

Several of you asked for goals, so I gave it my best shot, while trying to keep it brief. Not interested in fishing at all, except maybe when relatives come to visit and they want to try it. smile

I'll ask specific questions if I can't find answers in the archives.

Thanks for your replies.


NancyGA,
I'm sure you're doing just fine. Don't get discouraged. Patience is a virtue when owning and managing a pond. Remember for everything you do or don't do, there is a repercussion for it. Take your time. I agree with basslover though...maybe you need to address the busted overflow pipe situation first. I have a siphon system in my pond. It was there before we expanded the pond...so, we just kept it as it was. It works great. I'm sure you will have great fun and learn a lot in the process. I hope you continue to post pics of your progress.
Charlie
Posted by: esshup

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/05/16 11:33 PM

I agree, get the overflow pipe taken care of first. The rest doesn't matter if the pipe rusts thru where it goes through the dam, and you end up with part of the dam washed away.....

Then there would be no point in doing anything with the pond until that was fixed.
Posted by: liquidsquid

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/06/16 07:00 AM

IF it is an option, I would take advantage of the broken stand pipe and low water to put in some structure and cover.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/10/16 09:57 PM

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner---been very busy. Just an update.

I got in touch with the contractor, who I've been trying to hire to install the dam drainage system since last fall.

He says he will arrange for someone from Soil Conservation to take a look at the dam next week and determine the appropriate size for the pipe. And that he can't get to the job before August or September. This is fine by me. Usually the dry season.

However I'm not holding my breath. Things like this always run late, and sometimes never happen, but I think sending the SC person out is a good sign. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/12/16 09:24 AM

Originally Posted By: liquidsquid
IF it is an option, I would take advantage of the broken stand pipe and low water to put in some structure and cover.
Do you have some examples of cover that could be used? Took the boat out last week. The water is *really* clear, probably too clear. The bottom that I could see looks void of all cover.

In the now shallow parts, the FA (filamentous algae?) is starting to grow. Will that go away by itself if the water becomes 3 feet deeper? Or will I have to do something about it?
Posted by: esshup

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/12/16 01:08 PM

Originally Posted By: NancyGA
Originally Posted By: liquidsquid
IF it is an option, I would take advantage of the broken stand pipe and low water to put in some structure and cover.
Do you have some examples of cover that could be used? Took the boat out last week. The water is *really* clear, probably too clear. The bottom that I could see looks void of all cover.

In the now shallow parts, the FA (filamentous algae?) is starting to grow. Will that go away by itself if the water becomes 3 feet deeper? Or will I have to do something about it?


There is quite a bit of information about cover in this thread from the archives: http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92463#Post92463

The FA will continue to grow and will eventually break free from the bottom to float on the pond surface. Every place that the sun gets to the pond bottom, the FA will grow if there isn't 1) Something in the pond that eats it (Tilapia) or 2) Competing underwater plants that will utilize the nutrients.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/21/16 09:07 AM

Thanks esshup.

Just a quick update about cover...

Recently began cutting down alder bushes that have grown up right below the full water line around half of the pond. If you don't cut these, they become trees, eventually fall into the water, and erode the banks of the pond. I'm going to try to make a few bundles of those and sink with concrete blocks for cover. There is some untreated scrap lumber in my basement. I may try to build some kind of structure with that also.
Posted by: scott69

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/21/16 10:11 AM

my pond is 2 years old and i have so many sliders it is unreal. i wish i was closer to you, i would love to have the snappers in my pond. i have put 4 in there so far, but i haven't seen them since. i think they are pretty neat. my friend is trying to get me a softshell turtle. he said they are more apt to stay around. i am slowly eliminating the sliders.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/21/16 10:07 PM

Scott, I was feeding the fish today and a little snapper, about 4" long shell, came crawling along the bottom to eat, too. I had a fish net with me, but every time I moved, it scurried away. I would have gladly shipped him/her to you. Ha!
Posted by: scott69

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 05/21/16 11:18 PM

i'll take em.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 08/06/16 01:32 PM

Just a quick update. Had a visit from a civil engineer sent out by the dam excavation contractor some time ago. After an inquiry from me on the status, he emailed me a contract with an estimate ($3350) for the cost to design the drainage system on the dam---23 days after his visit. Does not include the materials or labor for actually doing the work.

Seemed kind of high, but I don't know much about these things. No update from the excavation contractor as to when he might be free to do the job. These things sure move slowly, don't they. wink
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 09/14/16 10:45 AM

another update: Just received a copy of the engineer's plans/drawings. The only thing surprising is he recommends SCH 80 PVC pipe, instead of SCH 40. This would be a 12" drainage system. Seems like overkill, but not going to question. Just want to get it done. Ha!
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/13/19 08:35 AM

It has been a long time, but I didn't completely give up on this project. Just got delayed some.

The contractor whose engineer drew up the plans for this, kept putting me off, wouldn't even give a quote for the cost. Each time I'd call, the number of jobs he told me were ahead of me kept growing, but he would always promise to get to it in a month or two. lol

I finally gave up on him and got the first contractor I contacted, to take the job. I think the engineer's plans helped this time, because he is a one man operation, and it is a bit overwhelming to plan everything from scratch.

Will update with some pictures soon.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/13/19 09:35 AM

Enjoy the journey Nancy
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/22/19 06:25 PM

I hope it's OK to start back at the beginning. This pond is rather isolated, and most of the work on this project involved widening the road to the dam so large trucks could get in. This included replacing some old culverts with longer ones. The contractor had 2 track loaders.



This is the beginning of the road.


..

Posted by: Rainman

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/22/19 08:46 PM

NancyGa...please don't stress on post size....you really can't give too much info!!! And we LOVE the pics!! I sent you a private message on siphon installations....they are part science and part art...for 5 acres, you'll want it done right!! Especially since you will likely need to breach part of the damn to seal off the old culvert drain that has rusted. You have a real gem there and as an investment, it should be kept as viable as possible.....a leaking or ugly pond can hammer the value of a property, or really increase the value when pristine with lots of life in it! Bodies of water like yours usually become the centers of most activity on the property.

Since you said you are still needing the drain repaired, and considering adult fish are difficult to source at times (I have some sources) and are much more costly than smaller fish...You may find it is easier, and less expensive to kill off the pond and start over. It will lower costs on pipe repair and siphon installation as well...plus, you will know what is in your water....Crappie are quite often destroyers of a pond under 50 acres in size....What is the source of water for the pond? Just runoff from your watershed or is it stream/spring fed? Do you own all the land in your pond's watershed? If not, do you know if other ponds upstream will drain into your pond? If a pond above drains into yours, you WILL get some of all the fish species in that pond that will be established into your pond....that will need to consider when developing a restocking plan. Killing off everything in the pond is pretty easy, but is not a DIY project for that much water....the fish that get killed off will get cleaned up pretty fast by all those turtles you dislike, along with loads of scavengers like coyotes, opossum, raccoon, fox, etc....The turtles will scatter for a while till pH returns to a point the turtles can swim in again.

You will really want to have a site visit by someone familiar with all the work and options, and have the engineering plans checked/modified for you particular pond....
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/22/19 09:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Rainman

... (clip) ....What is the source of water for the pond? Just runoff from your watershed or is it stream/spring fed? Do you own all the land in your pond's watershed? If not, do you know if other ponds upstream will drain into your pond? ....

Hi Rainman. There are two smaller ponds that drain into this one, plus about 4 or 5 healthy springs. It never comes close to running dry, even in the worst drought here in 1986---down only about 2 feet.

The crappie were a "gift" from a neighbor years ago. He didn't tell me about it until after he did the deed.{sigh} But they didn't take over. The contractor said he saw a 2.5 foot catfish while working. I figured all the catfish would be gone by now. It's predominately bream, and a moderate number of bass.

Ironically, since the water level has been down because of the broken standpipe, there has been a large increase in the number of minnows and frogs. I speculate it's because of more cover around the edges. Weeds have popped up in the more shallow parts.

Thanks for replying
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/24/19 10:08 AM

The contractor brought in an excavator when he got to the lake.



Half way to the dam



Road completed. Burning uprooted trees on the dam spillway. (A tire is making the black smoke.)

Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 02/28/19 06:06 AM

From the dam....

Several more inches had rusted off the riser pipe since I first posted here, and the trash guard got covered with trash. This was the only evidence of the drain pipe. LOL (Sorry the pic is so large)



They used the excavator to remove the trash guard from below the water, got a cute vortex, and brought the water level down another foot or so.



Top of old riser pipe.

Posted by: Joey Quarry

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/04/19 08:13 PM

That is quite the property and you have your own switchback road to the lake, awesome. I hope things are balancing out like you hoped? I'll offer my advice but remember, it is free and you get what you pay for.

In creating a self sustaining eco-system for a man made "water feature", the less you do, the more you accomplish. Nature always finds a way, if you allow it.

I wouldn't worry about the snapping turtles but I disagree they do not eat healthy fish. They definitely eat fish, healthy ones included. However, they will find balance with your lake and if they grow too abundant, Great Blue Herons will start to nest on your land. Chances are, foxes will roam in and find the eggs, then you'll have a fox den.

The only thing I do, is twice a month I test water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrite,phosphate, etc), dissolved oxygen and a secchi disc. I log it into an Excel spreadsheet and watch for trends or anomalies.

Good luck, I'll be watching for more updates.
Posted by: Rainman

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/05/19 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
That is quite the property and you have your own switchback road to the lake, awesome. I hope things are balancing out like you hoped? I'll offer my advice but remember, it is free and you get what you pay for.

In creating a self sustaining eco-system for a man made "water feature", the less you do, the more you accomplish. Nature always finds a way, if you allow it.

I wouldn't worry about the snapping turtles but I disagree they do not eat healthy fish. They definitely eat fish, healthy ones included. However, they will find balance with your lake and if they grow too abundant, Great Blue Herons will start to nest on your land. Chances are, foxes will roam in and find the eggs, then you'll have a fox den.

The only thing I do, is twice a month I test water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrite,phosphate, etc), dissolved oxygen and a secchi disc. I log it into an Excel spreadsheet and watch for trends or anomalies.

Good luck, I'll be watching for more updates.


If a turtle can eat a healthy fish, that fish was too stupid to be in the pond anyway....a turtle catching a healthy fish is indeed possible, yet very very rare, and quite well documented
Posted by: Joey Quarry

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/05/19 05:24 PM

Snapping turtles have a rather interesting evolutionary development known as "Lingual Luring". The snapping turtle's tongue has evolved into a "worm like" structure it is able to wiggle like a worm.
This development allows the snapper to lay motionless in water with its mouth open while wiggling its tongue. Unsuspecting fish, no matter their intelligence quotient, are lured by the tongue and when they take the bait (tongue) the snapping turtle closes its jaw.
Snapping turtles are rather efficient at eating live, healthy fish.
Posted by: Quarter Acre

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/06/19 09:32 AM

It was my understanding that it was only the Alligator Snappers that performed "Lingual Luring", not the common snapper (or regular ole' sliders, painted, and redears).

Side note: I have never actually seen the rare Alligator Snapping turtle.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/13/19 01:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Joey Quarry
That is quite the property and you have your own switchback road to the lake, awesome. I hope things are balancing out like you hoped? I'll offer my advice but remember, it is free and you get what you pay for.

In creating a self sustaining eco-system for a man made "water feature", the less you do, the more you accomplish. Nature always finds a way, if you allow it.

I wouldn't worry about the snapping turtles but I disagree they do not eat healthy fish. They definitely eat fish, healthy ones included. However, they will find balance with your lake and if they grow too abundant, Great Blue Herons will start to nest on your land. Chances are, foxes will roam in and find the eggs, then you'll have a fox den.

The only thing I do, is twice a month I test water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrite,phosphate, etc), dissolved oxygen and a secchi disc. I log it into an Excel spreadsheet and watch for trends or anomalies.

Good luck, I'll be watching for more updates.


We always have one blue heron hanging around. I drove by (in a utility vehicle) within about 10 feet of this one a few weeks ago standing perfectly still, hoping I wouldn't see him, I guess.



Would love to know where the colony stays. Have also seen fox, beaver, an armadillo, and a coyote.

I didn't think anyone was watching this thread. Will post some updates by tomorrow.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/13/19 01:57 AM

The next day not much got accomplished because some of the workers didn't show up, and they didn't have enough pumps and hoses to drain the water down below the riser pipe in time for the cement truck to show up.

Next morning one of the guys came up with an idea to place a chunk of 36" culvert around the old riser pipe (24"), shove it down deep into the mud and drain the water from around the old riser pipe inside the 36" one. This is a photo they sent me, looking down into the old drain pipe, showing water leaking from the deep drain out in the middle of the pond and passing by through the bottom. I hope this makes sense.



They wasted some concrete trying to fill it, but finally got it. Unfortunately it was one day I couldn't be there so I hope they didn't cut corners.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/13/19 02:17 AM

The engineer's plans called for two 12" siphon drains. These photos start at the back side of the dam, going up, over, and down into the water.





In this photo you can see the 36" culvert over the old riser pipe, filled with concrete, and the wheel to open the gate to the deep water drain on out in the pond. That mechanism had almost completely rusted in two at the original water level.

Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/16/19 12:14 PM

Covering the drain pipes on the dam

Posted by: CMM

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/16/19 01:20 PM

NancyGA, Thanks for coming back with your updates. I hope you and your family enjoy all the things ponds have to offer.
Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/23/19 04:47 PM

Posted by: NancyGA

Re: Want to bring 5 ac pond in GA back to life - 03/23/19 04:50 PM