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How could we make a pond here?

 
Patricia Hooton
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We recently bought 25 acres that surrounds our existing 25 acres. The land was logged about a year ago, and has been left to grow up on its own. I am really wanting to have a pond on the property, but wondering about the feasibility of it...I know cost is expensive. So...I am wondering what possible ways of doing it are. The back corner of the property (about 2-3 acres is in a bit of a valley (our property is very flat!). We are in eastern NC. Anyhow, there are a couple of spots in that area that always have puddles. Over the last few weeks we have had quite a bit of rain, so more of the area is covered in water - some areas are 2-3 feet deep. There are no natural creeks in the area - just a large drainage ditch about 200 feet away, and down hill from this area.

I got thinking about it, because we went fishing/kayaking at a friends swamp/pond area. It is an area that has been flooded by beavers, and covers about 30 or so acres. There were some small drainage ditches that the beaver had dammed up.

SO my question is, would it be possible to flood the low lying area with ground water? Or how could we make it into a pond or swamp area at a reasonable cost...

I have attached pictures of the area.

Any suggestions would be great.
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Sherri Lynn
Posts: 81
Location: Piedmont, NC
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We are definitely not experts on this subject. However, what we did was look at a topographical map to find the lowest area on our property that might also get drainage from the neighboring property. We paid someone $1500 to come in with a bulldozer to trench out our pond (about 80' x 80'). We were told we had the right kind of clay (white) to form a good base. In that spot it was also next to the driveway and we had a pipe under the driveway at that point, so the other side of the driveway also drains into the pond. We have added plants (pond lillies mostly to add some shade on the water) and stocked with fish (100 sunfish and 10 bass). We are just letting it go to see what nature does. At this time, it is full, has plants to the edge (natural growth), and the water has gotten much clearer (it was really muddy for about a year.) The pond was dug in December of 2013. We love it! Good luck! I wish I had read earlier about using pigs to fix the bottom to keep it from leaking, which might be an idea from sepp holzer. However, ours seems to have plugged its own holes over time and is doing just fine now.
 
Patricia Hooton
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Has your pond stayed full over the last year? I know we have had a lot of rain over the last few months...

Well, I am going to do some reading on using pigs...I have been talking to my husband about raising some pigs, so maybe this is the time to do it. Wonder how many pigs it would take for an area 2-3 acres.

 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Beware of trying to dam seasonal watercourses without real engineering and a serious dam-building expert, because they can easily blow out in a flood. Our upstream neighbors tried to dam the seasonal creek with dirt and asphalt rubble from their old driveway; it blew out and now we have asphalt all down our part of the creek.
 
Patricia Hooton
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There isn't anything to dam....This is a spot that fills up a bit with run off, and that has a couple of puddles that always stay full. I am wondering if we dig down to the water table if it would fill up.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Seems like you could just excavate the area to make a pond. Maybe keep it small (an acre or less) to keep excavation costs down.

I have such pond envy.
 
Patricia Hooton
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I hope we can. Need to find someone in the area that can tell me what we would need to do, and hoping it isn't too expensive!
 
Bill Erickson
garden master
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Patricia, I used to live in Craven County for quite a while. I know that the surface water level was around 8 feet during the dry parts of the year, but we also were on top of a lot of sand, but that is the whole pocosin swamp thing where all the green died over time and made a nice thick layer of soil on top of the hundreds of feet of sand.

Your situation looks like you are in the clay areas, which isn't hard in Eastern Carolina. I would go with a mini-excavator to dig out the pond that you want on your property and see how it fills. Pigs would be a great way to gley seal a pond, but you may not need it with your clay content. Give it a shot, it can't hurt, and if nothing else you have a starting point for your pigs to do the work you want.
 
Patricia Hooton
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Thanks Bill. We are right at the Pitt/Craven line. There is a lot of clay content on our property. The drainage ditch that I talk about is actually Swift Creek, but at the Pitt county end it is really just a drainage ditch. Hoping we can figure out an economical way of at least starting a little pond!
 
Bill Erickson
garden master
Posts: 916
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
90
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Yep, lots of clay around there. One thing you can do on your own is to dig a hole, not the most fun in heavy clay soil. The purpose of this is to see how deep your clay layer is in that area. If it starts to fill with water that just means you need to wait for the water to abate a bit.

Another thing you could try is to look at your property from google maps and see who else in the area might have a pond and what theirs look like. Renting a back hoe or mini-excavator isn't normally very expensive, you just have to go slow and steady. You definitely want to do it when the soil is as dry as possible, no need to get a piece of rental equipment stuck in the gumbo. Down East the best time for this (when I was down there) is generally in late spring just before hurricane season gets rolling, although early fall just after hurricane season was pretty good as well. You just never know when you're gonna get a Bertha or Dennis rolling through - those were something to deal with on your side of the river, not so much down around Havelock where I lived.
 
Sherri Lynn
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Location: Piedmont, NC
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Our pond has stayed pretty stable over the last year, with a few feet of drying out over the summer. Before that, the level of the pond was all over the place. It may have taken time for the surrounding area to get saturated, and we felt that we had a few leaks. The breakdown of leaves and grass clippings seems to have helped that situation.
 
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