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#458466 - 10/30/16 11:05 PM New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo.
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Hi all,I'm hoping to get started on a new pond very soon,in High Ridge Mo.I'm working on trying to get a price now.Does anyone in my area know of a good pond builder,or bad ones I should stay away from?The pond will be at least a 1/2 acre,but hope it will be closer to 3/4 acre,and if I can I will try to push it to closer to a full 1 acre.150' long dam,20' high,with the water being about 15' deep,will give me an easy 1/2 acre.I know lots of things can determine the price,but does anyone have a guess at what a dam that size should cost to build?
Thanks!Bob
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#458474 - 10/31/16 07:28 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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The NRCS usually (or it does in Texas) keeps a list of dozer drivers who want to dig ponds. Of course, there is no qualifiers to be on the list so check a lot of references and go look at their work.
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#458576 - 11/01/16 04:02 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I have talk with the MDC,and have read their pond hand book a lot over the last several months.They say you need to clear all stumps,rocks and such from the dam site,but you don't have to from the rest of the pond area,and that it may be best not to.I've also had an excavator tell me the same thing.What do yous think?
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#458579 - 11/01/16 06:50 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Bobbs, you want a clean, quality clay core on the dam...some rock can also be good as a binding substrate, but anything organic, like roots and stumps or vines, will rot, and leave holes for water to run through.

The clay core, and possibly all of the pond basin will need to be highly compacted, so FYI, tracks do NOT compact very well...you need wheeled earth movers or a sheepsfoot roller to do a good job. It will cost FAR less doing things right the first time than it will cost to correct cut corners later.

I personally am not a fan of the MDC...all state biologists I've met have only their personal ideals, or the state's interests in mind, and often could not care less about what the private land owner wants. NRCS agents are usually much better than the state. Be aware also, that some state services can cause your pond to become "waters of the state" and you can lose some control over your water.


Edited by Rainman (11/01/16 06:56 PM)
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#458588 - 11/01/16 11:15 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Rainman]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks,I've only talked to MCD on the phone,and they emailed me some info.Most of the info I learned from them was from their pond handbook on their website.I don't plan to involve them with it,but did learn a fair amont from the handbook.Thats where I learned about the Bottom Withdrawal Spillway that I hope to go with.I've had four excavators out to look at thing.The last one was about 2 weeks ago,he is the only one that walked around and looked at what I want done,but he still hasn't given me any type of pricing.The other three only wanted to stand at their truck and talk about it.One of them never gave me a price,the other two just told me what they want per day,but didn't seem to have much idea on what it might cost.One did say he didn't like the dirt in my area,because of being rocky,which doesn't make me feel good.I know the dirt is rocky and packs really hard,you have to use a pick to dig a hole.lol!
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#458614 - 11/02/16 05:04 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
esshup Offline
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If I was building a pond, I would make durn sure I could run a sheepsfoot roller over the bottom, compacting it, adding 6"-8" of clay, re-compacting it with the sheepsfoot roller and doing it again 2-3 more times for a total of 4 layers compacted and knitted together.

That means cleaning out the pond bottom first.....

Take a look at a bathtub. It holds water Very, Very well, providing that the plug is in the drain. You don't want to build the pond, stock fish, etc., and realize that you didn't put the plug in the drain.........
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#458678 - 11/03/16 11:06 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thank for all of the in put.A little more about my site,I want to dam up the lower end of a 800' wooded ravine.It's about 50' deep,about 75' wide and flat at the bottom,and then starts sloping up.The sides are alitte steep in the pond area,but not real bad.The sides are even steeper farther up the ravine.There is about 7 acres of watershed.From what I can see there is very little top soil in the area.
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#458742 - 11/05/16 10:52 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I'm not saying I'll have a choice,but if I do have a choice,would you guys choose for a wider or longer pond?I'm thinking longer would make it look bigger?
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#458768 - 11/06/16 08:26 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
esshup Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bobbss
I'm not saying I'll have a choice,but if I do have a choice,would you guys choose for a wider or longer pond?I'm thinking longer would make it look bigger?


It's a trade off. More shoreline = more habitat for YOY fish. But if the pond is too narrow you won't be able to get the depth you need.
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#458774 - 11/06/16 10:56 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: esshup]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Originally Posted By: esshup
Originally Posted By: Bobbss
I'm not saying I'll have a choice,but if I do have a choice,would you guys choose for a wider or longer pond?I'm thinking longer would make it look bigger?


It's a trade off. More shoreline = more habitat for YOY fish. But if the pond is too narrow you won't be able to get the depth you need.

Thanks,I'm not sure where they will want to get the dirt from,but was thinking if they took more dirt from the far end instead of the sides,it would make it alittle longer and look bigger.I think it would stay well over a 100' wide until the very end.
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#458825 - 11/08/16 07:21 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2884
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
Wider or Longer ?? if you have that option, why not do both? It's only money smile I would do what my budget would afford me to do.
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#458839 - 11/08/16 11:20 AM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: TGW1]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Originally Posted By: TGW1
Wider or Longer ?? if you have that option, why not do both? It's only money smile I would do what my budget would afford me to do.

I agree with you,it's only money,but my wife doesn't.lol!She don't care much about my pond.lol!We need a few more acres cleared,and some roads put in to build a house and pole barn,which will cost a lot of money,so she is only going to let me spend so much on a pond.
How big of pond do you guys think my 7 acres of steep watershed can keep full?
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#458850 - 11/08/16 03:57 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Jimmi Offline


Registered: 03/22/12
Posts: 59
Loc: MO
You might check with Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District for their 'Resource List of Conservation Contractors'.

Statement from their site:
'The JCSWCD does not endorse or recommend any Vendors/Contractors advertised in this Newsletter. All interested Vendors/Contractors are eligible to place an Ad in our Newsletter and/or have their names added to our Resource List of Conservation Contractors. This list is available to all landowners and anyone who requests it.'
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#466226 - 03/09/17 02:20 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I finally have something to update on this.We finally have someone working on clearing some of are land,including the area for my pond.He is going to dig some holes when he gets down in the pond site to look for clay,and clean things up enough so they can come up with a cost.He said he did find some clay while pushing trees down on top of the ridge and that we have enough land that we should be able to find enough clay.I won't hold my breath,but he did give me some hope.He needs to find good clay and give me a price that the wife won't get scared off and I'm good to go.lol!
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#466254 - 03/09/17 05:49 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5492
Loc: SE Kansas
Good luck in your search for clay. Be sure to take pictures of the process.
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#466270 - 03/09/17 10:48 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks Snrub!I went by my property after work and he had started clearing on the pond site.He was already gone for the day but I looked around and found some dirt that looked like it had clay in it.I could ball it up and throw it down hard on the ground and it would hold together.I hope that's a good sign.
I was hoping for 15' deep,but what do you think I could get away with here in mid Missouri?The reason I ask is there is a few really large trees that I want to keep.I always thought they was well above where my shore line would be but now that he cleared things up some I'm not to sure,it looks pretty close.
Every one I talked to about building the pond seemed to think they would rather not dig anymore than they had to under the water line.Do you think I could dig down a few extra feet to get my depth or do you think that might cause problems?I will ask my guy these questions,but I wanted to see what everyone else thought.
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#466271 - 03/09/17 11:15 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
John Fitzgerald Online   content


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 2225
Loc: S. end of Elkins, Arkansas
As long as you are digging in clay, you should be alright. On my latest pond, we quit digging when the clay started getting a little gravel in it...that was about six feet below ground level. We stopped there and compacted the bottom well. With the dam and excavation together, managed to get about 8 ft 5 inches of depth.
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#466324 - 03/10/17 12:25 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks John!I did get to talk with my guy this morning and he talked like it wouldn't be to big of a deal to dig down a good ways.He said the top soil is really deep,so it sounds to me like he would have to dig down pretty deep anyway.He came out this morning but it had rained to much last night so he couldn't work.There was a few big puddles of water which I thought was a good sign,but he said he didn't really find any clay yet,but he said he really hadn't digged just to look for clay yet.I'm not sure what I was balling up yesterday,it looked like a dark gray colored clay to me.The weather forecast doesn't look good so it may be a while before I learn more,and I really want to learn more NOW!!!!lol!
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#466327 - 03/10/17 01:18 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5492
Loc: SE Kansas
It is my understanding that a mixture of clay and topsoil is the best. Clay has a high shrink to swell ratio. This gives it the property needed to swell up and seal, but can also crack when dried out because of the shrinkage.

So you do not have to have pure clay, just soil with a hih enough clay content to seal well.

If you have an old 5 gallon bucket, drill some holes in the bottom. Wet some of your suspect soil to where it will compact good. Compact with your fist or ax handle about 6" final depth in the bottom, running the clay up the sides just a little so a bowl forms in the bottom. Slowly fill the bowl portion with water and seen how well it holds. If you have water running out the bottom equals bad. Dry or just damp on the bottom means the compacted soil will hold water.


Edited by snrub (03/10/17 01:20 PM)
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#466331 - 03/10/17 01:46 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks Snrub!I think I will try that.He showed me the red clay he found on top of the ridge when pushing trees,and he may just be looking for more of that.
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#466378 - 03/10/17 11:13 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I drilled about 30 1/4" holes in a bucket and got some dirt or should I say mud.lol!I tried packing it but
I think it is to wet.I will let it set for a while and see if any of the moisture that was in it drains off and see if I can pack it more before I add water.Does it sound like I'm doing the test right.I was surprised to se there was still water standing in the holes when I went by tonight.
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#466414 - 03/11/17 01:25 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Registered: 06/06/07
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Bobbss, unless aerating the pond, water 6 feet deep or more will be toxic in the summers here, but you want at least 30% of the pond at an 8 foot depth for our typical winters for fish to survive well in. With a 7 acre "steep" watershed, you might sustain one acre, but 3/4 acre is more likely.

BTW, it's nice to have another new Missourian amongst us!
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#466419 - 03/11/17 02:49 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
Thanks Rainman!I'm pretty sure it would be over 12' deep and still save my trees and that would probably keep the pond under 3/4 acre.
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#466438 - 03/11/17 06:58 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Bobbss Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 461
Loc: Jefferson County Missouri
I've been playing with my bucket of mud and have been able to squish a little water out of it but not much.If I just let it set nothing really comes out.Am I right thinking that with it already being extra wet,that if it will hold water on top,that would be a better sign?
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#466440 - 03/11/17 07:34 PM Re: New Pond Construction In Jefferson Co, Mo. [Re: Bobbss]
Rainman Offline
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Clay cant be too wet or too dry in order to compact. If too wet, the clay gets like a waterbed, push down in one area, and it lifts in another. Too dry, and it just crumbles.

When you get your clay dried enough, it should be moldable, but not with a lot of ease. Put it in the bucket, compact well to about 2" thick and fill with water. Mark your water level and cover with a lid. Keep the bottom of the bucket a little off the floor so if it leaks, water can drain. Let it sit for a few days and see if the water level dropped much.
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