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Creating dams/ponds along small creek

Tim Canton


Joined: Sep 14, 2010
Posts: 174
I don't know if anything like this is covered in GL's DVDs but I have a small year round spring fed creek that runs the length of my property and long term I would like to create a series of maybe 5 ponds/ dams along the creek. One big one at the top which would be a shaded pond for cold water fish/ mushroom/ ducks/ etc etc cultivation. Then possibly 3 warm water ponds which would receive full sun and be much smaller than the top pond. the bottom of the property before the water get culverted under the road and off my property is a pretty marshy area already..... I am looking for good info on design building of the ponds and dams. Including ideas for the diverting water during building times.....I assume top to bottom building is the best approach.....
Geoff Lawton
permaculture expert


Joined: Nov 10, 2011
Posts: 47
Hi organick McCoy
I would need to know how big a creek you are talking about.

There are a few ways to divert the water while building but the volume of water is the question.


Famous for "greening the desert" and several permaculture DVDs including his latest: Urban Permaculture
Miles Flansburg
steward

Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 2254
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
    
  57
I have four streams across my property. One from a large spring on the property. I have been clearing dead aspen trees and creating small dams with them. The dams fill in each spring with the runoff erosion. So I add another layer of logs each year. At some point I will have many small dams with waterfalls and hopefully increase the water in the "sponge" along the streams. At some point I hope to dig out an old beaver dam and enlarge it for fish etc.
kent smith


Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
We too have a small stream that crosses our property. I am still trying to learn the area around the stream and to look at what can be done in that area. I really do not need or want the extra moisture in the ground surrounding the stream, rather I would want to stop some of the moisture in the area. Part of the dynamics of the stream is that about 50 feet upstream of our property is a huge well established beaver dam with a 2 acre pond behind it. The beaver pond saturated the soil below the dam and it is this extra water that I would like to channel back into the creek. This is our first year here and this August was drier than usual. During August the stream slowed down to a trickle but it still flowed. I need to develop a year around crossing. Most of our wood lot is on the other side of the creek and the area around the creek would be a good area to expand the pasture. From the little searching that I have done it does not seem like there are many restrictions to stream improvements. I kind of hate to ask too many questions with the county. From my research I am lucky that this stream flows into the Ohio river drainage, most of the stream nearby flow into lake Erie and are very regulated.

I am looking for some books on dam building and stream improvements. Any suggestions?
kent


Kent
Andrew Michaels


Joined: Sep 05, 2008
Posts: 73
Hey McCoy.

I spent some time on a farm in Thailand where a farmer had an interesting system. He was repairing a damaged piece of forest land, and a once all-year stream was down to half a year.

He lacked the funds to bring in earth movers to create large dams, but created, which labor and rice bags, water slow-down effects at several dozen spots along the waterway.




Six of us created the one above in about 5-6 hours.

As you can see in this pic, the water has stopped flowing, but the small dams still held the water. He planted banana plants, water spinach, and other water-loving plants into these, and they thrived. Those banana plants just exploded with fruit.

We made it by digging into the bank on either side of the waterway, digging down a bit, and shoveling the soil into rice bags. We stacked the rice bags into a dam, and it held the water quite well. When the rains come, the water flows over the top. I wanted to build a spillway, but the farmer said one was not necessary. Some of his older ones were covered with soil and vegetation.

These were not wet all year long, but "slowed down," the water's voyage through the ecosystem, providing for a number of uses.

It was a great idea.



organick McCoy wrote:I don't know if anything like this is covered in GL's DVDs but I have a small year round spring fed creek that runs the length of my property and long term I would like to create a series of maybe 5 ponds/ dams along the creek. One big one at the top which would be a shaded pond for cold water fish/ mushroom/ ducks/ etc etc cultivation. Then possibly 3 warm water ponds which would receive full sun and be much smaller than the top pond. the bottom of the property before the water get culverted under the road and off my property is a pretty marshy area already..... I am looking for good info on design building of the ponds and dams. Including ideas for the diverting water during building times.....I assume top to bottom building is the best approach.....
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
some things to really consider are, neighbors, damaging down stream land by removing some of the water source, flooding up stream in heavy run off times, natural fish in the stream that could be harmed if they can't go upstream to spawn, etc.

lots of things to think about..before plunging in


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
Also watch out for local laws which may carry stiff penalties for making changes in wetlands and riperian zones.
Jeffrey Hodgins


Joined: Nov 14, 2011
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
There is a guy from Australia who's name escapes me he uses logs and rocks to dam streams it is a point of much controversy but I think it's a sound practice. Beavers do a great job of it but they eat trees to. If you want to make a beaver dam know one thing, the trunk points downstream and the branches point into the flow that is how they catch leaves and mud.


Diversified Food forest maker . Fill every niche and you'll have less weeds (the weeds are the crop too). Fruit, greens, wild harvest, and nuts as staple. Food processing and preservation are key to self self-sufficiency. Never eat a plant without posetive identification and/or consulting an expert.
Tim Canton


Joined: Sep 14, 2010
Posts: 174
No legal issues....I have water rights. Its very very small perhaps about 2 ft wide most places and usually not more than 6-8 inches deep. but it has good, year round flow.....the water won't be fully stopped just fill the pond areas and have overflow access. The "big" pond would be maybe like 15x35.
fawad Baig


Joined: Jun 26, 2012
Posts: 1
Building small dams are not so completed at all this articles shows how to built small dams

Small Dams

 
 
subject: Creating dams/ponds along small creek
 
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