Farm Pond help

farmer_jJune 6, 2006

The pond my question is about is about 2.5 acres large and is a farm pond. I've posted on the pond forum, but most of those posts are about backyard decorative ponds with Carp and Koi in them. This one's a tad different.

It was man made about 40 years ago and it has major silt, algea and other issues. Raising the dam is one way to make it deeper, but unfortunately that is not possible. What I need to do is have it drained and dug out. Then basically start from scratch. Ideally, I'd like to see this as a great fishing hole and have it look appealing as well. Right now it is a haven for turtles, algea, geese and an all around eye-sore.

My question is if anyone has ever taken on a task like this? How much am I looking at and do you think I have any hope at all for governmental help/aid?? I know there are lots of larger lakes and ponds that need help before my 2.5 acre pond, but it's worth looking into I suppose. The reason I think I can get some type of aid is because it is home to a lot of wild life and most of the water comes from road run off and what not.

Any ideas, help or info would certainly be appreciated.


Farmer J.

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Sounds like ours.Mine was built about 40 years ago,large.Mine is full of fish.Thats why we havent done it.One problem we have is besides fish,we have swans,Hubby is a builder he has his own equipment.He said dig it out,it will have to dry some because youll just get hung up.Were gonna do it soon...I had to walk out to middle once to get a swan that got caught in the tie down for ariator.It was about 5' deep.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 11:40PM
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Ours is similar to yours, although I think it might be deeper. I am anxious to hear if anyone has tips on cleaning it up, it's a mess right now. Plenty of fish, but the algea is awful!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 9:13AM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

I've heard that floating alfalfa bales in the water will clear algae. Anyone else heard something similar?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 1:03PM
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pricem11(z7 NC)

On second thought, I think was barley straw bales. Don't try before verifying!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 1:05PM
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I did this. My pond is much smaller, 3/4 of an acre. I lost all my fish one winter, and that summer we had a terrible drought. The water was so low, my dogs were walking across the pond. The silt was over 2 feet deep. You'd step into the pond and sink into gunk up to your knees.

I knew I had to do something, I use the pond to irrigate the 400+ daylilies I raise and sell.

I had attended as many farm pond seminars as I could find, mostly given by the local Cornell Cooperative Extension.

I found a local site preparation company who advertised that they clean ponds. And I am VERY glad I found someone experienced.

They came out in the middle of the week (in November)and brought pumps and we started pumping it out into the back pasture. Had to do some minor corrections to where thye were pumping it out after they flooded my neighbors front field.

By the weekend the pond was virtually empty except for the couple of spots where the natural springs were still flowing water.

Friday afternoon, they dropped off a bulldozer and an excavator. Saturday morning at 7am, the machines started. The bulldozer went into the pond and moved the crud around to the back edge where the excavator was waiting to dig it up and out into the back pasture.

After the excavator had moved quite a bit out of the pond, the bulldozer would come up out of the pond and spread the pile around the back pasture.

The noise of the machines attracted all my neighbors ... at first we all just drank our coffee and watched, and then we started noticing the life still alive in the muck. Everyone went home and put on old clothes, mud boots, and grabbed buckets.

We saved, hundreds of crayfish, small fish, found a baby snapping turtle that I made my neighbor take far away, frogs, etc. Since I had already lost the big fish there weren't many fish to worry about.

The guy on the excavator saw what we were doing and every time he had to wait for the bulldozer, he got out and helped catch critters. These guys were wonderful.

Considerations: Access for the machinery, where to pump the water out, adn where to put the muck. I had an unused pasture, so we just spread it around.

They finished in a day, cost about $2,000 about 3-4 years ago. If they had had to haul away the muck, it would have probably been tto expensive. Now my pond is wonderful ... and I've restocked it with large mouth bass, a couple grass carp, and some goldfish from my sisters ornamental pond that are now 8 inches long.

There are some pictures on the site below, probably under the "farm" section of when they were done. They dug down until the bulldozer was sparking on rock.

Hope this helps ... ask any other questions you can think of.

Make sure you get someone that knows how to do this ...

South Wales, NY

Here is a link that might be useful: Farm & pond pictures

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 1:23PM
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Oue pond is about 3/4 acere it was 20 feet deep when we had it put in about 28 years ago but with developement and logging upstream it silted in. There is a natural spring under it so the water stays pretty cold even in summer. We have catfish and bass. they are tasty in spring but by summer they are mushey and pondy. I have floated a bale of alfalfa to clear the water it worked pretty well. The bale got smelly by fall, I put flower seeds on floating bale it looked nice. It is staying cleaner since the domestic ducks passed on. I guess that is why they are called waterfowal.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 3:30PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

You might want to hop on over to the Pond and Aquatic Plant forum here on GardenWeb. Lots of enthusiasts there who should be able to help you.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW Pond Forum

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 4:46PM
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First stop probably needs to be your County Cooperative Extension Service office and your local USDA FSA &/or NRCS office(they're all in the phone book) - the FSA/NRCS folks probably have someone on staff who's versed in dealing with farm pond issues and can point you in the right direction so far as draining and re-habbing your pond. You probably need to touch base with them anyway, since draining the pond may have some water quality issues downstream from you, and you don't want to incur fines just because you didn't know.
There might even be some cost-share funds available to aid in accomplishing this pond clean-out(but don't count on it!).

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 5:45PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

The first step to keeping your pond water clear of silt (not the bottom, just the water column) is to eradicate all Koi and Carp of any kind from it, they are not native to the US, so don't feel the need to keep them and make the pond more natural, what they do do is run along the bottom and pull it up and eat all the plants that would naturally hold the silt down, in order to eliminate the Algea the water fowl should probably go, Ducks Geese and swans all eat lots of vegitation and deposite very nitrogen rich droppings, if they go into your pond the Uric acid crystals break down and you get high nitrates and mega algea blooms. Also No study even done has even hinted that barley or alfalfa straw works to clear algea in ponds, under normal circustances a diverse protist fawna and critters like rottifers and daphnia eat the Algea from the water column and they form the base of the food chain that feeds the bass you want to eat, starting from the bare bottom with no fish at first is the best option if you can and building up a healthy colony of daphnia and other critters, if it is within your power to do so you should try and get a bucket full of water from a clean pond (like one with clear happy water) every week for as much of a year as you can (frowen ponds are very difficult to get buckets of water from) that way you introduce the greatest number of critters to your pond as is posible. Also freshwater muscles and clams are very effective filter feeders and will help clean the water. Also grow pond weeds in your pond, as many types that are native as possible, and lilly pads will help too, it may not be as fun to boat or fish in a weed stew but the water will be much more habitiable to fish and that means bigger and better tasteing specimins will be there to be caught.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:46PM
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I would also look at calling a pond care company like SePRO corporation. They can give you a lot of pointer on their products to use on your problems. They can give you a lot of great information. I was very happy with my treatment I used with them.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:09AM
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