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#504413 - 04/16/19 07:16 AM Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
This may not be the right place for it, but I'll be documenting my progress on the pond with photographs in this thread as well!

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 Id found this site and forum sooner! Ive 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 Im in the process of renovating a private 1-acre pond on the total 1.9-acre lot. Its my understanding that in the late 70s 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 couldnt 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 didnt 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 90s 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. Weve 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 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 -> thats 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.
Ive 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 of an acre seems excessive, and Ive been quoted $3100 for the three which is not where Id 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? Wed 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 dont? What should I be thinking about that Im not?

Thanks in advance for reading that small novel and for any insights you can bring to my problem I mean pond. grin

USDA Report Pg1.PNG (96 downloads)
Description: USDA Soil Report Pg. 1

USDA Report Pg2.PNG (61 downloads)
Description: USDA Report Pg2

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 07:21 AM)

#504415 - 04/16/19 07:23 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
2017 - Initial State

2017-Overview.PNG (332 downloads)
Fishing 1.jpg (337 downloads)
2017-O.PNG (338 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 06:46 AM)

#514445 - 11/29/19 06:31 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
2018-2019 - Pumping it "Dry"

Starting to Pump - Late September 2018

Feeding Frenzy on the East Side Fish Population

West Side Pumped Down

The Challenges of 10:1 slope

Getting There - And Getting Overgrown

One Night of Rain - A Regular Occurance

2018-09 Initial Pumping.jpg (328 downloads)
2018-10 Pumpdown Feeding Frenzy.jpg (309 downloads)
2019-02 Grass Infestation.jpg (330 downloads)
2018-PumpDischarge.PNG (51 downloads)
2019-Pumping1.PNG (321 downloads)
2019-Pumping3.jpg (311 downloads)
2019-Pumping2.PNG (310 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 06:39 AM)
Edit Reason: Images

#514446 - 11/29/19 06:53 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
2019 - Progress & Fun with Drainage Trench/Sump Added

Drainage Trench = Difference Maker in Drying Out

Another Night of Rainfall

Kids in the Trench - Summertime

Kids in the Trench - Summertime

Playing while Pumping

Vegetation Invasion

2019-TrenchOfSalvation.PNG (318 downloads)
2019-DecentRain.PNG (327 downloads)
2019-DryPondFun1.PNG (314 downloads)
2019-DryPondFun2.PNG (323 downloads)
2019-PondFun.PNG (288 downloads)
2019-GrassGrowth.PNG (293 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 06:55 AM)
Edit Reason: Images

#514447 - 11/29/19 07:03 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
2019 - Planning while Underway, Prepping Outflow (Storm Drain)

Soil Core/Sample Results - OK

Crumb Test - GREAT

Preliminary Design

Cleaning Out Plugged Storm Drain (which our overflow pipe will tie into)

Reason for Plugged Storm Drain - Offset Boxes!

Pumping Water Up 30ft from Vermilion River to Clean Storm Drain

Nozzle for Cleaning Under Street

PondSoil.jpg (279 downloads)
2019-SoilSampleCrumbTest.PNG (299 downloads)
ThePlan.PNG (292 downloads)
2019-StormDrainCleanout.PNG (280 downloads)
2019-StormDrainCleanoutNozzle.PNG (299 downloads)
2019-StormDrainCleanoutVermilion.PNG (289 downloads)
2019-StormDrainCleanoutOffset.PNG (294 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 07:07 AM)

#514448 - 11/29/19 07:14 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
2019 - Moving Dirt at Last!

Initial Clearing

14 Months of Pumping, Still Mucky on the East Side

The Muck Trucks Have Been Summoned

Morning Equipment Inspection

Dirt Inspection

Mid-Pond Depth

Contours of Nearly-Finished East/Far Side

Looking Toward Mid-Pond / East Side

2019-DirtCleanup.PNG (288 downloads)
2019-DirtMuck.PNG (320 downloads)
2019-MuckTruck.PNG (283 downloads)
2019-WorkCrew.PNG (296 downloads)
2019-DirtMovingDepth.PNG (276 downloads)
2019-DirtMovingContours.PNG (291 downloads)
2019-DirtMoving2.PNG (306 downloads)
2019-DirtMoving.PNG (273 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (11/29/19 07:22 AM)

#514571 - 12/03/19 10:51 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
LaBassmaster Offline

Registered: 10/16/19
Posts: 33
Loc: Louisiana, USA
WOW! Huge project! I live in Walker, from Opelousas, so I know your area of La. Curious, did you have more fish than you estimated when you pumped out your pond? Are you installing brush piles, habitat while the pond is dry, before filling?

#514580 - 12/03/19 12:39 PM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
RStringer Online   content

Registered: 06/06/18
Posts: 639
Loc: Parsons KS
I love seeing those big trucks at work. I bet you are excited to se the results. Congrats looks like a beautiful area.
The people who say I can't do it can just sit the @^#% down and watch me. Friends call me Rusto I also subscribe to pond boss mag. http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=504716#Post504716

#514678 - 12/06/19 03:09 AM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: LaBassmaster]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
@LaBassmaster: Yes, I think I did based on the size of the bird feeding frenzy we observed! Actually, based on the total lack of maintenance prior to us buying the place and actual likely volume of the pond at 1.5-2acre feet with 0.8-0.9 acre surface area, we had a surprising number of fish - a handful of max 8-12" bass and probably 50-100 small-medium BG we would see when pellet feeding.

#515984 - 01/21/20 08:21 PM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
After an 8 week trip overseas for work, I came back to see it all in person (left town after they started clearing the area but before they started digging, photos up till this point courtesy of my wife).

The fun continues.


Pond Filling and Ryegrass Coming In

Splashing Around

Boat Launch (packing styrofoam from new refrigerator)

First Boat Ride

Pond - Jan 202 with Ryegrass.PNG (144 downloads)
Splashing Around.PNG (135 downloads)
Boat Launch.PNG (132 downloads)
First Boat Ride.PNG (127 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (01/21/20 08:24 PM)

#515985 - 01/21/20 08:35 PM Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana [Re: Kris B]
Kris B Offline

Registered: 04/14/19
Posts: 77
Loc: Lafayette, LA
Drilled a water well, still can't use it until the dirt guy finishes up though. Initial water testing results.

Water Well Being Drilled (Depth 118ft, Pump Set @ 60ft)

Surging/Cleaning the Well


Jar Test after 48hr, Unchanged in Light or Dark

Soil Test from LSU Ag School

Water Quality Test Kit

Water Well Drilling (1953 Rig).PNG (113 downloads)
Water Well Flushing.PNG (122 downloads)
Life.PNG (117 downloads)
Jar Test - Before.PNG (45 downloads)
Jar Test - After 48hr (Dark & Light).PNG (121 downloads)
Soil Tests.PNG (127 downloads)
Water Quality Test.jpg (129 downloads)

Edited by Kris B (01/21/20 08:38 PM)


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