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Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
#532403 03/18/21 11:03 AM
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It's the rainy season here and every spring I see my pond get a good flushing or two (or three depending). I always wonder what my excessive watershed is doing to the water quality. I know it will silt in faster and the seasonal rapid water input certainly muddies it up.

I did a quick estimate on the current water outflow and surmised that the amount of water in the 1/4 acre pond (approx 1/2 million gallons) can come out the drain pipe in about 6 hours. I know that it is not a one-to-one exchange, but I would bet that over the coarse of a few toad strangling days that the small BOW is left with very little of the original water.

I have never witnessed a fish kill from this and have tested the incoming rain water, pond water, and outflow for DO during these heavy rain events to find it all to be around 6 ppm. 6 ppm is better than the DO levels are during normal times.

At times,I am very grateful for the throughput because my pond's surface can get rather scummy and a good rain with some outflow can bring the surface back to a shimmer.

I don't expect to be able to do anything about the watershed, but am curious to learn the cons of such events and if there are any pros?

At times,I am very grateful for the throughput because my pond's surface can get rather scummy and a good rain with some outflow can bring the surface back to a shimmer.

I'm open for discussions...


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532405 03/18/21 11:27 AM
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If you can build a settlement pond above your main pond that you can get in and clean out during late summer you could minimize the sediment entering your pond. It could also be used to raise some forage for your pond

Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532412 03/18/21 12:40 PM
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The only "pro" I can think of, is using the extra water to give you more flexibility in managing the pond.

However, to utilize the extra water you probably need to increase the freeboard on your dam significantly above the normal pool level.

You could hold an extra 3' of depth after a heavy rain in July to get through a brutal August. You could flood the grass around the pond during the spawning season for your baitfish. After the fry mature, draw it down to feed the gamefish.

I doubt the benefits would exceed the expense, unless you had lots of extra dirt to spoil. In which case, building up the dam might be the best place to put it.

Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532460 03/19/21 07:33 AM
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CB, the older version of this 1/4 acre pond had a sediment pond before the redo, but it had washed out many, many years prior. Best I can tell, my pond has a 20+ acre watershed that would suit a 2 acre pond. Aside from not wanting to afford another pond build at this time, a sediment pond of equal size (1/4 acre) would still not solve any throughput problems...at least not noticeable.

Rod, The dam of this little pond has 2 foot of freeboard, but has no way of holding back extra water. The drain pipe is a 15 inch pipe through the dam. The water level raised over the pipe this last weekend enough to cover the inlet entirely. My fear would be that if I could hold extra water back and another unexpected rain would come it would then flow over the emergency spillway...not good IMO. Besides that, the pond is built in a steep walled ravine and has little to no room to spread out. The main purpose of this pond is to act as a catch basin that keeps my front yard from flash flooding. It does a great job at that...putting fish in it is just like making lemon-aid when given lemons. I have only seen it go over the dam once in 9 years and that was before renovation and the added freeboard. Prior to renovation, it was not uncommon to have 6 inches of water (20 feet wide) between the house and the shop during flash flood season. The most I have seen the pond drop below full pool is about 10 inches. It holds its water very well.

The pros that I have noodled in my head which could be good or bad, depending, are...

1.) Springtime refreshing of the water in the BOW.
2.) It could carry excess smaller fish out should the pond have overpopulation problems (which is currently the opposite with respect to forage).
3.) The large amounts of watershed water that flows in has very little time to drop-out and is bound to carry some nutrients out with it. This relates with item #1 really...I'm just struggling to come up with more possible pros. The pond has struggled with heavy blooms for the last couple years.

cons...

1.) Increased silting.
2.) Possible drastic temperature/chemistry change that could cause fish stress/kill.
3.) Higher chance of emergency overflow use.

So far, when the high volumes of water come in (early spring mostly), the pond temps are very close to the rain water temps and a temp change is minimal.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532461 03/19/21 07:43 AM
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Is your emergency spillway in virgin soil and have grass cover? If so, and if not too steep, it should handle occasional use. I have a 15" drain on my 1+ acre pond with over 20 acres of watershed, but I have at least 5' of freeboard on the dam, but less than 2' to the emergency spillway. One advantage for me is that the 15' main pipe drops a great deal so the pipe carries a lot of water once full. I lose fish during flooding, but that does not really worry me. Never seen any dead fish after flooding, and my emergent plants and water lilies seem to be able to keep the algae at bay except for some short periods of time.

Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532462 03/19/21 07:59 AM
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The emergency overflow is grass covered with taller field grasses that grow in a shallow layer of topsoil, and beneath that is clay and rock. It is not near as steep as the back side of the dam. The dam is about 30 to 40 feet thick at the full pool water level and the e. overflow is closer to 60 foot thick. The e.overflow can easily be mowed in any direction with a zero-turn, but only gets mowed once a year. I'd say it has a very strong chance of withstanding occasional use.

RAH, it sounds like we have a similar thing going on, except my near complete lack of vegetation...I'm still working on that. Thanks for joining the thread!


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532463 03/19/21 08:04 AM
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QA,

You've covered everything I could think of. I think the water replacement piece may be the biggest benefit as it can carry nutrients out of the pond allowing you feed more if you think you have been feeding lean. To get the most for reducing nutrient loads, aeration during flows would probably maximize nutrients in the outflow, particularly with warm rains in cool months..

Last edited by jpsdad; 03/19/21 09:14 AM.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532470 03/19/21 10:09 AM
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I have often thought about turning on the aeration system during these times, but have not. I am unsure of the ramifications. These large rain events typically happen before I start the system in the spring, or after air shut down in the fall.

Water temps last week were 43° F at the bottom and 46 at the top. I can't say what the DO levels throughout the column were. I'd hate to turn on the air a make things worse. It's hard telling what to do and my safest conclusion is to do nothing.

I am open for insights regarding using the aeration system as a flush aid if anyone has any "dos and don'ts".


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532472 03/19/21 11:15 AM
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My sense is that cooler temperatures are a time where restarting aeration can be done with lowest risk. The water saturates at higher levels of DO and the oxygen needs of fish and other biota is subdued. I think most do not aerate in cooler temps because they don't need any more DO.

One question speaks to me.

Where are the fish? If they are near bottom in the deepest water, what are the risks of mixing the water?


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532473 03/19/21 11:22 AM
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Quarter my comment on the settlement pond wasn't necessarily dealing with the flow through issue. But to suggest a way to drop out the heaviest of sediment. A pump with a long pipe on the discharge could be used to stir up any muck in the deepest part of the pond during a flow through event. That would help keep your pond from filling in. That's what I do during a flow through event. It is much easier to remove the heaviest sediment from a small pond that either dries up or can be drained into the larger pond.

Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532474 03/19/21 11:37 AM
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How about a sediment pond with 2 over flow pipes with valves. One going into your pond and one bypassing it. You could use the valves to control how much water went where?


Bob


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Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532477 03/19/21 12:14 PM
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My biggest fear from your situation would be the loss of fish and fry, I have stood and watched as my pond over flowed over the concrete inlet box and seen just thousands of baby fry wash over the edge and down the pipe. Let me tell you its not a pretty sight to see a grown man cry loud sobbing tears, realizing I have invested nearly ten grand in stocking fish, just another good dab Wednesday when I added a bunch of Walleye and Yellow Perch.
On another note, I did see some crawfish from your breeding stock most likely, so they made it, survived the winter and are ready to go forth and proliferate. Thanks Again!!


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532480 03/19/21 12:28 PM
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Jake, I'm glad to hear your seeing the crawdads. I'm happy they went to a good home!

I just added some 1/2" mesh to my drain guard. This should help keep my YOY in the pond once they get some size to them.

[Linked Image from forums.pondboss.com]

Now, I just need to keep an eye on it so the springtime brambles that get washed into the pond don't clog it up and test my emergency overflow.

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Drain Guard.jpg (67.44 KB, 147 downloads)
Last edited by Quarter Acre; 03/19/21 12:29 PM.

Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Bobbss #532481 03/19/21 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobbss
How about a sediment pond with 2 over flow pipes with valves. One going into your pond and one bypassing it. You could use the valves to control how much water went where?

What I'd really like is a 2 acre pond above this one with a variable valved output and, then, a sediment/forage pond above that one...and...and...and then to retire early and manage it all.

I like the idea Bob! There is an area up the ravine that could be dirt worked to reroute half or better of the water shed away from the pond, but that's not in the budget just yet. Not to mention the temptation to build another pond with that rerouted water would be, well, tempting to say the least.


Fish on!,
Noel
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532488 03/19/21 04:30 PM
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QA any chance you could post an aerial view? Theres not much better than telling someone else how they should spend their money lol.


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
1 member likes this: gehajake
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532490 03/19/21 05:10 PM
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I love the screen idea but it scares me a little, afraid it would clog up in a big rain event and create other problems, I have about 4 ft of free board with an emergency spillway but I also have over a hundred acres of watershed and we had a record rainfall for a 24 hr period Tuesday, but luckily not near as much in Randolph county where the pond is at.
Like Stringer said, there's a lot of good money spending ideas to be had on this forum,, all free advice too, that's the good part about it!!


All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.
Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532498 03/19/21 08:37 PM
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Sorry, hard to come up with ideas that don't cost money. Lol!


Bob


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Re: Excessive Watershed - What should I Know?
Quarter Acre #532503 03/20/21 05:25 AM
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That screen would clog up really fast on any of my ponds or wetlands. I would suggest a lot more surface area is needed with even 1"x2" mesh. Either a long cylinder of wire or a wire-covered box. Even just the drain guards can clog.


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