Time lapse video of our team racing the rain to build a 1/2 acre pond designed and built in collaboration with Pete VanDyck of Drought Proof Texas from 2018 in Brenham, Texas. We used a bulldozer and vibratory, sheep’s foot roller to build this pond in about 1.5 weeks.
We were racing the rain to build this pond because if it rains while your mid process you can’t keep working until the area dries out enough that the equipment won’t get stuck. You can use a big trash pump but even that can take a long time and if your equipment is rented you are burning money. This can be a little stressful, looking at the forecast, working long days and weekends to get as much done as possible before a higher chance of rain day hits…
Despite all of that, building ponds is SO SATISFYING. There are very few natural ponds and lakes in Texas. Look at google earth. Humans built the vast majority of the ponds and lakes you see. Mostly this has been to provide water for livestock but that doesn’t stop it from benefiting the wildlife too. If you build a pond right, you know it will be there for a long time, likely for thousands of years so the stress and rush of building it balanced by the awareness that we are doing something good that can potentially benefit many generations to come.
Of course, they’re also beautiful, fun and create pockets of biodiversity. We put some brush in the bottom of this pond to create fish habitat, giving them a place to shelter from predators. We didn’t stock the pond but given a few years, I am confident fish will find their way from bird’s feet into the pond.
This pond filled up the week after we finished building it which was great confirmation that we had done out catchment area calculations correctly and put it in a location that would be able to catch enough runoff to fill it back up with each rain event that wasn’t just a drizzle. Since we built this pond, it hasn’t dried out, even in the worst drought years. The rules of thumb is to make your pond at least 12 feet deep and your slope angles 3 to 1 so your depth to surface area ratio is not going to cause excessive evaporation and you can keep water in the pond through Summer.
Watch the full video here:
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