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#383291 07/25/14 02:53 PM
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So I'm thinking of putting in a pond in the south east corner of the property.
I'm looking at an area that on USDA soil maps and WDNR wetland indicator map is classified as a Wetland with emergent meadow. Which in reality is now a sad looking corn field. Too Wet, had standing water about 1 week ago. Part of the area is listed as a Wetland indicator area. WDNR bases this on soil types. The 2 types of soil are Alluvial and Otter Silt Loam.
The south edge of the property is bordered by a river. the east side is fairly level and is all listed as a wetland as mentioned above. As you travel west on the property it rises slowly at first then changes from wetland to wetland indicator area then it rather quickly rises out of the wetland indicator area to corn field then a steep ridge that is hardwoods. Total increase in height of approx. 100 ft above south and east edges. This happens in about 1000ft. The wetland indicator area is approx 10ft higher than the river/wetland area at its highest spot.
So I'm thinking of putting in a pond that as its dug down it will most likely hit the water table with in a few feet of digging. Basically this would be a pond that is on the eastern side of a gently sloping area. I'd try to stay out of the wetland area but in the wetland indicator area. But this being Wisconsin, and being an area known for sand and gravel deposits left by glaciers I'm willing to bet that I'll hit sand and gravel. And also being Wisconsin within 500 ft of a waterway and within a wetland area mean the need of permits and applications may be a headache alone.

Before even digging test holes is the idea of putting a pond on the side of a sloping hill practical? About 1/2 of the pond circumference would need to be dam I assume. My only saving possibility is that the water table is so high that if I can dig out a hole it will fill with ground water. In that case very little dam would be needed I assume. Any words of wisdom from the experts here?

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I am by no means an expert but I can tell you this...when it comes to digging a pond(s) there is a right way and the way I did it! grin

It sounds like you have A LOT going on in the ways of soil types and the most dreaded word in new pond construction... WETLAND. WCA, wetland conservation act is Federal and the man takes it very seriously! I would draw up where I wanted the pond ideally built with approximate size and take it to your county soil and water group. They will know if it can be done legally or ways to mitigate the potentially compromised wetlands. Once I knew I would be able to get the proper permits, I would then source a guy that has built fish ponds in your area. Heavy emphasis on FISH POND builder.

PS- Its all possible...it's just a matter of how many dollars to get you there wink

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As far as putting a pond on the slope of a hill, that is the way the majority of ponds are "here". Often times in an old wash or eroded area so some of the excavation is already done but not always. Having a dam half the perimeter of the pond is not at all unusual. One main thing is having the appropriate amount of watershed to keep the pond full most of the year but not so much as to be a problem or need an expensive spillway to handle huge volumes of water.

Wetlands.............sheeesk. Just be VERY careful and have all your ducks in a row. There is a thread here on PBF earlier this year about a guy that got all the local permissions from NRCS and thought he was in the clear legally and the EPA still nailed him a few years later for a wetlands destruction offense. I think they use satellite maps to look for offenders, then it is ready, shoot, aim and it is up to the defendant to prove himself innocent. EPA is almost like a government unto itself with little to no over site and way too much power. They scare the heck out of me. It is so easy to break the law and not know you are doing it. Or not break the law and still have to prove your innocence when they levy fines at thousands of dollars per day since the day of the offense which could have been years earlier.

A pond owner getting a notice from the EPA about a wetlands offense would have to be even a worse nightmare than a dam breech.

Last edited by snrub; 07/25/14 09:12 PM.

John

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The NCRS already passed me off to the WDNR. I have talked a woman at the WDNR about the wetlands/waterway issue. She wants me to send her a marked up map and she would get back to me with info on permits etc. She mentioned state and county.

Its all kind of ironic. The "WETLANDS" are a corn field. Its plowed every year for planting crops. I am sure they put herbicides and probably pesticides on it. I want to put a pond on a portion of it and restore the rest to native wet prairie grasses and that is somehow worse than whats going on now? Erosion, hebicides and pesticides are OK? Ponds, native grasses, fish and wildlife need permits?

Oh well, I'll mark-up a map and send it to the WDNR and see what they say. Maybe if I show some area on the map as "restored native grasses" they might look at me differently..

As far as the pond on the slope, what would be my next best step. Test holes looking for soil types as I dig down, water level, clay content?

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There are various exemptions under the clean water act that allow the use of wetlands. Agriculture is one of them. That's why it's been used as a cornfield probably. Stock pond for ranching and livestock is another that is often used around southeast Virginia where about 25% of the land is a non-tidal, forested wetland with no ties to navigable waters.

The EPA and Corps of engineers had a real opportunity to clearly and simply define "waters of the U.S." The supreme court strongly encouraged them to do it, and instead, the went very broad with the proposed rule a few months ago. The backlash has been strong, with most farming and agriculture groups protesting. It's facing steep resistance in Congress. Doesn't mean it will not be signed into law though.

Research the exemptions, you may be able to fit into one of them. Seems like most times that the EPA / COE pick on the "little guy" they lose. When they go after large construction companies, coal mines, neighborhood developers, they win (at least with a monetary settlement). I predict they will lose badly on that Wyoming welder's case, and in the future they will become a bit less heavy handed with small ponds on private land.

VA


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