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retaining seasonal water in a pond  RSS feed

 
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Our property gets a great deal of water flowing onto it during the wet season. Right now it collects in two low areas. There are "ponds" (giant puddles?) in these areas through late fall/winter and early spring. These areas are full of salmonberries and some thorny bushes. By summer they are bone dry.

We're planning on putting in some swales and digging one of the wet spots into a much larger pond. I'd like to turn that area into a small wetland to encourage/keep our numerous frogs and attract other beneficials, and provide a place for future ducks and geese.

But how to keep the water there through summer? I don't really want to use a pond liner, as I feel it's expensive, it's plastic, and I'm concerned we can't have a "real" wetland system there with a liner. I dunno, it just feels so "artificial". Our soil has little clay, being mostly silt and the rest sand (and tons of rocks). What can we do to help retain the water year-round other than using a liner?
 
                      
Posts: 26
Location: Burbank , Washington (south central)
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This thread has just what you need, no plastic involved.

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/3409_0/permaculture/gley-technique-for-sealing-ponds-and-dams-and-walls
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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i would suggest that during the dryest season dig a hole with post hole diggers and see how deep you have to go to hit the water table down in the center of that low spot..if you hit water down a foot or so..you have a prospective pond there..also check out the materials that you dig up..are they clay or sandy? if they contain a goodly amount of clay then you also have good materials for a pond.

I would start after you find the water table is high, digging as deep a hole there as you can but with at least one sloping side so that if an animal falls in it can easily climb out..

this is your  beginner pond..watch it to see how well it stays full of water next year..

ours would stay wet most of the year but there would be a droughty time when it would nearly go dry..until we dug it deep enough..the deeper holes never went dry.

the following year we dug a hole about 8 to 10  feet deep and never got below a good layer of clay, and it filled up and stayed full..but the surrounding areas would dry out.

the followoing year we enlarged the pond and made some areas deeper..the deeper areas would remain wet, but the shallower areas would dry out.

the following year (last year ) we rented a backhoe and dut out most of the areas quite a bit deeper, this spring we still have ice and snow on the pond, but the water level is up to the top of the new dig..see my pond pages on my blog in my address below for more views, information etc..
 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Thanks for the link, DaBearded. Very interesting.

Brenda, thanks for your clear explanation. So basically it's about depth then...I'm not sure how far down the water table is, though I suspect it's some ways since we are about 100 metres above sea level and on the side of a large wide valley where the land slopes downwards from our place for a few miles before it reaches the river.

We'll do the pond excavation with a backhoe, so we'll see then what sort of earth we have below. I'm not expecting much clay, but perhaps something else that will help retain the water. Good idea to "wait and see" after digging. I suppose one never knows until one puts it to the test!
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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can always use a liner if it goes dry
 
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