Liberty Nature Preserve



Pond Development

Well, with the approval of the soil composition, the pond development is going forward.  It better be because John and Red tore up and removed about 2 acres of timber in the pond area during the third day of excavation.  The plan for year 2005 is to clear the entire area of the pond up to the proposed water-line.  When John and I first walked the parcel, it was very difficult to get a size estimate because the leaves were already on the trees.  Based on the aerial photos, topo maps, and what could be ascertained during a couple of extensive walks through the area of development, John predicted about 4 acres of water surface.  I agreed with his estimate, though I continued to maintain that it may be larger.

The water depth is going to be strictly limited by one draw that runs north onto the neighbor's property.  This being the case, it is where we started shooting elevations, working our way back into the pond area.  Donna and I have handled all elevation documentation with a laser level on a tripod, a tape measure, a hammer and 16 penny nails, and a can of orange spray paint.  Let me tell ya, this job sucks.  It's bad enough that we had to do all this when the leaves are on the trees and bushes, but there are many areas of thick sticker bushes and brambles that have been growing wild for years.  I have more scratches, punctures, and ripped shirts and trousers!  Be careful what you wish for......

Anyway, we shot about 7 locations of water elevations, all working back from the high point within the limiting draw and ultimately winding up at the center area of the proposed pond area.  After Red and John opened up about 2 acres, we went back in to extend the elevations around the entire perimeter.  This will give them targets of how far to remove trees to get to the water-line.  I'll not soon forget the end of the first day of pond excavation when John shuts down the back-hoe and walks across the pond basin.  He walks up to me, his face 10 shades darker with dust and dirt, and smiles saying "well, whaddayathink?".  I could only say that it looks like he cleared about 2 acres.  He responds "Oh yeah, at least.....this is gonna be big!"  After he looks over a couple of the new perimeter measurements that Donna and I shot while he was tearing it up, he shakes his head and admits that I may be right about the "5 acre thing". 

The first photo album below is a small collection from this first day.

  (A page guide is in the upper right hand corner of the screen and the buttons at the top will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started)  

Clearing for the pond (click here)

About 5 days dedicated to pond clearing.......

....and this is where we are.  It won't stop growing!  Both John and I are very surprised how far back the shore-lines are moving.  We are starting to think that this thing is pushing 5 acres.  It is pretty tuff to accurately calculate, particularly since the shape is so curving and variable.  The costly part is that it requires a helluva lot of timber clearing; no turning back now.  John and Red have pushed all the way back to the dam area, so the big picture is easier to visualize.  John and I spend a couple hours on the Saturday that I shot this picture album, planning the next required steps....where to prepare areas to waste the excess soil and other items of engineering.  He has talked me into clearing back about another 30 feet around about 85 percent of the perimeter.  The plan is to create a man-made drive around the pond, using some of the soil that needs to be wasted.  It will be pushed up from the pond basin and compacted as a man-made level shoreline that is about 1 - 2 feet above the water level.  I will be a "shelf", creating automobile  access almost all the way around the pond.  The only area that I have nix'ed from this step is a section on the north end of the pond where the depth of the woods is gettin' neighbor to the north has a house just the other side of these woods.  I need to maintain a buffer for both of us.  

"be careful what you wish for...."

(The buttons at the top of the photo album screen will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started)

Clearing for the pond, continued.... (click here) 

Done for this year....


 Jeesh, what a difference a couple-three weeks makes.  The entire pond area has been cleared to the water-line, and then further back still to allow the "dirt shelf" roadway to be built up around about 85% of the perimeter.  All the timber that was extracted from the entire area has been burned.  Any remaining root balls have been buried in areas where there will be no substantial excavation nor effect on the finished pond.  The only waste left is 2 smoldering piles of ashes and the residudual dirt that got scraped up while compacting them for a complete burn.  John has run the earth-mover in the rough areas, using it to scrape up the roots and scraps, leaving a very clean site.  Red has pre-cut a core at the very bottom of the dam site valley and then filled it back in.  It will facilitate installation of the construction drain next year (kinda complicated, but not really....will be better explained next year).  The photo album has a set of pix showing this core work.  By my very rough calculations, we have about 5 acres cleared in the pond area and about 3/4 - 1 acre behind and downstream of the dam.  I have measured the length of the top of the dam and got about 265 feet.  As expected, we have about 10 ft of water depth in front of the dam BEFORE we start excavating.  For the record, John buried the root balls from "pond burn-pile #3" in the area just behind the dam site where a whole buncha waste soil will be piled over it during construction.  Using the backhoe, he dug down about 13 feet and the good clay never stopped; not a sign of compromise.  

We now have about 9 months to think and "pond-er" alot of very important details.  Our main concern for this project is to develop a beautiful and tranquil water feature, but we have a chance to create an equally appealing fish habitat.  We have much to learn, and so little time to do it....we are up to the challenge.  In the meantime, we will hunker down for the winter and lick our $ wounds. 

 All things considered, the results are awesome. 

(A page guide is in the upper right hand corner of the screen and the buttons at the top will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started)  

Pond Clearing Done (click here) 








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