This week on This Old Pond, we look at a pond site that has been dry for ??? with an inflow from a ? real spring / ? false spring through about 100' of 2" pipe. Reportedly it would take $10,000 or so to repair it; the spring pipe enters "at the bottom of the pond" (?), there is no visible outflow pipe (purely because everything is covered in snow and I had only about ten minutes to look at it before having to go). We're moving to the site in May and renting, but if we can get the pond up and running we're (probably) welcome to use it, stock it with fish, let our ducks have at it, put our weed in there, wait, no not put our weed in there, put our weeds in there for biomass.
The spring is across the road but deeded to the farm. The spring box roof is completely rotted out, but it's a double cement chamber and it was running. Because it made a little mountain of ice I am concluding that it is a real enough spring, and also because there's a real spring on the other side of that same landform about 5" drive. This spring here seems like it was still running when the really cold air came along and adding piles of water to form that little ice mound. A. false spring would have stopped sooner and not made much of a mound. But I may be overestimating.
I found the flexible pipe removed from the spring's pipe and stuck into the side of the stream there, and also clogged with leaves and ice. I put it in the brook to try to thaw it, I have not heard anything from the farmer about the pond starting to fill up since then.
The farmer currently there has never used the pond, so far as I can tell, and I don't know the previous farmer or who built the pond.
The farmer-owner doesn't have time to devote to this project, or even think about it really, and I do not have a schematic of the pond to show. All she could say was that it was leaky, and trees had started growing through the bottom.
1. what is the standard schematic for a pond like this? where would the outflow likely be? is there one or did they just expect it to run to overflow all the time or you would run across the road and disconnect the pipe from the spring every time you wanted to stop the refill?
2. by "leaky" how much water loss would they be seeing here? if supplemented with swales, or roof catchment, might the water in the pond then be sufficient to compensate for the leak? when Sepp Holzer says it's fine to have a leaky pond, is he talking about the same kind of thing as this pond? how bad does it get that an average farmer will abandon a pond site?
3. assuming it has an outflow, could it be sealed by the power of mighty ducks alone, or would pigs be needed? would goats (available on the farm) be helpful to root out the trees, or make it worse by de-compacting the soil?
4. if we rented some pigs, about how long would they need under these conditions to do the job? are they reliable contractors? do they text with their friends when on the job or smoke?
5. assuming it has an outflow, can that be turned into a siphon situation that then is contained at an adjustable height, say, in a barrel on a pulley, so you can raise and lower the level in the pond?
6. thoughts on trickle tube or Holzer monk?
7. would it be a worthwhile "pond" for the ducks even if it leaks like all get-out but keeps a puddle in the bottom some of the time, or is it going to wash the dam away?
As I type this up, I'm thinking it would make sense to jumpstart the gley with a bunch of manure. There's chicken manure and goat handy, though the farmer may be using as much as possible for plants. There should be some available in the region. Spring leaves are also a possibility, there's acres of woods to gather material from.
I realize most of these questions are probably not answerable without more information from the site, but I'm putting them out there for any thoughts you have or experiences you can share.