Pond Boss Magazine
http://www.pondboss.com/images/userfiles/image/20130301193901_6_150by50orangewhyshouldsubscribejpeg.jpg
Advertisment
Newest Members
EvanJ, Dbleclk, Chuck B, Muskyhunt, kdumph
15557 Registered Users
Forum Stats
15558 Members
36 Forums
35829 Topics
487607 Posts

Max Online: 1039 @ 03/28/13 02:44 PM
Top Posters
esshup 24028
Cecil Baird1 20043
ewest 19414
Dave Davidson1 13498
Bill Cody 12416
Who's Online
16 registered (Tom M, Jim Wetzel, Heppy, Quarter Acre, Clay N' Pray, elb157, NEDOC, Brettski, Todd1978, canyoncreek, wbuffetjr, Redonthehead, Bocomo, EvanJ, Theo Gallus, snrub), 248 Guests and 432 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Topic Options
#494538 - 08/04/18 09:16 PM Drain Pond and Re-do?
Army Colonel Offline


Registered: 02/20/18
Posts: 6
Loc: IL
Advice please.....

I believe I have a pond that is ready for draining and a re-do but wanted to get some ideas and insight before I decide. My pond is right about 2 acres and ranges from 1-7’ deep. It is more than 50 years old and is surrounded on three sides by trees almost to the water’s edge. I fight weeds all spring/summer with mainly coontail or a similar submerged plant and then algae/moss on the surface. I have used hydrothol for the submerged and copper sulfate for the algae/moss with limited positive results. I also use dye packs to cut down on the amount of light getting to the bottom. I have succumbed to a rake and rope to manually pull the weeds as chemicals do not seem to work (the ones I have used anyways) and as I’m sure you know they are expensive. I would like to drain the pond, clean all the muck out as well as deepen, especially closer to the banks where the water is but a foot deep. I installed two aerators this year but they dont seem to have helped much.

I have a 20’ drop off the back of the dam and was considering a 4” siphon set-up to drain….thoughts?

I also thought about removing about a 10-12’ area around the pond edge of trees to cut down on leaf buildup in the future...thoughts?

Here are a few questions:

1. Does my description sound like the pond is at the drain/re-do stage?
2. Is there a best time of year to drain the pond?
3. How long must it dry/set before I can have it re-worked (I am in southern Illinois...good clay).
4. Should I keep a place or two gently sloping to a low water level for fish to spawn?

Any advice/experiencces would be greatly appreciated.

Top
#494539 - 08/04/18 09:58 PM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1994
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
I had my pond renovation done in August of 2015. There were many trees on the banks all around, down to the water. The pond is probably 60 years old. We cut the dam with an excavator one day and drained it. I pumped out down to the muck with a trash pump, and the dirt guy got his bulldozer in there the next day. He had an excavator and a medium bulldozer. He started at a corner, pushing the muck across a short chord into a hole prepared by the excavator in one corner. As the dozer worked back and forth filling the hole, the excavator would throw the muck over the dam. By working the pond the way they did, the dozer would always have undisturbed clay under the muck for traction. It took them three days to clean out and deepen my 1/4 acre pond. The bulldozer had to periodically stop cleaning the pond and push the muck pile away from the excavator.

We made a big mistake by not completely removing all the tree roots from the dam (only removed root balls with a bulldozer), and the pond leaks about an inch or so a day when near full, and stops when it gets below the roots (about 30 inches).

In hindsight, I would have been better off filling in the pond with the trees and dirt from the dam, making it part of the hayfield, and building a new pond nearby. We had to wait a year for the ugly sludge pile to dry, then paid to have it spread around.

I don't think I would renovate a pond with that many problems ever again if there was room to build another one.
_________________________

Top
#494540 - 08/04/18 10:21 PM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: John Fitzgerald]
Army Colonel Offline


Registered: 02/20/18
Posts: 6
Loc: IL
Thanks for the insight. Seems very close to what I was thinking of doing. I have about a 20' drop behind the dam...about 1 acre and if I cut thru the dam then the muck could be pushed back there. I could have the trees pulled down around the pond and dumped back there as well. No trees on the dam...plenty when I bought the place a decade ago but had them all pulled out (roots and all) and the dam repacked. No space to abandon and rebuild elsewhere as the remainder of my property is all old-growth trees and the pond sets about 50 yards behind my new house.

Top
#494541 - 08/04/18 10:33 PM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13498
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Don’t know the best time in your area. That said, the stuff in the bottom is going to be like pudding. It won’t dry quickly
_________________________
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

Top
#494542 - 08/04/18 10:42 PM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Army Colonel Offline


Registered: 02/20/18
Posts: 6
Loc: IL
Thanks for the reply. With the pudding like mess, do you think like John Fitzgerald mentioned in his reply that rather than waiting for it to dry, just have a dozer push it along to a bucket and then dump it over the back of the dam?

Top
#494544 - 08/05/18 06:52 AM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13498
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
That might be like getting a bucket of water. Don’t know your land but would it be possible to break the dam and go uphill and create a new pond? Later, fix the dam and use it as a new pond with overflow from the newer one? Or even break the new dam and combine the two. Trying to clean that junk out while not getting dozers stuck is pretty tough.
_________________________
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

Top
#494547 - 08/05/18 10:46 AM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1994
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
The OP said no room for a new pond.

The bulldozer pushed my sludge with no problems since he started at the edges and always had the solid clay under the sludge to get traction. On one side of the bulldozer, there would be clean clay. On the other side, a wall of sludge higher than the tracks. My dirt guy had cleaned out ponds before, and he said set up the excavator at the edge and dig a big hole to receive sludge, dip it and throw it. My sludge had the consistency and look of wet concrete with a low slump.

I don't know what else to say, except it worked very well for my clean out project. The big thing at the end of the project is get all the roots out of the dam and recompact well.

It took three days to clean out and reshape my 1/4 acre pond. For a two acre, might take 2-3 weeks.


Edited by John Fitzgerald (08/05/18 10:51 AM)
_________________________

Top
#494548 - 08/05/18 11:28 AM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
John Fitzgerald Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 1994
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
Originally Posted By: Army Colonel
Thanks for the reply. With the pudding like mess, do you think like John Fitzgerald mentioned in his reply that rather than waiting for it to dry, just have a dozer push it along to a bucket and then dump it over the back of the dam?


If the sludge is left in the basin of the pond, it will not dry out for a few years, except on top. Down a bit from the surface, it may never dry out. The only way to dry sludge is to put it on ground where it can dry by draining out the sides at the bottom of the piles of sludge. We piled our sludge on a slight slope, and it still took a year before it was spreadable. I got a very small bulldozer to spread it, as a larger one would have still sunk into the slightly wet sludge.
_________________________

Top
#494568 - 08/06/18 09:06 AM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 668
Loc: West Central Missouri
I have heard of de-mucking happening right after draining, like John F mentions, and often is the only way IF the dam can not be cut deep enough to allow all the water to evacuate and you have to rely on a pump to empty entirely. My 1/4 acre pond had the dam cut in early June, all but a very small portion about 10 foot diameter (5 inches deep) drained. The de-mucking occurred later that year in early October and then had the consistency of very thick pudding. It would stand at 8 feet tall as they dug into it, but if let set overnight, it would slough off and ooze around. The summer was on the dryer side that year, but not as dry as this year. It was not until mid summer the following year before the muck on the back side of the dam could be worked with a skid steer and it still pumped a lot in a few place and had to set for a week or so to continue dressing the backside where it was extra thick/deep.

My pond was originally 10 foot deep and had silted in to only 2 foot deep. It was past due for renovation. How deep is your muck? If your pond was only originally a foot deep than it is now then you have to consider your options...de-muck out a foot and be done or consider digging into the original clay bottom to make it deeper. This option is risky because you are changing the "clay bowl" that currently holds water and the new clay bowl may not.

The best time to break a dam is after the spring rains, but any other time of year can work as well. After spring helps ensure that you'll get some dry weather to follow. So much depends on the weather and your pond excavator's schedule.

Time to allow for the muck to dry before entering with equipment depends on the skill of your operators and their available equipment, and the steepness of your original clay bottom. My pond had/has very steep sides and one miss step by the track loader and it would be at the very bottom of very deep muck in no time. My dirt man thought it best to wait several months.

Having spawning areas really depends on what type of fishery you want. A self sustaining pond will need areas for spawning, but a fish farm style pond where you feed and take and replace does not want shallows specifically for spawning. For example, if you want to concentrate on Hybrid Blue gill and Hybrid striped bass. The HSB will be used for keeping your low numbers of hatched HBG to a minimum and you do not want any small mouths to feed so that you can feed the mature gills and grow them without competition from younger fishes. This scenario does not want the promotion of the spawning of the HBG. The self sustaining pond will need some spawning areas so that the regular blue gills can reproduce so that the regular bass will have something to eat. The basic difference between the two is "are you going to feed hybrids or are you going to stock the pond and let it do what it will do?". Obviously, there is a lot more to it, but hopefully I have shed some light on the topic.
_________________________
Fish on!,
Noel

Top
#494571 - 08/06/18 11:12 AM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
KRM1985 Offline


Registered: 08/22/17
Posts: 55
Loc: Huron OH
Sounds similar to my pond in both size and heavily treed surroundings.

I elected to redo the existing pond which was 1.5 acres only 3' deep.. I started by removing trees and brush on all sides that were within 30' of the pond edge. This was necessary and well worth it.

I had my pond drained by digging a ditch to a nearby creek. It was empty in about 2-3 days. It was drained in February and sat until late August before it was hard on the surface. I was able to walk across and even ride my atv on it..but when the heavy excavator w/ 70' boom drove out it sunk like a rock! I have pictures of it stuck. The contractor was able to put down floating pads that he could park the excavator on and work from.

There was 3' of muck before hitting clay from the years of leaves etc. They worked on it for about a week straight. Lots of muck, lots of dirt that had to be removed. Very labor intensive. Once they hit clay the dozer could get in there and work it and shape it..

End product was 2 acres w/ average of 5-6' depth, an 8' hole on the West end, and a 12' hole on the East end.

Due to the lay of my land, I believe this was the best place to have a pond so for me redoing the existing pond was worth it. I was sure to install a drain that would let me draw down the water and work on the pond if needed in the future.

Top
#494598 - 08/07/18 12:25 PM Re: Drain Pond and Re-do? [Re: Army Colonel]
snrub Online   content


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 4942
Loc: SE Kansas
My advice is build a new pond in a different location if that option is available. If the current pond is strategically located and the only option is cleaning it out it can be done but it likely will cost as much if not more than building an entirely new pond. I have built 4 ponds from scratch and have cleaned out and renovated three old ponds, one of my own, one for my daughter and one for a son.

Here is a link to my experience cleaning out my son's old pond. The dam had failed numerous years earlier (washed out the overflow pipe) and it was an almost dry bed when I started. Maybe it will give you some ideas or more questions to ask.

Reclaiming a 50 year old pond

If I would have had an excavator to help the dozer out the job would have been twice as easy. I have a 12 yard scraper pulled by a rubber track tractor that moves dirt very efficiently but in muck it is useless and I did not even take it to the job. I worked with what I had for equipment but in retrospect an excavator would have been really nice.

My son and his young family use the pond extensively every year since it has been cleaned out. Probably one of the best things I have done for them.


Edited by snrub (08/07/18 12:31 PM)
_________________________
John

I subscribe to Pond Boss Magazine

Top

Today's Birthdays
dchance, John Wann, jollyroger, Joshua Flowers, myrtle rosamore, Serrecko
Recent Posts
Siphon Vent Question
by Heppy
0 seconds ago
School me on crawfish
by Jim Wetzel
9 minutes 12 seconds ago
Building a garage-apartment with a pond view
by Brettski
35 minutes 17 seconds ago
Hello for NW Ohio
by Quarter Acre
42 minutes 40 seconds ago
Before & After Aeration Start-Up Observations-LONG
by wbuffetjr
58 minutes 6 seconds ago
BG Fish tacos
by snrub
Today at 10:28 AM
Big Thanks to PB-the Proof is in the Pond
by Quarter Acre
Today at 10:22 AM
Chronicles of stocking Hybrid Striped Bass......
by snrub
Today at 10:16 AM
Enjoyed my visit to Keo Fish Farm
by NEDOC
Today at 08:29 AM
Is this a YOY Tilapia?
by Clay N' Pray
Today at 07:40 AM
Newly Uploaded Images
CNBG
My Best Longear so far
Help ID this fish
Crayfish monster.
Turkey Pics
Question on pond draining

© 2014 POND BOSS INC. all rights reserved USA and Worldwide