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Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
#504413 04/16/19 06:16 AM
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Kris B Offline OP
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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.

OBJECTIVES:
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)

COMPLETED WORK:
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).

UPCOMING WORK:
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!)

QUESTIONS
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

Attached Files
USDA Report Pg1.PNG (154.09 KB, 127 downloads)
USDA Soil Report Pg. 1
USDA Report Pg2.PNG (139.16 KB, 84 downloads)
USDA Report Pg2
Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 07:21 AM.

Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #504415 04/16/19 06:23 AM
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2017 - Initial State

Attached Files
Fishing 1.jpg (1.26 MB, 664 downloads)
Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 06:46 AM.

Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #514445 11/29/19 06:31 AM
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2018-2019 - Pumping it "Dry"

Starting to Pump - Late September 2018
http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.ph...mpDischarge.PNG

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

Attached Files
2018-09 Initial Pumping.jpg (120.55 KB, 681 downloads)
2018-10 Pumpdown Feeding Frenzy.jpg (672.33 KB, 641 downloads)
2019-02 Grass Infestation.jpg (579 KB, 652 downloads)
Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 06:39 AM. Reason: Images

Kris

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

Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 06:55 AM. Reason: Images

Kris

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

Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 07:07 AM.

Kris

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

Last edited by Kris B; 11/29/19 07:22 AM.

Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #514571 12/03/19 10:51 AM
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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?

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #514580 12/03/19 12:39 PM
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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
Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
LaBassmaster #514678 12/06/19 03:09 AM
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@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.


Kris

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

Attached Files
Pond - Jan 202 with Ryegrass.PNG (1.81 MB, 471 downloads)
Splashing Around.PNG (1.02 MB, 433 downloads)
Boat Launch.PNG (951.34 KB, 427 downloads)
First Boat Ride.PNG (1.57 MB, 425 downloads)
Last edited by Kris B; 01/21/20 08:24 PM.

Kris

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


Life


Jar Test after 48hr, Unchanged in Light or Dark


Soil Test from LSU Ag School


Water Quality Test Kit

Attached Files
Water Well Drilling (1953 Rig).PNG (866.14 KB, 422 downloads)
Water Well Flushing.PNG (1.71 MB, 435 downloads)
Jar Test - Before.PNG (254.11 KB, 60 downloads)
Jar Test - After 48hr (Dark & Light).PNG (176.4 KB, 416 downloads)
Soil Tests.PNG (183.5 KB, 419 downloads)
Water Quality Test.jpg (1.28 MB, 413 downloads)
Last edited by Kris B; 01/21/20 08:38 PM.

Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #517734 03/08/20 12:52 PM
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Stocked Pond with 1500 HBG and 2000 FHM from Shepherd's Acadiana Fish Hatchery in Maurice, LA
Came back two weeks later to pick up 100 RES which were unavailable during my first visit
[Linked Image]

Water Chemistry before Liming: pH 6, Alkalinity 20, Hardness 50
[Linked Image]

Water chemistry a few days after 30lb hydrated lime followed by 5 tons of Ag Lime (CCE 0.94): pH 7.7, Alkalinity ~110, Hardness ~90
[Linked Image]

Spreading 5 tons by hand was a real chore!
[Linked Image]


Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #517736 03/08/20 01:49 PM
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Hydrated lime can cause skin burns of worse if you get it in your eyes. Hope that the little girl is OK.

https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/14/14d65f38-87f2-4bb4-8347-72bf136ae5b9.pdf?cm_mmc=seo%7Caltruik%7C202329616


Last edited by RAH; 03/08/20 01:52 PM.
Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
RAH #517737 03/08/20 02:07 PM
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She's sitting on about 200lb of ag lime, not 30lb of hydrated lime!! eek

I blended the hydrated lime with water (one hand trowel scoop to 4-5gal water) and dispersed throughout the pond a few days prior to that photo to give a quick lift of the pH (brought it from 6 to about 7.8 in a few hours). Wore appropriate protective gear including hip waders, long rubber gloves, glasses.

Was a little nervous about a fish kill which is why I didn't use the whole 50lb bag, but they seemed to have managed. Haven't seen much fish activity yet, but zero dead fish noted since I stocked them 2 weeks ago!


Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #517748 03/09/20 05:43 AM
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Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #517752 03/09/20 09:42 AM
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Kris, how did your water test show zero hardness but later it showed hardness 50 and hardness 90? Is the hardness 50 and 90 from the pond and the first test come from your well? You are lucky to have no hardness in your well water. Woudl you still need a water softener?

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #518101 03/18/20 10:36 AM
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canyoncreek, the pond has filled almost solely with rainwater. I take the initial zero reading on hardness of the pond water to be a consequence of of that fact, and possibly a consequence of an inaccurate test (and possibly I didn't take a deep enough water sample after recent rainfall). I'm only using the water well for the pond, so softening water isn't a concern for me.


Kris

Re: Pond Renovation Questions in S. Louisiana
Kris B #518102 03/18/20 10:51 AM
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My neighbor, who lives across the street and on the river, thinks that the pond may be leaking underground about 150-200ft into his backyard which slopes downhill all the way to the river. I'm skeptical, especially since the wetness didn't go away when the pond was empty. We've also compared evaporation rate of a plastic bucket to the loss rate in the pond, and found them both to be about 1/16" per day. At any rate, he offered to buy a polymer pond sealant product called Dam It, so we gave it a shot a couple of days ago. Sprinkled a lightweight powder all over the surface and then attempted to water it in. It turned into some lovely slime as soon as it got weight (including on the sweat on my forehead!). The rain which came that night was much more effective at hydrating and sinking it.
[Linked Image]

Whether or not it stops any leaks, it did a nice job of clearing up the water, bringing secchi visibility from 2in to 6in overnight.
[Linked Image]

Got a sample of Alum and put a couple pinches in a jar, had great results. I'll need to get some of this stuff a little further down the road.
[Linked Image]


Kris


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