We are interested in digging some smaller pocket ponds/pools in our agroforestry area. The main goal is to encourage amphibians to inhabit the area to help with pest control. We already have swales dug--can anyone offer suggestions for smaller scale pond building? We would most likely be digging these by hand, and the soil has good clay content. We also have a tractor that we could use to help compact the soil. Has anyone transplanted tadpoles into these types of ponds with success, or should we wait for mother nature? Thanks!
I recently spent some time helping a friend build a small pond that developed over a period of several years, starting with a hunch that a wet area
might make a good pool... to bringing in a backhoe to dig a small test pit not much wider than the bucket and maybe 6-8 feet deep... that small
a hole will probably slump in .... and it did... and it did attract frogs and salamanders despite small size... anyway, it seemed promising in terms of
water supply, so the hole was enlarged to maybe 10 feet across again with backhoe (minimal cost as you can probably imagine)... and by now
was starting to really seem like a small pond... and maintained pretty good waterlevel... so next year (year 3 of project)... excavator build a
nice small pond maybe 20-25 feet diameter, with dam... spillway.... nice rocks from hole placed for landscape effect... seeded, etc... and now
a wonderful small pond full of frogs, salamanders, stocked with crayfish... owner is extremely happy with her new pond, which has transformed her
place... anyway, at all stages of development the hole full of water attracted frogs, etc... so you can do it tiny, small, etc... maybe if a small
pool seems especially nice, expand it... be aware that small waterholes will probably slump if sides are steep... if pool is not built relatively in the
dry so sides/dam can be compacted... and keep in mind what to do with inflow/overflow... to control erosion/flooding.... small ponds
have often been used for aquaculture.. but need a good water exchange or will become stagnant... that's perhaps one of the big caveats of small
water holes... will they become stagnant and mosquito breeders... I wrote about small ponds in a recent issue of Pond Boss, which I don't think
is available on internet... but perhaps you can get a copy... or subscribe.... in development of bigger ponds, one of first steps is test pits...
and increasingly I like to make them rather big (10 feet across or more) rather than just backhoe bucket width, which gives prospective builder
a mini pond to better evaluate water table, soil, etc... and enjoy a small pond while considering whether to go full size.