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#488675 - 04/16/18 04:15 PM A Balcones escarpment hill country pond
DannyMac Offline

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Hello from northwest Bexar county, Texas, near Leon Springs and Boerne. I started a new pond in February 2017 to fulfill a 28 year old dream of damming up a ravine on our property. My friend's big backhoe/loader was able to dig down as much as eight feet as we progressed down the ravine, alternating between solid rock ledges and soft rocky clay layers. We were building a pond, 50 by 100 feet, together with a recirculating river cascading 100 feet from the top of the ravine. I expected to find the legendary Spanish silver, supposedly buried on Cross Mountain as the Spaniards fled the Indians...what better place to bury it and certainly not on the solid rock hill top. No silver...damn! Then my friend started worrying about dropping into a cave...well, the known but unmapped cave ought to follow the fault line which is known to run about fifty feet north under the street. Anyway, I lined the pond and river with 30 mil poly (otherwise used for lining oil well frac water ponds). I have some very steep sides into the pond but we were able to cut some shelves along the sides. All this without HOA permission...as they say, better to ask forgiveness for a "water feature" than ask permission for a small lake. As luck would have it, my great neighbor, Berto, head of the architectural review committee, lover of ponds and owner of a construction company, covered my ass. Berto even gave me a one horse submersible pump! Now I had a total three HP to pump up to the head of the river. Come April and I stocked twenty Channel cats, fifty CNBGs, twenty RES, and three pounds of Fathead minnows. I was advised not to add any LMBs because the pond is too small. Well, about July, I'm looking at buucoo bluegill nests and I don't see anything attacking them. Avoiding my fish supplier (scientist, lake manager, and all that), I mail ordered ten LMBs, too small at the time to whittle on the bluegills...but I'm looking to the future. All the while, I'm feeding these fish various fish pellets and they are growing! I fertilized the pond some to help the plankton. I built some pvc fish attractors, added a pallet and an old Christmas tree. I found five mutilated Channel cats that the submersible pump had devoured...of course, I should have built a cage around it...after the fact wasn't very easy, it being five feet under water, but I gotter done. About August, I stained the pond with a beautiful Caribbean blue dye...three weeks later the blue was gone but I had a fluorescent green color which I still have to this day. Last fall, getting a few pounds of shiners, I also picked up ten hybrid blue cats (HBC?). My fun development work stopped when summer hit with oppressive heat and humidity. In the fall, I planted $250 worth of various wild prairie grasses, flowers, and dam slope stabilizing seed...of course the deer ate almost all of it as it sprouted. Winter was usually cold and when not, I was golfing...plus my usually friendly fish went to the bottom. Now I'm back at finishing this project. The river awaits, wanting leaks fixed, waterfalls sealed, streambed rocks placed, and landscaping. I've come to notice that plants, underwater, marsh (I'm also working on about five hundred sq. ft. of bogs), and landscape cost a lot of money, more even than rocks, and even wholesale. Golf courses have lots of water plants but I need to develop a thieving attitude. In the end, I need to cover up black poly liner, stabilize some open dirt slopes, and build wooden decks and walkways. I found a recipe for stabilizer, far cheaper than $50 per gallon, requiring only a gallon of Elmer's glue ($8 to $12), five gallons of water (wow! now we got six gallons!), and a cup of vinegar...the vinegar converts the Elmers into a full fledged acrylic...this stuff is used on bike racing dirt tracks. I expect to break holes in it to put plants. Still, I have a dilemma regarding covering the exposed poly liner: I thought of hanging paving rock on a frame supported from above. Then I thought of hanging fake wooden bulwarks from above. Then I thought of fake grass, which I will try, but which no doubt would be strikingly odd against the rock and dirt hillside. I will be so grateful for any advice in this matter!
Dan McWhirter

#488678 - 04/16/18 04:41 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
DannyMac Offline

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Two pics of pond and "river" showing exposed slopes and poly liner. Any advice on covering the liner, especially the vertical hang, will be most appreciated.
The pond has a dual aerator and a fountain. I intended the "river" to aerate and circulate, but dumping large rocks into it created too many leaks through the liner, which I'm now chasing in the warmer weather.
I recently added a sand filter after noting that my cloudy water was not due to algae but to dirt and dust that accompanied my crushed limestone and gravel. The filter has done a good job. I'm thinking that besides caring for fish and fishing, swimming will be available when it warms up.

Pond View.jpg (87 downloads)
Uphill view.jpg (76 downloads)

Dan McWhirter

#488719 - 04/17/18 07:29 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: DannyMac]
CMM Offline

Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 583
Loc: West Central MO
Nice looking project Dan.

#489022 - 04/22/18 09:41 PM Re: A Balcones escarpment hill country pond [Re: CMM]
DannyMac Offline

Registered: 04/15/18
Posts: 6
Loc: Bexar county Texas
Thank you! I am putting fake grass on those upright sections of poly liner. Looks good, like real grass.
Dan McWhirter


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