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Pondering a pond site
#534005 04/17/21 04:23 PM
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Hi all. I'm new and I was thinking it would be helpful and fun to co-speculate on where I could put a pond or 2 or 3.

It's been my dream to someday have a 3 to 4 acre swimming and fishing pond with a beach area, a half acre garden pond with goldfish and if I can get government funding an experimental .5 to .75 acre pond Sepp Holzer style plus some of my own alterations to see if I could create a micro climate capable of growing some fruit trees in a zone or 2 above my usda zone

I just baught 80 forested acres of hills and ravines and creeks in Michigan. I haven't actually seen the land yet but will around the end of May. So right now there are a lot of unknowns like the quality and flow of the creeks. I'm not sure if any of them are seasonal. The soil map shows the area as Alfisols which I understand as having a lot of clay so hopefully I wouldn't have to bring in much but again I haven't confirmed it.

I don't think there is anywhere I could put a 4 acre pond especially with a beach so I'll take what I can get but bigger is better. Depending on the quality of the water in the center creek I might be able to put a dam up and creat an acre+ swimming hole and level the bottom of the hill on the east side of the pond to create a beach. I think I can fit a half acre pond on top of the center plateau but would like others input. I realize I'd have to dish the plateau to direct water into the pond.

Here are the maps and some of my ideas. Really interested in hearing other ideas or comments.
The green is just where I marked the larger plateaus.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by Rebecca; 04/17/21 04:26 PM.

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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534008 04/17/21 06:11 PM
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Welcome, Rebecca.

I've got two small (1/2 & 2/3 acre) ponds instead of one big, and I wouldn't trade. Multiple small ponds allow multiple fishing options and are (IMHO) easier to manage.

Unless you had your heart set on swimming the length of a 4 acre pond, I think you can be happy.


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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534010 04/17/21 07:02 PM
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Thanks Theo.

You may have a point there. My thinking is that I may have a lot of swimmers and that the water would stay cleaner if it was bigger. But with the creeks flowing through it size probably wont matter. The location on to of the hill would be just run off and I'm not sure what bioload that would handle.

The north pond site doesn't look like it would be a good location for a beach though I think it would make the biggest pond. So I'm leaning towards the other 2 creek locations as well as a pond on one of those plateaus if it will fit. I don't know how far from the edge it needs to be.


All advice should be regarded as being pulled out of my @$$ or as second @$$ knowledge. Reader responsible for confirming.
Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534017 04/17/21 09:57 PM
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Rebecca,

Welcome to Pond Boss - and the ideas in your post sure look like a good "dream" for your land.

The size of an embankment pond in a ravine or draw also needs to match the amount of run-off expected from the watershed upstream of your dam location.

Most of Michigan only needs 3-5 acres of watershed per surface acre of pond. I can't see what the topography looks like to the east of your land, but your problem should be too much water rather than too little. (Those of us that live in drier areas would love to have that problem.) Too much water just requires some additional spending during the construction phase to build larger spillway structures and increase the height of the dam above your normal pool level.

Generally speaking, a taller dam with a shorter length is cheaper to build. That is why most dams are built in the narrowest section of their respective waterways. It looks like you could move the dam for your north pond 200-300 hundred feet to the east to better utilize the side slopes of those two plateaus. The pond will then have two "coves" to the east (depending on the height of your dam). Some people like that look.

Another option to keep your water cleaner, is to create a series of ponds in the same draw. The uppermost pond will somewhat serve as a settling pond for all of the silt that washes in during big rain events. It can also provide an emergency source of water to your lower pond during a drought. A gravity feed pipe is cheap and easy.

If you like that concept, you might consider moving your southernmost pond to the east of one of your larger ponds. In addition to allowing cleaner water to the lower pond, it can also help with flood control for your largest dam. Any extra freeboard on the "upper" pond helps retain some floodwater that would be going into the "lower" pond.

Finally, I think you could easily create a 4-acre pond at your middle location. Just increase the dam height to the elevation that will create a 4-acre pond WITHOUT impounding water on your neighbor's property. You need to include the flood stage elevation such that it also stays on your property, but it looks to my eye that you might just have enough room.

However, I agree with Theo that more, smaller ponds might be a more enjoyable option. I don't think swimmers could significantly muddy a pond as small as 0.5 acres. Just make some 10-12 foot deep water for the swimmers adjacent to a shallower area for the kids and non-swimmers.

Good luck on your project and have fun planning your dream!

P.S. What is the contour interval on your map?

Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534021 04/17/21 10:46 PM
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Welcome to the forum! I would try to plan a way to divert the creek around the pond, just because anything that is in the creek will end up in the pond. That includes silt and sediment that ends up in the creek during high water events, which will then settle out in your pond and shorten the life of the pond considerably.


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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534032 04/18/21 02:20 AM
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FishinRod I really like the idea about stacking ponds to get cleaner water. one question though, how do you manage the sediment buildup in the top pond? Some great things to chew on in your post, thanks

I think I will keep the ponds on the smaller side partly because I'm not a millionaire and I think a big dam would be expensive.

The contour interval at that distance was 40 ft. It's google maps and that was zoomed in to z=15

esshup I'm not sure how I'd go about diverting the creeks with such big hills. I think I could get the lower branch of the central creek to divert to the southern creek but not shur how I would do it with the other branch. But yes that is a concern of mine. Once I get there I'll have a closer look and see how feasible it looks.

Here you can see more of the surrounding terrain

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Last edited by Rebecca; 04/18/21 02:25 AM.

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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534042 04/18/21 07:11 AM
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I would re think the half acre goldfish pond.

It seldom works to have a single species pond. Why? The balance of nature. Every predator needs prey and every prey needs a predator to eliminate over spawning leading to an oxygen shortage resulting in a messy fish kill. It would be tough to manage and maintain a single species environment.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534055 04/18/21 11:00 AM
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I would rather plan out a well balanced goldfish pond rather than rethinking a goldfish pond all together. Just because its a goldfish pond doesn't mean I can't add other fish. But eaven if I didn't add a predator fish I'm sure they would still come in contact with lots of predators out there. I had considered the over population issue and figured that by not protecting them I woul get some of that balance and if it's not enough then adding some other fish sounds easy enough. I was also considering selling some occasionally

Last edited by Rebecca; 04/18/21 11:04 AM.

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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534057 04/18/21 03:16 PM
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"I really like the idea about stacking ponds to get cleaner water. one question though, how do you manage the sediment buildup in the top pond?"

Essentially all ponds start collecting sediment and/or organic matter from Day 1. An upstream settling pond allows you to have some control of where the sediment infilling occurs.

The biggest advantage is that it will be much easier to muck out a small pond with an excavator every 10(?) years, than it is to clean out your large pond.

Of course, the upper pond can be multi-use for anything else you would like in your plans.

It looks like the land to the east of your property transitions to grassland. It that is true, then you should have relatively clean surface run-off water to fill your ponds.

Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534058 04/18/21 03:25 PM
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"I think I will keep the ponds on the smaller side partly because I'm not a millionaire and I think a big dam would be expensive."

Depending on the topography of the land, you might pile up 1/10th of the dirt to impound X surface acres of water, compared to excavating the same size of pond in flat terrain. (Lots of dirt work is priced on the cubic yards of dirt moved.)

Of course, it is not that simple - you don't "pile up" dirt to make a dam. You do have to properly construct a core trench which adds to the expense.

However, the principle remains the same for a 4-acre pond or a 0.4 acre pond. Building an embankment pond with a dam located in the narrowest spot between the plateau slopes should be LESS expensive for the acre-feet of impounded water relative to digging out a pond.

Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534068 04/18/21 08:29 PM
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Ok thanks for clearing that all up. The lower western 40ac looks on the map like they weren't using it at the time of the image or used for livestock.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534069 04/18/21 08:37 PM
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Sigh, just found out that unfortunately down river from my creeks looks like this which makes me thing that my creeks look like this too

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534075 04/18/21 11:30 PM
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That's sediment for you! I'd plan on mucking out the sediment trap pond even sooner than on a 10 year schedule, take depth readings and when it fills in 50%, clean it out.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534079 04/18/21 11:56 PM
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With how suspended it is I'm wondering if a sediment trap pond would even be enough. If the surrounding soil is so prone to releasing sediment then would diverting the creek or building on the plateau and relying on rain water runoff evan help?


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Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534119 04/19/21 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Rebecca
With how suspended it is I'm wondering if a sediment trap pond would even be enough. If the surrounding soil is so prone to releasing sediment then would diverting the creek or building on the plateau and relying on rain water runoff evan help?

That's why you need a good thick bed of plants growing on the land surrounding the pond.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534123 04/19/21 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Rebecca
Sigh, just found out that unfortunately down river from my creeks looks like this which makes me thing that my creeks look like this too

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Do not lose faith!

A lot of the sediment in that creek is presumably due to recently plowed fields, current construction jobs, erosion around the steep slopes of highway bridges, etc.

Healthy plants in your watershed will keep your pond clean. You will be in control of the land to your east property line. The slope on your neighbor's property looks pretty gentle - therefore even if he has cattle or other land usage that leads to some erosion, that should only send really silty water your way during very hard rains.

Further, it looks like any water that crosses the dirt road on his land probably drains to the EAST, rather than towards your property.

Finally, topo maps and satellite views are very helpful, but there is no replacement for "boots on the ground". Keep an eye on the weather radar over your new property. Go out and hike your three streams within a few hours of the storms passing. Check out your water quality for yourself.

I suspect you will find nice clean water running through AT LEAST ONE of your streams, and hopefully more.

Good luck on your project!

Re: Pondering a pond site
Rebecca #534126 04/19/21 06:51 PM
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Thanks guys, I feel a little better. Can't wait to explore end of May. I'm not in the area quite yet but soon!

Last edited by Rebecca; 04/19/21 08:10 PM.

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