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#262435 - 06/20/11 08:55 PM pond construction cost
pondevnyIA Offline

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: iowa
Hello I was just wondering how much it costs on avereage to construct a pond. What the cost of building a dam vs. excavation and any other factors that may vary cost. Any input would be very helpful and greatly appreciated.

#262446 - 06/20/11 11:29 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: pondevnyIA]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 20937
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Welcome to the forum! That's a VERY difficult question to answer because of the large diversity in soils. Damming up a ravine is cheaper than digging out a pond. (less dirt to move)

The costs will go up if you hit water and have to pump it out. How far you have to move the dirt also figures into the equasion. Different regions have different diesel prices, and fuel costs are a big part of digging a pond, especially when you get into larger equipment. Some equipment can use over 10 gallons per hour of running time.

Is the land clear, or does a lot of trees/brush have to be removed first? Large rocks in the way? etc., etc.

Lets see what some of the dirt movers have to say.

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#262705 - 06/22/11 09:38 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: esshup]
pondevnyIA Offline

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: iowa
Thank you esshup I wasnt looking for an exact figure just a range and how certain factors can affect that range just trying to get a little information thanks again

Edited by pondevnyIA (06/22/11 10:41 PM)

#262992 - 06/26/11 07:31 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: pondevnyIA]
JG Farms Offline

Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 6
Loc: Pittsylvania County, Virginia
This is a very open-ended question, but I was asking the same about 18 months ago.

We are getting close finishing out 1.75 acre pond. We are building it by daming up a ditch used for run-off....dam is about 16 ft high...can't even give you the total length or exact amount of dirt moved, though it has been substantial. Contractors we talked to were reticent on giving fixed price contracts because you can never be sure what you will run into. In our case, we had extra costs just removing about .75 acres of trees....our returns on selling the lumber did not cover the cutting expenses. Overall, our costs are going to approach $30K when it is all said and done, which is more than we had anticipated. One thing you might do is ask you contractor how much machine time he estimates....below are some of the hourly expenses for machines here in southern Virginia...all prices are $/hour.

Trackhoe 85
Chain Saws 8
Dozer 85
Dumptruck 55
Lowboy 45
Rubber Tire Grader 50
Road Tractor & Log Trailor 55

In addition to dirt moving and dam building costs, you need to account for your overflow pipe costs (we went with siphon system) and dam seeding costs. One of these days, I am going to post some pictures, after it's all done.

#263336 - 06/29/11 08:04 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: JG Farms]
pondevnyIA Offline

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: iowa
Thanks JG all the input is very much appreciated

#263352 - 06/29/11 10:32 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: pondevnyIA]
catmandoo Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5209
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
I hope I do not come across as too harsh.

I have recently been involved in some unfortunate issues involving both sides of estimating pond construction cost.

Each job is very different. Risks, travel time, heavy equipment site accessibility, permits, goals, soils, terrain ... they are all part of the equation. For example, it costs far more to move a hundred yards of dirt a half mile with a track loader when compared to a track hoe and dump truck.

Attitude of the landowner is also a major consideration. No one wants to be micro managed in their area of experrtise by someone who does not understand, and who is ever threatening with various forms of retaliatuin.

Get Extension Serrvice and NRCS recommendations. Get at least three estimates.

from Ken's cell phone
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#263449 - 07/01/11 05:05 AM Re: pond construction cost [Re: catmandoo]
czimmerm Offline

Registered: 11/28/09
Posts: 42
Loc: MN
Here's my experience:

The basic effort:
My pond is 1.3 acre pond with a maximum depth of 13'. The dump area for the clay was 300 feet away. I had them strip the topsoil off the dump area first and set it aside, then spread the clay. There was a good amount of water while they dug, but there was no pumping.

Additional work:
I had them install an Agridrain floodgate that I provided, and replace 400' of corrugated tile with solid pipe for the outflow. I also had them put down geotextile over a 70x130' area and dump sand over it, and put down a line of 2x2x4' concrete block along the edge of the 130' length.

They also stripped the topsoil off, then built up 550' of driveway for me with a coat of class V gravel.

Total cost: about $50k

Tack on 200 cubic yards of rock and more geotextile for riprap around half the pond: $10k

I had two outfits willing to do the job for these figures, but I was extremely flexible on my timeline, and as was stated above "your experience may vary greatly".

#263463 - 07/01/11 07:18 AM Re: pond construction cost [Re: czimmerm]
R&R Offline

Registered: 05/20/11
Posts: 322
Loc: Home: Georgetown IN. 3/4 ac. P...
Let me start by saying that after joining this sight reading the books and post's I must have gotten VERY lucky.

I was working on a construction sight with an excavator and asked him to stop by my house I wanted to see what it would take to dry up a low spot that I was tired of getting my tractor stuck in when bushhogging. This was in a field right behind my house.

So anyway the timing is mid August of a semi drought year and he come by and there is water standing in the field and long story short he says if it were me I'd build a pond...............2 days later there's 2 CAT 953's there digging a pond.

Even though there not "pond" builders it appeared they did a good job and it has held nicely for 4 years now.

It is .78 of an acre and there bill was $5,200. I spent another $800 seeding and strawing plus my stocking expenses.

All and all I'm very happy and obviously very lucky. But its been said many times I'd rather be lucky than good...............I think?

Edited by R&R (07/01/11 09:58 AM)
"If you aim at nothing you'll hit it every time"

Zig Ziglar

#263475 - 07/01/11 08:42 AM Re: pond construction cost [Re: R&R]
Dave Davidson1 Offline

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 11377
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Sounds like a heckuva deal.
It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

#263515 - 07/01/11 03:23 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Brettski Offline
Field Correspondent

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 6829
Loc: Illinois
fig's at about $7K per acre; very fair price, particularly if it's a dug pond.

#263528 - 07/01/11 06:32 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: Brettski]
dave in el dorado ca Offline

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 3260
Loc: el dorado ca
i paid too much to renovate an existing 1 ac pond, but this is CA. those hourly rates quoted above might have been here 40 years ago.

if i hadnt done most of it myself (and w/ good friends) it would have been more than double. i had bids from contractors ranging over $60k :yikes:
GSF are people too!

#263532 - 07/01/11 07:25 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: dave in el dorado ca]
RAH Online   content

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 2496
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
That's what happens when elected officials protect us with regulation. How could we ever get in a deficit situation?

#263536 - 07/01/11 09:22 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: RAH]
catmandoo Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 5209
Loc: Hampshire Co., WV
I think that CZIMMERM and R&R are typical of the ranges I've seen in recent years.

In my area, I've seen small pond builds (1/3 to 1.5 acre) range from about $5000 to upwards of $35,000. Size doesn't really matter. As our good friend Bill Cody always says, "it depends . . ."

There are many variables contributing to pond building costs. On-site estimates are a must. Soil samples, terrain, watershed size, annual rainfall, the size of existing trees that must be removed, worker and equipment transportation distance, permits and inspections, and many other factors, including the risk of possible failure, must all be figured into the final price.

All of this leads back to getting multiple quotes, and when possible, getting expert advice that the contractors might over look. It is very worthwhile to get advice from pond management experts, your state extension service, and the local NRCS office.

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#263541 - 07/01/11 09:35 PM Re: pond construction cost [Re: catmandoo]
ozarkstriperscom Offline

Registered: 02/06/11
Posts: 329
Loc: Mansfield, mo
I can tell you about the fuel cost. I had a friend let me use his track hoe and front end loader and he and I started digging back in feb. I am 90 percent finished and sitting at just under 8000.00 for fuel, oil and hyd fluid. The pond is a dug out pond and is nearly 22 feet deep at its deepest point and just under 2 acres right now. Contractor I had bid it was at 50,000.


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