Thank so for all the positive energy everyone!
what--if any--sort of permits were required to make the pond? Just south of the boarder where I live, we have LOTS of regulations, and I worry that if I made a pond, it would be classified as a wetlands, and would then be protected by our wetland laws and require a wetland buffer zone. Do you know if there a way to make a pond without it becoming a protected wetlands? While I have nothing against protected wetlands, 1/3rd of my property is already protected wetlands, and I'd like to use what I have remaining.
We currently have a small stream fed pond on our property that was dug by the previous owner. He dumped concrete and put a plastic liner in there (which has, of course, degraded), and the pond almost entirely dried up two summers ago. Are there ways people can optimize their current water features to help them retain more water?
To your question Nicole in this case it is a dugout fed by rainwater so no permitting was required. BC has some very strong right to farm legislature that really protects the farmer cultivating their land. I think this is important legislature to be passed everywhere, people have to be able to work with their water and their land to start making an impact.
The US is rivaled only by the EU with regards to litigation and legal/permitting turmoil, it's certainly never easy. In the US the important pieces are where is the water coming from and what is the volume of earth being moved or water being retained. If you stay under their limits there is still a good bit you can do. Often times you just need a geo-technical engineer to sign off on the dam construction when the dam is over a certain size (a very logical thing). But there are other places where people don't own their own water and so run into troubles impounding it in a water retention feature.
There are LOTS of problems with our current wetland legislature, namely that it doesn't allow for regeneration, enhancement, or expansion. Yes as you are describing can happen, but if it is a permitted (or doesn't require a permit) water body that is man made you have a strong case. That's unfortunately how our legal system works, nothing is ever as cut and dry as it seems.
There are also laws that require homeowners to remedy resource concerns for themselves of their neighbors when a problem is recognized. In your case you have very good cause to come in and rix everything, in your case possibly rebuilding the pond as an earthen feature. These are the only types of water bodies that really aid in watershed restoration and climate balance.
Chris, yes this is exactly what beavers do. But we killed off all of the beavers and drained the wetland for arable land for agriculture. That's why it is urgently necessary for humans in modern times to act as the beavers did, re-hydrating land and acting as keystone species for the regeneration of the earth's organs.
I like the beaver habitat in the boreal north idea, that could really have some merit!