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Dam advice

 
Posts: 65
Location: Toomsuba, MS, 8a, 54" annual rainfall
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I have no idea when I will be able to afford or attend a PDC, so I am hoping y'all can point me in the right direction.

My property is not huge, but is a good size: 7 acres.

It does have some areas of slope and some areas of run-off water (road, small pond a few properties over, etc.). There are also ruts from surface run-off. In a few areas these ruts have created nice little pits that are begging to be dammed up and turned into a series of ponds.

I do not have the exact dimensions, but for discussion lets say that the two larger ruts I have in mind are roughly 15' x 15' and would be about 3-4' deep at the deepest.

My concern lies in the actual "damming". When you watch general videos from Geoff or Bill you see information about water flow and where to find places to dam, but no information about actually damming. Perhaps that is what you find in the PDC's.

I do not know if I can simply dump a ton of dirt there, compact it as best as I can and let it settle more over time; if I should be installing overflow piping; or how to otherwise construct the actual levee and manage overflow.

Links to good instructions or your own personal knowledge and experience would be greatly appreciated.

These little ponds would have new vegetation/trees planted on/around them and will be used by the ducks we already have on our property. We have no livestock beyond poultry, but there is always that possibility in the future.

They are located in an already heavily wooded area, so I expect to find soil that is easy to work with (save for the existing root systems).

Thank you!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2409
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I would build swales to stop the water from flowing into the ruts as much as possible.
Odds are that the 4ft deep ruts are not waterproof so the "pond" will not hold water,
but if all you want to do is just help the water soak it I would place some big rocks/logs at the back of the ruts to slow the flow of water.
If you actually want a pond then you will have to make it waterproof with a plastic pond liner or clay/cement/etc.

You could use a wire mesh braced by some logs/stone to capture alot of leave litter and soil.
 
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Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Jared Stanley wrote:
My concern lies in the actual "damming". When you watch general videos from Geoff or Bill you see information about water flow and where to find places to dam, but no information about actually damming. Perhaps that is what you find in the PDC's.

I do not know if I can simply dump a ton of dirt there, compact it as best as I can and let it settle more over time; if I should be installing overflow piping; or how to otherwise construct the actual levee and manage overflow.

Links to good instructions or your own personal knowledge and experience would be greatly appreciated.



Building a dam is a skilled job. I would find a local earthmover who has a lot of experience with dam building. There are many, many more ways to fail than to succeed.

You need to build up the dam in small 'lifts', compacting thoroughly as you go. A bulldozer can accomplish this. So can a combination of a backhoe and a sheepsfoot roller. It is much easier to build your dam watertight than to fix it later. In any case, the skill of the operater is more critical than the machine used.

The best resource for all things ponds is forums.pondboss.com These guys love ponds like we love permaculture. You can search through the forums to find a million mistakes and a thousand successes. You can ask questions, the folks are nice and want you to succeed. You can find local pond experts in your area, there are lots of active participants from the South.

I built two ponds a few summers ago. Love them. My bulldozer operator was an absolute genius with his machine. Taking the time and expense to do it right the first time was well worth it. The benefit of a pond is tremendous for my farm. Hope you have the same level of success. good luck!
 
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