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So here I am, needing to make a decision, a big one. I'm going to be moving to a new state, Texas, have wanted water in my "retirement home" since I was young, though I don't really fish anymore, and just got back from a trip to TX thinking that I have found the property everyone in the family loves, but am now second guessing the pond.

This property is on 2.15 acres and my jerky video skills in the beginning shows the house which may help with perspective of the size of the pond. If I were to guess, it's probably 1/3 of an acre (complete guess).

I've only done a little reading on pond care, construction,etc. but now it's time to dig in quickly because houses in this market sell fast so I need to make a decision.

The video probably doesn't tell you much, but for you pond pros, maybe it tells you something and I'd really appreciate hearing what that is.

My concerns as a total noob and I'm going to ask the builder...

The trees in the pond, how did they get there? Will they eventually topple because the pond was put there afterwards so now high winds will cause a weakened root mass to fail? Will this cause the pond to drain?

The only end of the pond I could get to on the left side, since the property isn't cleared yet, seemed to be shallow. Shouldn't the pond have a well defined edge where the edge plunges at a high ratio?

Finally, where does it drain (I do know there's a drainage easement along the backside of the property, which is the back of the pond behind that very large tree).

There's probably more but this is becoming a book so I'm hoping a dialogue will start here for me to have more intelligent questions for the builder or perhaps, to have less concerns and just sign the contract. smile

Thanks in advance,

Bob

[video:youtube]
[/video]

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Savage,

It is difficult to tell from the video, but it looks like the pond is probably well above its normal pool elevation (water level). How much rain have you had lately in the area?

Many trees can survive wet roots for a limited amount of time. When the water level goes back down most will probably survive.

The other option is that it is not actually a "pond", but rather a shallow water retention/infiltration pond that Texas construction codes may require to offset the hardscaping of the adjacent housing developing.

I would recommend walking completely around the pond. You should be able to determine where the water comes into the pond and where it exits. Also are the banks newly constructed? (Like 1.5 years old if the housing development started 1.5 years ago.) Finally are they using dirt to raise the foundations of the new homes to a little bit above grade? If so, then that might be a "borrow pit" rather than a pond.

If it is not truly a pond, then it might degrade the value of the adjacent house, rather than enhancing it. If you are not confident in evaluating the situation yourself, do you have an "expert" buddy you could ask/pay? It would probably be well worth it considering the price of the property investment.

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Savage, welcome to Pond Boss!

F/Rod gives good advice on some questions that may be answered by whoever the builders are.

With the 'muddy' water, there'll be no way to tell how deep the pond may be from sight, but you may be able to take a john boat or float tube out and check depths.

If the 'pond' was built to handle run off during construction, I don't think it will be much more than a few feet deep. That can easily dry up in Texas summers.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Savage,

It is difficult to tell from the video, but it looks like the pond is probably well above its normal pool elevation (water level). How much rain have you had lately in the area?

Many trees can survive wet roots for a limited amount of time. When the water level goes back down most will probably survive.

The other option is that it is not actually a "pond", but rather a shallow water retention/infiltration pond that Texas construction codes may require to offset the hardscaping of the adjacent housing developing.

I would recommend walking completely around the pond. You should be able to determine where the water comes into the pond and where it exits. Also are the banks newly constructed? (Like 1.5 years old if the housing development started 1.5 years ago.) Finally are they using dirt to raise the foundations of the new homes to a little bit above grade? If so, then that might be a "borrow pit" rather than a pond.

If it is not truly a pond, then it might degrade the value of the adjacent house, rather than enhancing it. If you are not confident in evaluating the situation yourself, do you have an "expert" buddy you could ask/pay? It would probably be well worth it considering the price of the property investment.

Thank you SO MUCH for this! I've sent the info to my agent so we can get this figured out. I'll be bummed if it's indeed a a borrow pit or a shallow retention/infiltration pond because I really like this property, but I need an educated assessment so thanks again for the direction.

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Originally Posted by Sunil
Savage, welcome to Pond Boss!

F/Rod gives good advice on some questions that may be answered by whoever the builders are.

With the 'muddy' water, there'll be no way to tell how deep the pond may be from sight, but you may be able to take a john boat or float tube out and check depths.

If the 'pond' was built to handle run off during construction, I don't think it will be much more than a few feet deep. That can easily dry up in Texas summers.

Thank you Sunil.

So if this turns out it's a retention/infiltration pond, not deep and would/could dry up, would this potentially be a good start since it's already partially dug out for actually draining it and doing it proper? I'm not sure I'd be opposed to that, depending on what I'd spend.

Since we're just coming out of summer and there's this much water, it really has me wondering... Thank you for your advise.

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By the way, here are two more videos if they help. One is the pond and the other, please fast forward because it's a tour of the home I did for my family since I was the only one that traveled to TX. The pond view from the back porch is at the end.

[video:youtube]
[/video]

[video:youtube]
[/video]

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Originally Posted by Savage
Originally Posted by Sunil
Savage, welcome to Pond Boss!

F/Rod gives good advice on some questions that may be answered by whoever the builders are.

With the 'muddy' water, there'll be no way to tell how deep the pond may be from sight, but you may be able to take a john boat or float tube out and check depths.

If the 'pond' was built to handle run off during construction, I don't think it will be much more than a few feet deep. That can easily dry up in Texas summers.

Thank you Sunil.

So if this turns out it's a retention/infiltration pond, not deep and would/could dry up, would this potentially be a good start since it's already partially dug out for actually draining it and doing it proper? I'm not sure I'd be opposed to that, depending on what I'd spend.

Since we're just coming out of summer and there's this much water, it really has me wondering... Thank you for your advise.


I can't really give you a solid answer on if the pond is a 'good start' if it's truly is a retention pond for construction. As you may be aware, most any kind of retention pond is designed to accumulate, and then drain off, any water from run-off. So right from the start, it goes against what you would be looking for in an actual pond for recreation. I think the short answer is that it may not be a good start towards getting the pond that you want.

Many times, once a pond, for any purpose, is dug and filled, it makes things more difficult to do any remedial work that could be required to make things 'water-tight.', no pun intended!

Now, sometimes, excavations are made to create a base or pad for the construction of a structure. That could also be what this 'pond' is all about, but in that case, did the builder do the necessary steps to make it a permanent pond, or was the idea to put some kind of fill back in??


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
I can't really give you a solid answer on if the pond is a 'good start' if it's truly is a retention pond for construction. As you may be aware, most any kind of retention pond is designed to accumulate, and then drain off, any water from run-off. So right from the start, it goes against what you would be looking for in an actual pond for recreation. I think the short answer is that it may not be a good start towards getting the pond that you want.

Many times, once a pond, for any purpose, is dug and filled, it makes things more difficult to do any remedial work that could be required to make things 'water-tight.', no pun intended!

Now, sometimes, excavations are made to create a base or pad for the construction of a structure. That could also be what this 'pond' is all about, but in that case, did the builder do the necessary steps to make it a permanent pond, or was the idea to put some kind of fill back in??


Makes complete sense.

The lots do not look like anything but lot leveling has been done. That's to say, I don't believe they've done any excavating to build up any of these properties, but that's just my observation so I'll make sure with the builder.

Thanks again!

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Well, not much to go on but the builder says the pond is a "natural" pond and has been there for 20 years.

My agent said one thing that's done to control the size (outward expansion) of ponds is to burm around it. I kind of like that idea aesthetically as well as from the control of size. Is that good/bad?

She's going to ask if they know how deep it is, but I doubt they do so not sure how to figure that out.

Ugh... and of course, there are multiple potential buyers interested in the house. Of course, right???!!!

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"Well, not much to go on but the builder says the pond is a "natural" pond and has been there for 20 years."

-The live trees that seem to be 'in' the pond don't seem to back that up, however, as F/Rod suggested, maybe it's at high pool due to rain.


"My agent said one thing that's done to control the size (outward expansion) of ponds is to burm around it. I kind of like that idea aesthetically as well as from the control of size. Is that good/bad?"

- A burm can keep water out too, and if the pond is filled by run-off, then the burm/berm would stop that from happening.


With the water that muddy, the only way to know the depth is to go out on the water and test depth with a rope/string and a weight.

You may be able to call up some historical satellite maps and see what the pond was like over the years. Might give you some peace of mind.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
With the water that muddy, the only way to know the depth is to go out on the water and test depth with a rope/string and a weight.

You may be able to call up some historical satellite maps and see what the pond was like over the years. Might give you some peace of mind.

I was looking while you were typing. smile

I've found the pond in multiple satellite apps including google earth, maps, zoom earth, etc.

Looks like it's there in every picture, with some having no construction anywhere near the site. In every view, it's got lots of water.

So, I'm not sure what this means to me, but perhaps it means that a well placed burm, except for where the overflow would exist into the flood easement at the back of the property to allow overflow to head into that pathway, and some planning to clear up the water, etc., this could work out well?

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That's positive news that the pond was there before construction.

I'm not really following what you want to do with a burm/berm though. It may be just fine the way it it. With the view from your porch, I would think a berm would detract from that.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Savage, just curious, but what part of TX are you considering? NE Texas, Hill Country, etc.


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Originally Posted by Sunil
That's positive news that the pond was there before construction.

I'm not really following what you want to do with a burm/berm though. It may be just fine the way it it. With the view from your porch, I would think a berm would detract from that.

You're probably right that it may be fine as is.

So now I have a new bump in the road. I did an overlay with google earth and the plat map and it appears the pond is shared with two properties behind me. Ugh...

Originally Posted by FireIsHot
Savage, just curious, but what part of TX are you considering? NE Texas, Hill Country, etc.

Outside of Weatherford, so a bit west of Fort Worth.

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"So now I have a new bump in the road. I did an overlay with google earth and the plat map and it appears the pond is shared with two properties behind me. Ugh..."

That is a real and unpredictable issue. May never be a problem, but you have no way to know.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
"So now I have a new bump in the road. I did an overlay with google earth and the plat map and it appears the pond is shared with two properties behind me. Ugh..."

That is a real and unpredictable issue. May never be a problem, but you have no way to know.

Yes, did some searching on it and looks like it could be a nightmare... or not.

The upside is that the two lots that are adjacent are thin, deep 2 acre lots so it's at the very back of their lots, with trees along the back. The downside is as I understand it, if they decided to have weekend floatie parties and leave their beer cans all around their side, they could.

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I think the laws of shared ownership of bodies of water vary from state to state, but I think a common similarity is that if you land butts up to that body of water, you have usage of the entire body of water.

So, the pros or cons of that solely depend on the character of your current and potential future neighbors.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Sunil has given you lots of good advice.

At this point I would suggest making your realtor do a little extra work to "earn" that commission. Have them pull the plats and property description to fully delineate the ownership of the pond.

Also an innertube and a rope with a weight are a perfectly acceptable "low tech" means of estimating the depth of the pond.

Good luck!

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Sunil has given you lots of good advice.

At this point I would suggest making your realtor do a little extra work to "earn" that commission. Have them pull the plats and property description to fully delineate the ownership of the pond.

Also an innertube and a rope with a weight are a perfectly acceptable "low tech" means of estimating the depth of the pond.

Good luck!

Yes he has!

Agreed on the realtor and that's exactly what I asked her to do because while the plat that I used over the google earth image did lay over it very nicely with the roads aligning perfectly to the properties, perhaps it's not quite accurate which I'm hoping for because I really like this property.

LOL @ innertube and rope with weight. I have a friend who lives near this property and have already jokingly asked if he can bring a raft and a stick out there to do some measuring. smile

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Having neighbors own the other parts of the pond may result in those nice looking trees being cut down and you not having a say in the matter... Could you tell from the Google earth maps if the water is always stained? May just let you know whether you can expect clear water or murky over time... Sometimes that can be a result of the fish or wildlife in the pond... I had carp in my pond and it went from a pretty clear pond before carp to a very stained one, the muskrats also tend to make it more murky... But the drought took care of both of those problems, at least for now since the pond went dry... I imagine when the water refills the muskrats will return, but my irrigation water access has changed, so I don't expect the carp to return... Best of luck with your decision... J

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Originally Posted by SkunkedAgain
Having neighbors own the other parts of the pond may result in those nice looking trees being cut down and you not having a say in the matter... Could you tell from the Google earth maps if the water is always stained? May just let you know whether you can expect clear water or murky over time... Sometimes that can be a result of the fish or wildlife in the pond... I had carp in my pond and it went from a pretty clear pond before carp to a very stained one, the muskrats also tend to make it more murky... But the drought took care of both of those problems, at least for now since the pond went dry... I imagine when the water refills the muskrats will return, but my irrigation water access has changed, so I don't expect the carp to return... Best of luck with your decision... J

Exactly my thoughts on those trees. I'm reading about many nightmares with shared ponds and while that might not happen, the idea that it could is probably going to prevent me from buying this property if I'm right about it being shared, which I believe I am.

I'm attaching a couple pics from google earth and google maps.

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Pond - google earth-1.JPG (64.35 KB, 26 downloads)
Pond - google maps.JPG (25.05 KB, 157 downloads)
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The second pic shown below indicates that the water may not be muddy all the time.


[Linked Image]



The shared pond though is a real dilemma.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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Originally Posted by Sunil
The shared pond though is a real dilemma.

Agreed - I'm passing on the property if/when they tell me it's definitely shared.

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That would be best in my opinion, not to mention...I'm betting the "pond" is more shallow than you'd like just by looking a the images and knowing it's an old natural pond. I'd never want to share a BOW with neighbors. Everyone has grand ideas, or none at all. When it comes time to buck up to maintain it, even marginally, nobody has the money.


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Savage, welcome to the forum! You can go back in the historical images in Google Earth to see if the pond grows/shrinks in size. If there are bushes/trees in it, then the water is not very deep at all. If the pond is shared between other properties I would continue looking - any work you do to the pond could be completely undone by any neighbors that own part of the pond. i.e. managing fish, etc., etc.

With the pond being 1/3 acre it can't be very deep if you do the math in regards to the bottom of the pond slope. Plus the trees/bushes growing in it means that it isn't deep at all. Possibly too shallow for any sort of sustainable fishery.


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