Expanding our Small Fishing Pond – Step 1

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I have decided to double the size of our small fishing pond, both based on comments from viewers of my “Releasing fish into our new pond at Hidden Hollows” video and my desire to have a larger pond that will allow for more, bigger and healthier fish. I am in no hurry; this will be a long-term project that will take a least a year to complete. Having observed others aggressively dig their ponds with tractors, burying precious top soil under clay and resulting in banks and berms that cannot even grow grass, I proceed with the excavation process one step at a time, the first steps manually:

Step 1: Define the shape of the pond expansion. I did this by removing a shovel’s width line of sod.

Step 2: Remove the sod by hand, and store it so that it can be reused to cover the banks and berm.

Step 3: Remove the remaining topsoil by hand and store it in a nearby pile so that it can be spread on top of the banks and berm.

Step 4: Extract the subsoil manually to an additional depth of at least six inches or to a depth that is easily dug with a shovel. Store it in a nearby pile for spreading on top of berm and banks.

Step 5: Remove an additional 2 feet of sod, topsoil and subsoil around the perimeter of pond excavation. This will be filled back in with extracted clay to prevent pond water from leaching out through the loose soil.

Step 6: Fill the shallow pond pit with water to the point of overflow. Note the difference in level compared to the existing pond.

Step 7: Drain the new pond and back fill the 2-foot additional width for the banks (Step 5) with the best clay materiel found beneath the subsoil in the main pond excavation pit.

Step 8: Fill the shallow pond to the same level as the original pond, and adjust the height of the berm as needed to retain the water at this level.

Step 9: Using a backhoe, excavate the remaining depth of the pond. Spread the spoils around the pond edges and raised berm. Place excessive materials in a nearby pile for later relocation.

Step 10: Groom the interior of the pond using a shovel.

Step 11: Spread the subsoil over the clay banks and berm.

Step 12: Spread the topsoil over the banks and berm.

Step 13: Place the sod chunks on top of the bare earth of the banks and berm.

Step 14: Fill the new section of the pond to match the level of the original section (it might be best to drain the original pond down a couple of feet in depth first.

Step 15: Using a backhoe, dig out the separation bridge between the two ponds.

Step 16: Refill the ponds to the normal level

Step 17: Spread grass seed over all open earth and sod areas to enhance the growth of grass.