How to Enlarge Farm Ponds
Farm ponds serve a variety of uses for recreation or farm function. A pond provides important landscaping, fishing, irrigation and waters livestock, besides the ecosystem it creates in the area. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates farmers build nearly 50,000 ponds each year. Enlarging a farm pond is a strategic and helpful way to make the most of this vital natural resource.
Find out how the pond was originally constructed. Two typical forms of farm pond construction are excavation and embankment. Excavation requires digging a hole for the pond in an otherwise flat space of land. Embankment requires creating a dam using an existing sloped space of land
Drain the water from the pond, removing any fish and placing them in storage coolers or temporary aquariums. Remove the filter or skimmer, pond liner, and any subterranean boulders that form features at the base of the pond so you are down to the dirt bottom. Wash any of the boulders or rocks, as they can be reused. Use this opportunity to scrub the liner and clean the filter as well.
Decide how big and how deep you want your finished pond. Map out the extension area to get an idea of how much digging you will need to do to expand the pond. Place markers or stakes just outside the new pond perimeter to serve as a guide for digging.
Use the proper machinery or hire people to safely dig the hole. Use a bulldozer or digger to dig out the extended pond space. Collect the excavated dirt in a large metal container (truck-bin size) either to reuse in another area on the farm or to dispose of according to your area's environmental policies.
Dig the pond at different levels (deeper and more shallow) to keep fish intrigued and to help water flow. Pack the dirt slope on the pond sides until it is firm. Mark the area for any large boulders or character stones. Lay the new pond liner with the older one, using liner tape to connect the seams and prevent leakage.
Place any ground stones or large boulders around the base of the expanded pond. Fill in any stone cover you may want as the bottom of the pond. Place the skimmer/filter into the new pond. Add any other pond edge plants or stone edging. Refill the pond and return the fish to their new, larger home.
- Farm Pond Management
- "Earth Ponds Sourcebook: The Pond Owner's Manual and Resource Guide;" Tim Matson; 2004.
- Another method for enlarging farm ponds is to dig a second pond next to the original pond, but at a lower excavation level. After preparing the ground and laying the liner, drain the original pond into the new pond, and then widen or level the land bridge between the ponds with another skimmer, pump and waterfall to create flow between the two ponds.
- Do not operate heavy machinery that you are not licensed to use.