Been debating if I "need" another pond. One more thing to chase geese away from, more to mow, yada, yada, yada. I needed some dirt to raise the level on my old pond so I used a ravine to get some good clay. Well that pretty well destroyed it for any other use............... so why not build a pond?
Pictures below of the start of construction. This was actually done several days ago (internet has been out here). I'm a lot further along than these pictures but will get some more tomorrow.
The plan is to create a RES only pond. Will be stocking only FHM and RES. If they over populate two or three years down the road, will consider a predator at that point. Maybe some HSB. Or if I could find a commercial source for fingerlings some spotted bass. But that will be later only if needed.
Thought I would shoot for about a half acre to maybe up to an acre. After laying it out with the laser level and flagging the water line where I could make maximum use of the ravine, I think it will be closer to 1.5 acres. Which means a lot more dirt to move than I originally anticipated. Since all my help is out actually making a living harvesting soybeans, it will all be up to me to get it completed.
Pictures below of the beginning showing building the core of the dam.
Seining would be difficult. 9' depth in several places and numerous underwater humps coming up to within 3 feet of the surface. My main pond I put a LOT of man made structure. Knowing I would not have the time to do that for this pond this late in the season I instead made it look like a motocross track on the bottom. Has a tremendous amount of interior shore line that way.
Don't know the dimensions. Just estimating the size based on the 1 acre old pond that sits adjacent to it. This one is significantly bigger.
One thing about HSB is whatever a person puts in that is what they end up with. No reproduction at least.
So far my little 1/20th acre forage pond with RES only has not stunted but it is only a couple years old. Also it is small enough I can and do pull out a lot of fingerlings via minnow traps. Caught a couple 10" ones by hook and line. Not bad for a tiny two year old pond.
Current idea is there will only be predators as needed. Preferably none. So if I do eventually need a predator to control recruitment of the RES it will be viewed mostly as a trash fish to reach a resolution, not managed for the benefit of the predator.
Sometimes my plans change though.
I have been enjoying the build. About 2 days from finishing. Installed overflow pipe yesterday. Will get some more pictures today.
Your RES should do a pretty good job on keeping YOY in check so long as there is not a lot of cover for YOY to hide in. Even 3" RES like eating newly hatched YOY fry. One of these days I will post about about my aquarium and how quickly three small RES consumed most of my one week old bristlenose pleco fry when the RES were introduced.
From what I have read here on PBF over the last few years it seems RES are not excessively prone to overpopulation like BG or GSF. That said I likely will still have to remain vigilant of the potential.
Thanks for that comment. I was just considering what to put in for cover. I'm going to run out of time to do anything in short order but I may try to put a couple of cribs in made out of old hedge posts. Kind of like the cribs made out of 2x3's Ewest linked to the other day but I have a whole pile of hedge (osage orange) posts that were taken out of fence lines from this place that will last multiple times longer and have a much better surface than what cut boards would have. But maybe it is best my time is limited so not too much artificial structure will be introduced.
This pond has been a piece of cake compared to my big pond. The clay foundation was within a foot of the surface where the dam went so no 6' deep trench to dig like I had to do on the big pond for the core. Wide open area so no moving dirt around more than needed. Excellent material to work with for the dam at the proper moisture level for easy, good compaction. Not putting a "bench" in like in my big pond so about a third less material needed relatively for the dam. Only tall part of the dam is the east side and the wrap around on north and south very slight due to the existing ravine. All in all an easy build this time.
Here are some pictures of the bowl area of the pond. I said earlier that it would be shaped like a motocross track and after it settles down with some weather it would actually work for one. Except for the fact it will be filled with water.
Descriptions with pictures.
Did I compact the basin? No. Unless we run into sandstone outcrops, coal seams, shale seams, or gravel beds from an ancient stream bed we simply do not have problems with ponds not holding water. Compaction will make them hold tighter, but compacting the bottom would not let me have the underwater structure diversity you see in these pictures. The clay pan soils we have in this area are a blessing for making ponds and a curse for our farming operation. Very little water soaks down, it has to evaporate away (something like a few one hundredths of an inch per hour water percolation in our subsoil). So a wet spring for us is a real problem. And it happens regularly.
Plus by not having to compact allows me to "cheat" on the depth. An explanation is in order. The scraper is the best tool to move the clay from the bowl to the dam. It serves dual purpose by not only moving the dirt but also compacting the dam in the process (with additional compaction only passes). The problem with a scraper is that it takes some distance to "load". Once I get to about a 6' depth in that size pond it gets hard to get a full load on a single pass for two reasons. The clay moisture increases so the tractors tires are on "greasy" footing so not as good for traction. And half the distance is now trying to load up hill, which is much less efficient. By putting these "underwater humps" out in the middle it allows me to use the scraper to move most of the dirt down to about a 6 or 7 foot depth, then as the dozer creates the humps I can create deep pockets with it. Where you see the water in the pictures most of these areas are about 9' deep with one hole at 10'. That is what I meant by cheating. It allows me to get the bulk of the material out with the scraper, then dig some deep holes with a short push of the dozer. The loose clay humps will eventually settle down a foot or so from their current height.
Edit: Warning! This only works with soils/clays that seal themselves well. Most people likely do not want to go without compacting the bowl of their pond because there is a good chance they will end up with a leaking pond. It could even happen to me here if there happens to be a gravel bed just below where I am digging and I do not discover it. So pond builder beware. I am taking a calculated risk that other potential pond owners might not want to take for fear of having a pond that will not hold water. I am not a professional pond building contractor. I'm a retired farmer with too much time on my hands. Do as I say, not as I do! If I screw it up, I'm the one that has to fix it!
There has been a lot of talk over the years of getting proper compaction and that a dozer does not really work that well as a compaction device. I have a picture below that shows the difference between compacting with a dozer and a filled 12 yard rubber tire scraper.
I had made a few passes with the dozer on the top of the dam to level things up a bit and finish working for the day. This was a layer of fresh clay leveled and run over with the dozer. The next morning on the first scraper load across the top of the dam to start packing in the clay deposited earlier. I noticed the track left and decided to take a picture so I could show the difference between the compaction of the dozer and the scraper.
That is the first picture. The second picture shows another factor that comes into play during compaction. A round rubber tire will find the voids and pack them down. A dozer by its nature will compact only the peaks and will bridge over the valleys, not compacting them properly. This is shown in the second picture.
I wish you traveled with your equipment, we'd have a blast out on my farm!
Looking good amigo, keep posting pics. Love your RES fishery project - Steve's right, SMB might be a good predator to help population management, but your KSB sound interesting too. HSB too would do the trick. I like your plan of wait and see.
Will you be feeding your RES? I've not had luck getting them trained on Optimal, but many others have. All too common theme in my fishery annals...but I digress.
If you need SMB, you're due for a visit, anyhow.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau
One thing I have both read about and noticed from personal observation is how easy it is for tiny fish to swim upstream or get flushed downstream in the shallowest of water during big rain events. I have seen inch long BG swimming around in inch deep water overflowing from my pre-sediment pond to my sediment pond. I've seen hundreds of small fish flow out my emergency overflow in the big pond during a big rain event.
One concern I have with this new pond is that my old pond is adjacent to it only maybe 150 feet south and share the same water shed. The old pond has both GSF and BH, neither of which I want in this pond and either of which would totally screw up my plans. Especially if they got in the pond early before the RES are established. Not quite as big of deal if it happened a few years down the road when the RES had filled the pond to capacity. But it would definitely change my need for having a predator fish in the pond.
With that in mind I ran a diversion finger or type of terrace up the hill a couple feed in elevation. It should divide the water far enough up the hill that only the very largest of rains might provide deep enough water for fish to swim up and get around the finger. I suspect some day they will, but I hope to put that day off as long as possible.
Pictures below of the ponds proximity and the diversion finger extending into the field.
Edit: Now that I write this post and think about the problems BH and GSF would cause for my "plan", I think I will get on the dozer this morning and extend a double channel terrace a lot further out into the field. Better safe than sorry.
Pics of the overflow tube installation. The clods at the inlet and outlet are only on the outer foot or so. The rest of the tube is well compacted.
I tried something different for anti-seep collars. Dug a foot or so below the pipe, stacked up dirt around it to make a form, put premix concrete dry so it would be at least 6" all around the pipe, covered it and compacted. We have set posts before with dry concrete and it sets up fine. Probably not an approved way of creating an anti-seep, but will see if it fails. Did four collars total. I have read mixed reviews in some publications in the past and some do not even use anti seep collars. The clay was a good moisture content to get good compaction around the tube. Took 4-14' sections of 8" sewer pipe.
Compaction was done with a TLB with the loader bucket loaded then the front tires used as a rubber tire compactor. Run down each side and over the top multiple times in layers. The clay seemed to work down good.
After everything settles in over the winter, next summer I will form up the inlet and outlet and cover the ends with concrete to protect them from the sun and mowers.
Finishing up. While the rubber tire scraper makes a good compaction device, it does not leave the surface level. The dozer tracks make a good final leveling and working device. They mash down the high spots and the grousers slightly work the soil surface.
When going over center on top of the dam, the added pressure of only about the middle half of the tracks making contact compress the edges of the dam and make a nice rounded finish.
I will leave this surface rough just as it appears in the pictures till next spring or summer. I may get a little erosion, depending on the rain we get over winter, but the grouser marks will help minimize it. The clay right now works about like Play Dough. Any attempt to work it with a disc or box blade and it just ends up a chunky nasty mess. So I will let mother nature do my work for me and the weathering process will make the top inch or two work very nicely by next summer.
Then I will box blade and harrow the surface and prepare it for seeding. Hopefully will get some lime on both the dam and in the pond sometime this winter.
I'm done with the pond construction process for now. Building a couple terraces in the adjacent field to direct water to it, but the pond itself is DONE and ready for rain to fill it.