Hello, I am interested in renovating an existing pond (now a marsh) on the highest point of our farm. We'd like to do this for irrigation during times of drought, as well as for recreation.
The soil types that are home to the existing pond area are conducive for a pond (SuA, Sun silt loam), and they extend beyond our property to a neighboring apple orchard. This SuA soil type sits in a natural basin that collects a lot of the water that I presume makes it's way to the pond site. However, the rest of the basin has different soil types that aren't great for retention (AmB, Amenia fine sandy loam).
Is there any good way that we could turn the entire basin into a lined pond, and fill it with a neighboring brook? We're legally allowed to pump 100K gallons of water a day from this brook. We could take more if we wanted to deal with the state.
My impression is that we would have to liner over the existing pond, despite it's ability to hold water. Otherwise, if we were to line only the portion that has leaky soils (AmB), the pressure of the higher level of water will cause the existing pond to act as a drain and water will seek equilibrium with the marsh on our neighbors farm.
I have attached a photo showing contours, soil types, and the proposed lined pond (filled in blue) and the existing marsh (outlined in blue).
The red line shows a contour roughly 3 feet above the level of the water in the marsh area. If we were to line the basin, it would follow this path. We would stop at our property line, but I showed where the contour line continues onto our neighboring land, for the sake of understanding the topography.
The soil map is slightly off, so envision the blue outlined marsh matching up with the yellow SuA soil type.
Liners work and are guaranteed for 20+ years, but are typically the most expensive option. High plasticity clay compacted in 4-6" lifts and use of sealing polymers also aid creating seals to impound water. I'm a volunteer here and my time is free to our forum family, feel free to reach out anytime for a chat. Happy to help however I can.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau
Hi FishinRod, Thanks so much for your reply. We are working with our Soil and Water Conservation district with this, and they haven't seen the site yet, but they are aware that it might not be feasible due to it's wetland status. I should have mentioned that in the comments. I was more interested in getting information to see about the design of the pond. Say we're allowed to improve it any way we want, would the liner over the wetland work, etc?
That said, say we aren't allowed to improve the wetland, would we be able to put an embankment up close to it and still utilize the basin in a similar fashion, but omit the wetland from the pond area?
Hi teehjaeh57, Thank you for the reply and volunteer efforts! Unfortunately we don't have much clay available around here, and the amount we would need would be extremely high. Then again, I am new to this world, so any suggestions for how to source the clay would be appreciated. Some friends have their house on the only deposit (about 6.5 acres) within several miles. I jokingly asked them if they'd be willing to sell some to us, while making a pond for them at the same time!
Glad to see you are working with the NRCS office. That is the best way to stay in compliance.
The marsh appears to be "up-slope" on your topo map. If that is correct, then something is "holding" the water in that location. I suspect you may have some clay in that area. If so, that gives you some options after you hear back on your wetlands determination.
Last year I went through the process of getting permits to build a 1-1/4 acre pond in NY. I think a lawyer would be better than the friendly NRCS folks. I am sure you know the NY website https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6222.html. There are basically 3 hurdles. 1. Is it a designated wetland? 2. Is it a "protected water?" There is a map on the NY website that shows all the wetlands and protected waters. Both of these require special permits that are coordinated by your regional DEC office. You probably know that the Region 7 permit coordinator is Craig Ortleib (315) 785-2324Craig.Ortlieb@dot.ny.gov 3. The next thing they will ask is for your plans including dam height and construction, soil types, etc. If it is over 6' you will need a dam safety permit. 4. If you can pass all these hurdles, and you are planning on disturbing over 1 acre of soil during the construction process, then you will need to file a NOI (notice of intent) which includes a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/constgp020001.pdf To file this you will need the assistance of a qualified preparer (someone with COESC, CPSWQ after their name). This will be required for it to get past David Gasper at the DEC who oversees all such permits. It would be helpful if your excavation contractor had or knew someone qualified. This is all doable but you need to get past 1 and 2 first. I found the regional DEC office friendly but focused on doing their jobs. A friend pointed me to a Stormwater Coalition in the next county that helped me prepare the NOI.
Also, the Wetland mapper on the NY site is https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/erm/. I believe the DEC uses this map so you can get a good idea if you have a wetland or protected water. My take is that there are no extensive designated wetland areas near Keeseville except along the "major" creeks and the Ausable, but many little ones, so you will have to examine the map closely. You may have to deal with rare plants, but the "significant natural communities" designation in my area didn't seem to impact the DEC's response. I would agree with the NRCS guys that the property along the proposed site looks like a designated wetland and you will need to talk directly with the DEC at some point.
Another useful site is https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/stormwater/. You can see what that layer of regs may apply. I would talk to a local excavation contractor and get their take. The guys around me had definite opinions about dealing with the DEC and pond size they would build to avoid that.
I should add that I am overly law abiding since I live on a well traveled state highway. If your pond is enough off the beaten path you may not be so scrutinized. I spoke with someone who works for a pond builder last evening and they sneak stuff in all the time. Sorry about all the detail but I am still sore from the exercise, my wife says I'm a data dumber. My pond build starts next week after about a year of trying.