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#500340 - 01/04/19 02:03 PM Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Hello everyone, I'm brand new to the forum, so any and all advice is perfect. I bought some property (central Illinois) and it has 1 large ravine and a smaller ravine that met at the low end where I'm going to build a dam. I've already had it logged out, all left over trees, brush and everything else has been cleaned up and either burned or completely removed. I plan on doing the damn build myself,I have great soil plenty of clay very close to the dam. I've talked to the Army Corp and the state everything is fine as long as I don't exceed a 25ft. tall dam. I plan to go as high as 25ft, with my fretboard at 22ft. The point of where the dam is being constructed width is a pinch point so from side to side is around 100ft long(dam length). Do I need to run the core deep into both sides(they are all clay) and go as high as my water level(22ft.) Or can I core into both sides let's say 4ft. and build up from that point to kinda lock it into the sides as well? I plan on a 2:1 slope on both sides of the dam. Next question, seeming it's clay everywhere do I need to strip out all(or as much as I can) of the topsoil in the pond area from dam to the shallow end? If not does it all need to be compacted or can I just leave it all along and let it fill?

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#500342 - 01/04/19 02:17 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2026
Loc: West Michigan
Please save yourself a lot of cost and a whole lot of 'WishIWuddas..' and get a consultation and a site visit by a reputable pond builder. Not a dirt mover, a pond builder. A 25 foot dam has unique challenges in its design and construction and I would never ever want you to have this be your first experience with building a pond with a dam. You didn't mention how comfortable you are in building ponds or dams.

This forum is riddled with folks who paid dirt movers who have found just about every way possible to be sure that the pond looked good long enough for them to cash the check and leave the site only to have the pond be a 'leaker' forever afterwards. Fixing it later is WAY more expensive then doing it right the first time. So many people were assured that there was plenty of 'good clay' on site only to find that there are a lot of kinds of clay and it is the way the clay is applied that matters the most. Even one small vein of stone or gravel is all it takes. You need a lot of planning, prep work, test holes, watershed calculations, plans for overflow, siphons, etc etc.

There are too many people aching about how things ended up after hours of work and lots of money and I hate to see you end up in their ranks and with a much larger scale project that didn't turn out as you had envisioned.

But, the good news is welcome to a great forum filled with helpful resources and good people. One of the IL pondmeisters can share with you their experience and also can recommend reputable and SUCCESSFUL pond builders in your area.



Edited by canyoncreek (01/04/19 02:19 PM)

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#500345 - 01/04/19 02:45 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Redonthehead Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 04/03/07
Posts: 223
Loc: Missouri
Go to your local NRCS office and ask for them to design it for you. ie primary spillway pipe size, pool level, emergency overflow height and size, watershed calculations, yards of fill needed etc, etc. The acreage of the lake needs to be suitable to the watershed acreage.

They will probably tell you to core a minimum of 3' below the current creek floor, and deeper if required to get to good clay. The core should extend up to the top of the dam with the exception of topsoil on top to grow grass. The core will need to extend into the hillside to good clay.


Edited by Redonthehead (01/04/19 05:54 PM)
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#500393 - 01/05/19 05:27 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
I have never built a dam before but I do have adequate amount of equipment operating experience. The location of my ravine is the very top and beginning of a conjunction of other ravines that eventually goes to a little creek about a mile away. I've done the test holes they all hold water, I've done the compacting of soil(clay) in my hand and it's sticky, holds shape and holds shape in a bucket of water. Literally I have endless amounts of clay soil. I checked on it today and the very bottom of the ravine actually has water holding in it and running a little current thru it. Where my dam is going to go at(the lower part of the ravine) the loggers put in a road at the bottom so it's packed in tight and water is now flowing across it today. It's been wet so I get all that. I have what I can see 7 GIANT rocks like 4ft+in diameter down in where I am going to put the core in. I'm going to pull all the giant rocks out as I go. I'm going to vote as wide as the d6 blade and im going 4ft. Or deeper if need. If i have to pump water out i will. Is a little bit of water going to hurt anything as i build the core up? Do I need to compact the entire pond floor as it's practically trying to hold water all ready? Do I need to push out all the top soil in the pond floor? I appreciate everyone's advice, I like taking on big project and will do this on my own if it epically fails, zero worries I'll hire someone to rebuild it. I wish I knew how to post pictures to give a better idea, someone knows how im all ears.

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#500394 - 01/05/19 07:17 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
gully washer Offline


Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 345
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Magshine
I wish I knew how to post pictures to give a better idea, someone knows how im all ears.
Yes, please do post pics, cause we certainly like pictures. The easiest way I know of to post pics is to upload your photos to the free photo hosting website “Imgur” and then copy and paste the provided share-link for each photo directly into your post. Choose the Imgur share-link that says, BBCode(message board & forums)........... Welcome to the forum!

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#500490 - 01/09/19 06:26 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Ok great I'll try that today!

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#500491 - 01/09/19 06:41 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Tried to upload pics, but they are all like 5mg+ and I guess you can only upload 2mg? No clue? Amy suggestions would be spectacular

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#500492 - 01/09/19 07:15 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5432
Loc: SE Kansas
It states on the upload screen the size and total number of pictures per post.

You can resize pictures with a free program like Pixresizer or most email programs (though not all) will ask if you want to resize when you send them via email. So you can email the picture to yourself if your email program supports that.


Edited by snrub (01/09/19 07:16 AM)
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#500494 - 01/09/19 07:38 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
wannapond0001 Offline


Registered: 12/11/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Ohio
just use an image hosting site, it's much faster than resizing and downloading

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#500617 - 01/13/19 04:38 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Got ya I'll give that a whirl, thanks

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#500627 - 01/13/19 08:54 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13868
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Whether you decide to do it yourself or not, I would buy Mike Otto’s book “Just Add Water”.
_________________________
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

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#500630 - 01/13/19 09:11 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
wannapond0001 Offline


Registered: 12/11/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Ohio
Speaking of Just Add Water...is it being shipped from China because I haven't received it yet. Ordered around Xmas.

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#500632 - 01/14/19 05:11 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13868
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Call the Pond Boss office.
_________________________
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

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#501116 - 01/23/19 05:37 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Still working on this picture thing a little frustrating. I'd like to add my work from start to finish and as whe I'm at now im on my final stages if clean up(one good weekend) and that's done, then dam build will start. If weather permits hopefully within this coming next month.

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#501122 - 01/23/19 08:02 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
I hope this picture posted. This is the start of my tree removal in my ravine last year.


Attachments
1548291201210617.jpg (133 downloads)


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#501124 - 01/23/19 08:10 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Well I think I got it to work so here comes the photos n with some descriptions of where we were and where we are now


Attachments
1548291874291151.jpg (136 downloads)
1548291873795900.jpg (115 downloads)



Edited by Magshine (01/23/19 08:14 PM)

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#501125 - 01/23/19 08:25 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Hired a logging company to remove all the large trees in the 2 large and small ravines


Attachments
1548291873795900.jpg (124 downloads)
1548291998597190.jpg (108 downloads)


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#501144 - 01/24/19 10:28 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
dlowrance Offline


Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 896
Loc: Central IL
Sage words of wisdom from a guy in the same area as you that wishes he'd found this site BEFORE he built his pond....

1 - DO go to the NRCS office and get their recommendations. And specific to the whistle/culvert size, I recommend something between 150% and 200% bigger than what they say. I used their recommended '100 year rain' sizing and almost lost my pond 5-6 times in a 4 year period before I paid to have the culvert dug BACK out and replaced with one 50% bigger.

2 - PUT IN A BOTTOM DRAIN/SIPHON - ideally with a valve and/or a hookup that could be used - this is my #1 regret. It's a bit pricey to put in but it's IMPOSSIBLE to add later without some serious work/draining your pond/etc. A bottom drain gives you a way to adjust your water level easily, getting rid of the water that's essentially no use to your fish anyway. And having a way to quickly draw down your pond is something I've wished I could do dozens of times since I built the pond. It also might decrease your insurance rates if you have a house or buildings close to the pond as your local fire dept could use it as a water source - depending on how you build it.

3 - READ READ READ. There's a ton of knowledge here. I bet I picked up 15-20 REALLY good tips in my first few weeks on here that I'd have paid good money to have prior to building my pond. Stocking advice, structure construction, etc all is a TON easier to plan for now vs after the pond is full.

4 - if your pond area is anything like mine you probably have ag runoff coming in. If that's the case plan for a riparian area/grassy entry/spot to catch runoff/sediment pond/etc. I sort of lucked into this one, I didn't really plan for that but 2 of the 3 spots I get significant runoff into I was lucky enough to have very shallow, so now I have vegetation there strategically placed to capture as much of the silt (and corresponding phosphorus) as I can. You'll thank your lucky stars on this one when you have less algae than anyone else.

Learn from our mistakes - I've made a ton. And as far as getting a pond builder's help depending on where you are in Central IL I might be able to steer you to some local words of wisdom.
_________________________
Dale



"When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water." - anonymous

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#501146 - 01/24/19 11:08 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Great tips for sure thank you! I have 3 smaller ravines feeding the main ravine(main part of the lake). My plan was to open up one towards my shallow end and damn it off top have a small pond to catch silt but also(if it works right) to raise fish or bait fish in to re- supply my main lake. My other snack ravines I planned on putting in small wing dams to slow the water down entering my main lake.

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#501147 - 01/24/19 11:11 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
Tons of clean up of trees and brush that the logging company left. Mini excavator helped a ton!


Attachments
154829199985260.jpg (119 downloads)
1548292001610124.jpg (99 downloads)


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#501152 - 01/24/19 02:20 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
More clean up over the summer. My wife and I would spend every Saturday cutting trees, pulling trees with the 4 wheeler pilling up brush and trees. Things really got kicked into high gear when I found a couple guys that have wood burning house heating systems for their houses. I said you can have it all. 11 guys, 4 trucks with trailers, 2 skids and they went to work every weekend for 3 months and everything is gone but maybe a weekends worth of clean up.


Attachments
1548292002755743.jpg (101 downloads)
1548291999190498.jpg (77 downloads)
154829200335770.jpg (58 downloads)
1548292003046914.jpg (58 downloads)
1548292002186970.jpg (70 downloads)
154829200335770.jpg (85 downloads)



Edited by Magshine (01/24/19 02:22 PM)

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#501153 - 01/24/19 02:28 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
I have huge rocks that I'm gathering to either build a really cool waterfall attraction on the lake. Behind my wife and daughter is the main lake ravine.


Attachments
1548292003551296.jpg (100 downloads)
1548292004089477.jpg (95 downloads)
1548292001873818.jpg (95 downloads)


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#501154 - 01/24/19 02:37 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Magshine Offline


Registered: 01/04/19
Posts: 27
Loc: Illinois
This is where we are at currently the big ravine is 99.9% cleaned. The little ravine is completely cleaned. These pictures are takin where the dam is going to be built. My question is the soil is all good clay, do I have to remove the top soil everywhere in the pond basin to clay to seal it? It constantly has water trickling down the middle, so I shouldn't have to compact the entire basin correct?


Attachments
1548292004368346.jpg (108 downloads)
1548292004368346.jpg (80 downloads)
1548292003805737.jpg (88 downloads)
1548292005166237.jpg (74 downloads)
1548292004883595.jpg (105 downloads)


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#501396 - 02/01/19 11:58 AM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
dlowrance Offline


Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 896
Loc: Central IL
Originally Posted By: Magshine
This is where we are at currently the big ravine is 99.9% cleaned. The little ravine is completely cleaned. These pictures are takin where the dam is going to be built. My question is the soil is all good clay, do I have to remove the top soil everywhere in the pond basin to clay to seal it? It constantly has water trickling down the middle, so I shouldn't have to compact the entire basin correct?


Others can chime in but for mine, I certainly didn't remove ALL the topsoil. I did get much of it out, both because I wanted plenty on the back side of the levee and also because it's a shame to leave it down there vs. piling it up to use elsewhere. But if you have solid clay underneath the topsoil then I'd say no. Of course the risk is that you're not sure you DO have clay 100% underneath until you DO remove all the topsoil....geographic oddities that are difficult to predict have caused people on this site all sorts of headaches - better to find those before you close in the levee than after.
_________________________
Dale



"When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water." - anonymous

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#501397 - 02/01/19 12:07 PM Re: Ravine Dam Lake Construction Central Illinois [Re: Magshine]
Bill Cody Offline
Moderator
Ambassador
Field Correspondent

Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12804
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I would remove as much topsoil as possible. Topsoil has many uses and can even be sold to recoup some of the building cost. As dale mentioned one does not know what type of soil is actually under the topsoil so removing the topsoil will reveal the subsoil and hints to where likely spots to check if the pond leaks.

If it were my pond I would at least get all the pond bottom down to clay and drive over it several times with a sheepsfoot roller as a form of leak insurance. 8 times or pass with the roller by the book. A leaky pond will be a long term headache for you especially if you try to fix the leak. Quote from Rainman: "all the pond basin needs to be well compacted during construction. Don't fall into the myth that a 50,000 pound dozer will compact soils, as there is less PSI of pressure than a typical home refrigerator." "Spending a little on insurance in the way of proper bulding will save huge dollars if the pond leaks and needs to be redone. I had a dirt pusher build a dam and the original build was $3800. The bills to "fix" all his mistakes topped $32,000."


With all those surrounding trees that each year will contribute lots of leaf organic matter it is better if you remove topsoil to add as much overall depth as possible. I've seen ponds in wooded areas that gain 1ft of dead leaf matter each year. This not only fills in the pond but reduces water quality and increases chances of fish kill both in summer and winter. Do it right the first time even if you have to make the pond somewhat smaller; you won't regret it.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/01/19 09:19 PM)
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