Hello from South Louisiana! I heard about Pond Boss from a friend who built a pond at his new home in Rayne a few years back and all I can say is I wish I’d found this site and forum sooner! I’ve been reading all I can and watched a few recorded FB Live sessions from last year.
BACKGROUND: I bought a house in Lafayette in 2017 and I’m in the process of renovating a private 1-acre pond on the total 1.9-acre lot. It’s my understanding that in the late 70’s the pond was dug to build the road I live on. The house was built in ’86. It was an inherited rental property for the 10+ years before I purchased it, and the pond is no exception to the general lack of upkeep by the previous out-of-state owner/landlord.
PRESENT CONSTRUCTION: The water line to top of muck depth varied from 1-3ft depending on water level and location in the pond and the muck was probably 3-4ft deep. The pond is filled by rainfall and drainage from surrounding yards. Consequently, there is about a 120ft bulkhead running along the side of the house and erosion looks like it has been a bit of an issue around the rest of the pond. Mowing around the edges is dicey at times. After I purchased the house, I realized I couldn’t find the control box/timer for the fountain. After shutting off the main breaker, I learned that the fountain was not run from my house, but a neighbor had installed it 5-10 years prior and the tenant at the time didn’t say anything. That was the only kind of aeration system installed, and it may have been close to adequate due to the very shallow depth. Another neighbor told me that they used to have a water well feeding it, but I was unable to locate it.
The pond is only a couple hundred yards from the Vermilion river and probably about 20-30ft higher elevation. On the other side of the cul-de-sac across the yard are some million dollar homes on the river that were built in the 90’s and have had issues with wet back yards (fairly steep slope down to the river) and water coming out from under foundation. However, draining the pond did not resolve the issue for them, which makes me feel a bit more confident about this pond renovation project.
AQUATIC LIFE: By my best estimates, it had perhaps 50 BG and 5-7 LMB (8in or less). It initially had a lot of turtles which sunbathed on the fountain every day, but most of them disappeared over the last year or so, possibly in response to our acquisition of an Australian Shepherd in Spring 2018. We’ve had a couple of Pekin ducks in it for the last year (Easter gift to the kids from the mother-in-law), we used to get cranes and herons nearly every day when it was full.
1. Deepen the pond (LSU Ag Dept. supposedly recommends avg. 8ft depth in this region) for bigger fish (BG-LMB) and for swimming.
2. Improve the cosmetic appearance of the pond and ease of maintenance (sloped banks, less angular outline, small berms, etc.)
3. Reduce size from about 1 acre to around ¾ acre to give more yard space on far side of the house for the kids to run (ages 3, 1.5, T-minus 5 months)
• Began pumping out with 3in Honda trash pump in late September and fought the remainder of what has been a very wet 2018 in South Louisiana. (As a reference point, that Honda pump is supposed to deliver 317gpm at full throttle; after pumping the pond down and then getting a full night of good rain, it would take 10-12hr to pump out what had accumulated -> that’s 200k gallons in a night!)
• We had the USDA come out to take some soil samples to about ~7ft which yielded results they deemed marginally suitable for a pond (report attached).
• Finally, a few weeks ago it was dry enough lately to get a small trackhoe in and dig drainage ditches to facilitate continued drying and improved drainage, as the long and narrow side of the pond is higher than the other side where the pump is and there is a slight perpendicular ridge in the middle inhibiting flow down to the pump suction.
• We are getting the property surveyed today and raw data from the survey will be going to a landscape architect who will be making a 3D model of the property, assessing drainage paths, and designing the pond and property contours (and trying to minimize dirt removal costs).
• The landscape architect has highly recommended that we take soil samples down to 25-30ft in three different locations in the pond to ensure we will find suitable clays and not any sand beds.
• Planning to drill water well to keep level constant to help manage weeds and erosion
• Planning to have a designed outflow area, details TBD.
• I’ve just purchased Just Add Water and A Perfect Pond (better kind of late than too late!)
• Do I need a drain/overflow pipe tapped to city culvert? Or should I make a small channel lined with something like Flexamat as a dedicated overflow to the buried culverts near the front of the house? Currently if the pond floods it goes through the side yard into the street and down the storm drains (only happened in August 2016, to the best of my knowledge).
• Will the installation of a water well be a worthwhile investment to maintain consistent water level and help manage erosion?
• Should I perform a single deep soil test, or as the landscape architect recommended, three of them? 3 cores in ¾ of an acre seems excessive, and I’ve been quoted $3100 for the three which is not where I’d like to put $3k if I can avoid it.
• Should I replace the existing, aged ~120ft bulkhead with a wood or vinyl or stone replacement, or look to something like rip rap (not sure how that might look cosmetically) to ensure the soil near the house slab is secure? We’d eventually like to replace the Gazebo with an over-water structure of some kind in the same approximate area.
• Do I need to install aeration up front, or can I wait?
• What do you see that I don’t? What should I be thinking about that I’m not?
Thanks in advance for reading that small novel and for any insights you can bring to my problem – I mean – pond.