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#43076 - 01/22/03 10:35 AM Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Jason N. Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/02
Posts: 38
Loc: Northern Indiana
Gearing up for the spring projects and would like to know if anyone has had good experience with sand for a beach. I have heard that it tends to get mucky and unsightly. Also, does it shift alot with water movement or wind? Do you have to rake it alot?

How about pea gravel? I know of a fellow that has used it for his beach and has no complaints. He said the fish will also make beds in it for an added bonus. It is just not as appealing to the eye to have gravel vs. sand beach. Any input is appreciated.

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#43077 - 01/22/03 02:48 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Greg Grimes Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Is it a good idea to encourage spawning in an area were you will be walking or swimming such as a beach?
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#43078 - 01/22/03 06:33 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Mike Robinson Offline
Member

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 110
Loc: Richmond, Illinois
How well the sand holds up really depends on the type of substrate that you are putting it on top of. If it is a soft bottom, the sand will sink into it, but if it is hard clay, the bigger issue will be erosion...wave action and run-off rain water will move the sand about over time. No matter what you use, there will be a certain level of maintenance to keep an artificial beach together. Pea Gravel will hold up longer than sand, but mother nature will have her way with it as well.

I feel that beaches are best kept to a minimum, but if you're going to have one, you may want to consider pea gravel in the water, and sand on shore. Good luck.
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Mike Robinson
Keystone Hatcheries

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#43079 - 01/22/03 08:05 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Jason N. Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/02
Posts: 38
Loc: Northern Indiana
Thanks Mike, I probably will go with sand on top and gravel in the water.

Greg, I never claimed to be the smartest guy in the pond world, therefore my idea of "encouragement" would be renting a hotel room with a bottle of champagne and some spanish fly for these fish. That is not going to happen. However I will be putting in a beach, which will most likely get little use in the summer months, so I will take my chances. Thanks JN

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#43080 - 01/22/03 10:17 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12398
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
JN. I deal with this question all the time because in NW Ohio and NE IN, you like many others want to swim in their fishing ponds. Especially for kids wading in the shallow beach.
I don't have a real good answer yet, but will provide some insight into both.
I agree with Mike, keep beach as small as possible. It is lots of work to maintain it as a clean swim area, almost impossible over 30 yr period. Weeds of all kinds love to grow in each type above water.

Pebble beach. Pebbles good for fish spawning, bass/bgill. Roundish pebbles do not hurt feet but not as soft as sand. Problem with pebbles is with foot traffic the sedimented dead organic materials (up to 1" per year) get buried under the surface when kids are playing in the beach. Dead orgaincs under the surface quickly lose the oxygen in this layer due to bacterial decomposition without water circulaton from the surface. Loss of oxygen causes black, inky, very smelly conditions to develop in the deeper gravel layers(3"-8" deep). Usually this occurs after one or three years or whenever high activity in the beach area subsides. When this happens no one wants to swim/wade any more in the black smelly beach. However the pebbles do have larger interstitial or open areas between the stones. Thus your quiry about raking. Raking the gravel 2"-4"deep, is about the only way to remove the black anoxic conditions. This does help in water movement among the stones reducing black condtiions.

SAND. Nice and easy on feet. Packs and settles into a dense substrate that tends to keep organic particles on the surface where they can decompose and not turn black unless the accumulation is deep (3"or more). But once it does get black under the surface, the dense packed nature of sand slows inhibits remediation or cleansing of the black materials.

Note about sand/gravel depth. If you are putting it on top of dirt or even dozer packed clay the layer should be minimum 8" thick better 10" to 14" thick. Thin layers will tromp down into the softening clay layer with extensive foot traffic. Softened clay will start working up into the gravel to make mud gravel mixture.
Some have used special fabric between clay & thin layer of beach sand to reduce clay intrusion.

Wave action on a small pond is usually less than 10"-12". This will create a ledge in the upper shoreline. The beach should be placed on the leeward (sheltered) side of the pond to minimize wind action and reduce organics acumulation.

I need someone to put in a beach that is split 50% gravel and 50% sand and test which stays clean longer and is easier to maintain.
Personally for a wading/swimming beach, I prefer a small flatish, cement, plateau area in about 3-4 ft of water. Use steps to get down the bank to the flat area. It will never turn black.
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#43081 - 01/23/03 10:08 AM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Jason N. Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/02
Posts: 38
Loc: Northern Indiana
Great info Bill! I will be the Guinea Pig this spring and test the 50/50 beach with a fabric weed barrier and give you a report at the end of the year.

Also, I need to get the 1 hp pump ordered from you late next month. I will drop you an e-mail later to discuss it. Thanks JN

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#43082 - 01/23/03 10:59 AM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Rowly Offline
Member

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 257
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
Jason and Bill, I will be developing a beach area in my gravel pit lake this spring and early summer using my resource materials frim the pit. Bill- in one area I will split the material to see what a 50% gravel and 50% sand combo will do compared to a 90+% sand covered beach/water area. I have the material to compare this project. Jason, as Bill has talked about make sure you place the beach in the correct location on the body of water or you could be creating a great deal of work. Example, if you have strong winds on your body of water, algae for example will be pushed by the winds. In my case I have strong westerly winds so if I locate my beach on the east bank I will get the algae washing up in this area, however if I put it on the west bank, most of the time the early algae will be blown off the beach and not onto it. (Less work?????)Question-Greg, what did you mean when you said it would be a good idea to encourage spawning in an area where you will be walking or swimming such as a beach? Thanks

Rowly

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#43083 - 01/23/03 03:12 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Greg Grimes Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
Rowly,
I was kinda bringing up the point that I would NOT encourage spawning activity in the same area where you will be walking. IN other words you could destroy the "bream" beds that are made in the pea gravel. I was only have serious I'm sure the bluegill will adapt to the conditions and spwan elsewhere once beach activity begins.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#43084 - 01/23/03 10:51 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12398
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
One additional note about placement of gravel or sand to beach area. If the pond is new and not filled with water, it is best to create a curb or ridge that outlines the area of the beach. This "curbing" or wall (8" to 14" high) will keep the beach material from washing off around the beach's edges & into the depths. In my pond I had the bulldozer operator push up a small dike of clay to outline the areas of the beach to act as a curb to hold the gravel in place.
If the pond is already full this obviously cannot be done. For beaches that have a steep slope beyond the beach area, the sand or gravel on the edges will thin out & work its way down the slope. If the slope is gradual all the way to deep water then no real problem with sand/gravel loss.
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Keep This Forum Viable, Read Pond Boss Magazine -
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#43085 - 01/24/03 01:45 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Jason N. Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/02
Posts: 38
Loc: Northern Indiana
Bill,
The curbing is a good idea. I may install cinder blocks in a half U formation in the water.

Rowly,
I may have to reconsider my location of the beach, I'm all about less maintenance when possible.

Thanks for the input!
JN

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#43086 - 01/25/03 09:22 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach?
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3099
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
Lusk chimes in...
I have built several beaches for clients. Here's what works best for us, here in windy north Texas.
We build a retaining wall under the water, at least 18" tall, around the periphery of the beach area in water. We excavate the beach area, install shade cloth onto the ground, then backfill with beach sand. Shadecloth keeps the sand from sinking into other soils.
I like the beach to be at least 18" thick, so when weeds begin to grow, you can run a rototiller through the sand to "fluff" it up, and kill the weeds. Some people kill weeds with Roundup.
The retaining wall under water keeps sand from eroding into the pond bottom.
Simple, and works well.
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Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...

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#414429 - 06/07/15 07:26 PM Re: Sand or Pea Gravel for beach? [Re: Bill Cody]
tubguy Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 135
Loc: Southern Indiana
I dug up this old beach post and was curious if anyone had tried the mixture of sand and pea gravel that Bill suggested?

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