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Converting surface spring into pond  RSS feed

 
Matthew Talicuran
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So I got back from visiting our land in Arkansas. I am trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with a very productive(60gpm) surface spring on on part of the property. The soggy/muddy/wet area of the spring is over an acre but it is pretty flat so I believe that is why it has spread out. The spring has a spot that it definately pools and then starts flowing towards a creek.

What would be the best method to attack this? I am thinking I would widen the current flow channel to accept the excess muddy water that will flow into it. Then start excavating where I believe the spring head is. I don't plan on embanking to raise the height of the pond wall but what do I do with all of the excess muck from the excavation other than fill in low spots?

As well as how do I navigate the muck areas without getting the excavator stuck.....do they get stuck? Is there a site or a book that would help me out.
 
Cris Bessette
gardener
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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I personally would clean out the spring head first and see what the flow is like,etc.

Start in the middle and work your way out.

Maybe plant some cat tails in oozy,swampy areas.
 
Matthew Talicuran
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Lol there are plenty of cat tails already there. What I'm trying to do is concentrate the water to dry up the marshy/wet area
 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 225
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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Pictures would help. Before any digging, find a topo map of the property, then decide what is your long term plan for the water. Domestic use, farming, perennial plantings, livestock?

Ideally, you would want water (pond?) at the highest spot on you property and have it gravity fed through out your site.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1699
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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What is your purpose/objective behind this?

I'd be cautious about going in with heavy machinery, as I've heard/read elsewhere that disturbing the soil structure can cause your spring to fail or emerge elsewhere.

If your objective is getting a permanent fresh drinking water supply you should look up developing or capping a spring





 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Mathew,

First, not trying to sound like a "worry wart," but unless you have a solid background in geomechanics and hydrogeology...BE CRAZY CAREFUL!!

Arkansas in my old stomping grounds and caves, hidden hydrological features, quick sand/mud, and the related can sneak up on you fast. I have seen folks disappear in front of me, equipment sink into what the day before was solid ground and a myriad of other strangeness.

Many folks don't want the feedback or nuisance but we are talking about water here and the land someone may own...but not the water...so I would suggest contacting the state hydrologist for your area for feedback. Diverting water, or creating new water courses can open the property owner up for huge liabilities when (not if) any work is discovered. It is also possible to damage a watershed and the biomes that watershed supports by introducing mineral waters, or other sources of ancient mineral deposits without know what is there in the area that must be dug up.

Without aerial maps, photos of the site, and clear plan and elevation view schematics it is virtually (and ethically as a designer) not prudent to give an clear structural or landscape design advice without the maps and photos.

Sorry to sound like such a downer......yet moving with a clear plan, obtaining professional feedback is the most prudent course to take when dealing with springs. Especially where caves and subterranean voids are prevalent.

Regards,

j
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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That's 3600 gallons per hour. This could be the single most important feature of your land. I have to agree with J.

With so much water, it could be possible to capture some at a distance from the source, for a pond and agricultural use. Check out the legalities and hire the right people. If you sit atop another Carlsbad Caverns, and set about digging, all could be lost, including the excavator.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 3132
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Arkansas Geological survey This is the site you want to go to first, they will be able to guide you to a proper and legal solution that won't come back and bite you in the backside. They will also be able to give you correct methodology in you endeavor.

You didn't say where in Arkansas your land is located, you will also want to get hold of the county government office to be sure you are within all county ordinances.

I'm jealous, I looked for two years for land that had a natural spring on it and didn't find one I could purchase.
 
Matthew Talicuran
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Ok sorry for not explaining further. The land is/will be mine shortly so right of way, mineral rights and everything is all under my control. iIt is in NW Arkansas about 20 min east of Huntsville. I have included a picture of the property to help out. The area I am in is bottom land and has pasture almost all round it. the dark areas of the picture show the areas that are the most wet. The three branches flow west to east, the top two branches meet and exit a the northern boundary(pretty much the creek). The bottom branch is just marshy but has no discernible flow to it. the area is quite flat and that is why the marsh area has spread out like that. All areas that are green are quite dry compared to the marshy areas and do not have any sponginess to them. As I was unable to walk right into the center of the wetness I was unable to locate the head of the spring but there seems to be an area that has the most flow farthest away from the creek exit. The idea of widening the natural flow channel first is to allow the ebb and flow of water/muck when I am excavating. I want to open it up to allow a deeper depression in the land so the water pools instead of spreading out. As some of you have alluded to I'm good with water placement on land, but I don't have a choice with this property as there is no elevation to work with. For all intensive purposes I don't really need the water(Sorry Guys I know that sucks). There is a 40 acre(50' @ deepest) spring fed lake that is a few hundred yards away and up slope and an irrigation manifold I have access to right over the property line on the northern property boundary. As well as an average of almost 2" of rain a month. I will use the water but only during the dry periods. I am looking at trying to get some more space for pasture/cropping. I will use the excavated soil for filling in a few depressions on the site after I have made sure I don't need it for any impoundment of the water course as it leaves my property. As well as all of that I have the dark marshy area on the eastern most part of the picture. I am not sure If I will be doing any thing with it. I would love to clean up the edge a bit and earn back some workable land. The good thing about it is if I don't do any thing with it, it grows ducks quite well lol so there's that.
Screenshot_2014-12-13-08-44-44-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2014-12-13-08-44-44-2.jpg]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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...The land is/will be mine shortly so right of way, mineral rights and everything is all under my control. iIt is in NW Arkansas about 20 min east of Huntsville...


Easements (rights of way), mineral and water rights, often have little to do with "flowing water." As property owner, it is necessary to understand that even though a stream, brook or river may flow through a piece of property that is own...even if you own both sides...in most areas you do not own the stream or stream bed. You may not even own for some distance on either side of the stream. The land can be used by the property owner...but...it very often can not be built on, altered or impacted in anyway whatsoever. If there is "wetlands," what is being described as "marshy" this is an entirely different can of worms. I have seen folks that own such land...maybe even a lot of land...for example, 30 to 40 acres of it or more...and not be able to build or alter the land very much at all, with very limited building sites...sometime, not building site at all, or no ability to create gray or black water treatment areas.

Flowing water is, as I stated before, something that really must be thought throw completely. It is great to have, and a wonderful asset, yet it is not something that legally one can just start digging around in even a little bit. If I put my "ecologist/permaculturalist" hat on, I have to even take it a step further, and say it really warrants extremely careful study and consideration. I have a great deal of concern with anyone without extensive hydrological and riparian knowledge ever going near it with heavy equipment. It can be done, yet much planning and checking and studying must be done first, and not being able to do anything at all with it other than be a conscientious steward over it might have to be accepted.

I am looking at trying to get some more space for pasture/cropping. I will use the excavated soil for filling in a few depressions on the site after I have made sure I don't need it for any impoundment of the water course as it leaves my property. As well as all of that I have the dark marshy area on the eastern most part of the picture. I am not sure If I will be doing any thing with it. I would love to clean up the edge a bit and earn back some workable land.


Again Mathew, the idea...even if it was legal...to drain, alter or remove a wetlands and the sensitive biomes it supports it not something you will find ever condoned by a "permaculturalist." We work in concert with nature, not by erasing one to "try" and create another. It would be unconscionable to even think about turning a natural wetland, marsh, or any riparian zone into "pasture land." This is happening in many areas like Argentina, and other locations with horrid consequence.

Sorry to be such a bummer...

If what I have shared can be accepted, and the land is still acquired, perhaps some form of "fish farming" or watercress farming or other aquatic permaculture activities could take place on sections of the land. I would strongly suggest seeing what the state hydrologist thinks is possible. There are some areas that are more lacks than other...yet, there still is the ethos of being a permaculturalist that must be considered.

Regards,

j
 
Matthew Talicuran
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Jay, I get what you are saying. I'm using the wrong wording. The area that is in the middle is not "wetland" or "marsh" is it just wet muddy soil that surrounds a spring on a flat'ish spot. There is definately a spring head and it exits off site to the larger creek on top of the picture. I am in contact with the NRCS guys in our county and will be getting a survey done before I start excavating. I won't be changing the flow or direction just creating a depression so the surface water drains into it then into the creek.

Beleive me I wont be just excavating all willynilly. As far as the north eastern portion of the pic is a wetland. The larger part of the creek flows into this area and slows. There is not much that could be done if I wanted to without specialty equipment.

As far as the "pasture land" yes I will be converting the open areas and previous wet areas(near the spring) into a paddocked system(poultry) with large market gardens. There is mostly just weeds and grasses that will get converted to a better mix once I get the spring taken care of.

This just the 10,000ft view right now. We are at best 6-8 months from doing anything as we are currently living in CA.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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That is great news, and I wish you all the luck!

Keep us up to speed on what finally takes place and what is learned. Thanks for sharing it all in advance as others will learn too.

Regards,

j
 
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