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Joined: May 2004
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Folks,

New member here, thankful to have something to help me build my first pond. Just subscribed to the magazine, so I can check off one item on my list. \:\)

As I was reading through some of the posts, I had a question about whether I can legally build a pond on my property. We're way out in the country, with no restrictions on our property other than the Waller County restrictions. We bought the property 4 years ago (33 acres) and when we were negotiating the deal, the mineral rights were not part of the purchase. I didn't care at the time, because I had no intention of "drilling for oil/gas". Now I'm curious to know whether there may be any issues with me excavating the pond and "selling" dirt/clay/whatever else we may find to help pay for the costs. Actually, since our property is so low already, I had planned on using the excavated material elsewhere on the place to address some of my draining issues.

So... I'm curious... any legal issues with me excavating if I keep the material "onsite"?

Thanks for any help and I'm looking forward to the challenge!

-Slimbeaux


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I can't speak for Texas, but we normally think of oil or gas when we think of mineral rights in my area of Illinois. You need to check out legal issues there; but the risks you would run around here by not owning the mineral rights is that someone may drill an oil well near your pond (on your property) with potential contamination to your pond. Probably not a huge risk, but I understand it could happen. If that is the case there too, I don't think building the pond would be much of an issue. It might be a lot different down there. Any buried dinosaurs?


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It is my understanding that you are talking about surface rights and mineral/drilling rights are considered subsurface. I'm not a lawyer but I don't think you have a problem. However, I recall something in a previous Pond Boss magazine discussing the laws regarding water impoundment and that they vary by state. I recall from a previous post that Colorado has 'thou shalt not' laws. The overall belief is that they are going to become more restrictive. I would call the NRCS and ask but not sure I would identify myself. Those guys are usually pretty realistic. Then, I would probably go ahead and do just as I damn well please but keep my mouth shut.

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You really want to make sure that there are no laws controlling the impoundment of water. In California, for instance, it is tightly controlled and if you are caught with an illegal impoundment you are forced to eliminate whatever you did to create it. Recently they have been using aerial photography to check for unauthorized dams etc. Better to be sure before spending a lot of money.
Jim

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I vaguely remember the surface vs subsurface conversation we had at the time. I can remember them saying that I had rights to basically "anything that I could see".

I'm not too worried about it, but I thought the question was worth asking.

I'll keep checking into the impoundment question and go from there...

Thanks again.

-Slimbeaux


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If you don't own the mineral rights to your property, who does?? Would this be the person who you purchased the property from? If you know who owns the rights, couldn't you just ask them whether of not you could build a pond?

Jim, is California strict on impoundment ponds only or does this include excavated ponds too?
Why are they so strict?

Russ

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Slim, you don't have a problem. It's common for most tracks of Texas land to sell with out mineral rights. Even if an oil company came and drilled, you would still come out fine. You would work a deal for a "pad" area, and probably a right of way...all money in your pocket. It's even common for them to drill a water well, giving you full access when it's not is service. If I were you, I would give more thought to keeping out the trespassers and water turkeys ! Bottom line, you don't need their permission to change your land as you see fit.

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P.S. In TX call 1-800-DIG-TESS. It's free. Let's you know if there are buried lines, cables, or pipe on your property before you start.

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Russ, California has a consistant shortage of water. Even though we are in northern California, we are still a semi desert region and only get rain in the winter months. You must have a permit to excavate a pond that will impound water and at this point it is difficult to impossible to get. You can have a natural pond that collects runoff but will still be subject to permits if you wanted to "improve it". The Golden Hills of California are actually dead grass!
Jim

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Jim,

If the northern region of California is short on water, I would think the State would encourage anyone that proposes to construct a pond. What am I missing??

Russ

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You don't have a problem in Texas. Minerals refer to oil & gas only. Anything else must be specifically spelled out. Even lignite. So the surface owner owns all the soil gravel or anything else that can be escavated from the surface.

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Russ:
Not too long ago public entities would pay for all or part of your pond construction. That all changed when the realization dawned that there was just so many gallons of water and that all of it was "spoken" for. In other words, if more gallons were stored and removed from the downstream access there would be shortages for the folks (wineries) who were dependant on it. That is a simple explanation for a complex and ugly problem facing most of the western states. It is the primary reason why growth is limited, there just isn't enough water to go around. Now we are seeing lots of discussion about desalinization - I'm pretty sure there is enough water in the Pacific Ocean - the crazies however are worried about salt discharges, so who knows how long that crap will delay sensible solutions to real problems.
Jim

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Thanks for the reply Jim. I guess its fish squeezers vs. grape squeezers.

Russ


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