Farm pond Brown


Old 06-19-07, 10:34 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Farm pond Brown

Hi everyone. We just bought a house on 3.5 acres and after having the acreage mowed - found a pond. Maybe .5 acre or a bit less. Surrounded by lots of trees. Couldn't tell you if anythings in it - because it is mud brown!

How do I clear the pond up and keep it that way? Also - summers here in Texas are rather there something I can do that will help keep it from drying out (like from soil absorbing it)?

We will have livestock that has access to the pond so it needs to be safe to drink.

Any info is appreciated as I have no clue about ponds.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Is water brown from surface water runoff? Is it full of fallen, decomposing leaves and tannic acid? What's its water source. How does the land lay around the pond? What type of vegetation is growing? Is there erosion?

Ponds should be located where they acquire the least amount of soil. Ponds filled with creeks and streams get filled with soil. The best location is where you can dam up a small valley and allow pond to fill. Runoff area should be 5-10 acres per acre of pond. Pond should be at least 6' deep over 20% of pond area. Shallow water should not be less than three feet. Drain and overflow are required to manage excess water during periods of heavy rain. Banks should be at least three feet to avoid plant growth in pond. This would be troublesome if livestock use the pond as a water source. Cattle can cause bank erosion. Many provide alternative water source for livestock and fence off ponds.

If pond is losing water due to seepage, it will likely need to be drained and relined with clay. Most trees should be cut and removed or burned. A few bushes and trees are good for providing cover for fish. 10-15% of pond should have some cover. Do not leave bushes and trees on pond bank or in shallow water. You want to be able to navigate the shore by boat.

With more info, perhaps we can provide greater feedback. You need to contact your Cooperative Extension Agent in your county. He can visit your pond and make recommendations and provide you with a wealth of info on farm pond management. He will also put you in touch with Wildlife Management folks and get your pond stocked once it's a healthy pond.

Here are some links for info on clearing muddy ponds:

Another thought is that the pond could have brown algae bloom. This is often due to runoff containing phosphorous. Algae bloom can suck all the oxygen out of a pond and kill everything that lives in it. If you have algae bloom fence the pond off from livestock. Blue green algae is toxic. Animals should not be allowed to defecate in farm ponds because that makes algae bloom worse. Provide an alternative water source. Some blooms die off after a few weeks, other can last for months or longer depending on amount of rainfall, sunshine, runoff, etc. You could take a sample of the water to the Cooperative Extension Agent to be sent off to the state lab for analysis to make sure water is safe for livestock.

Here are good photos of pond algae:
Old 06-19-07, 11:21 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Well - lets see if I can answer any of those questions.

The pond edge is built up - like is was dug out of a hill. Probably about 3' like you said. I don't see a water source - just rain I guess. It's rained alot here the past couple of months and the land around it is soggy - so I guess it has overflowed.

There's nothing growing on top of the water...but there are some tall green plants growing out of the water on the far bank in the sun.

I have no idea how deep it is. I don't have a boat either...anyway to tell otherwise? (no way am I walking out in it when I can't see in the water!)

Thank you for all the links - I will visit them and also take your advice on calling the extension agent. I've always lived in town so this is all new to me.
Old 06-19-07, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Sounds like they built the pond in the watershed. There could also have been a spring in the hill. Brown water could be from turbidity and erosion. Anything growing on the upper side of the pond to help check the erosion?

If pond overflowed, sounds like it needs a spillway. Plants growing out of water means water is shallow in that area.

Looking forward to learning what the Extension Agent says.
Old 06-20-07, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 3,140
TwelvePole gave you lots of good information. However, it sounds like you have a good old fashion Texas Pothole. The have a clay base with a hardpan inder the clay, making it like a saucer which holds water. They are usually pretty shallow, and ver muddy. There is probably about 1' of soft mud on the bottom. They are sometimes fed by small springs, but usually not. Trees and grass grow around them, because there is water there. Deer and other small animals come there to drink, as well as the birds. The brown color is from the mud. Frogs, birds, or salamendars keep the water stirred up so the mud never really settles out. I am afraid it will never be the pretty little pond in your mind. Will it dry up. Probably yes. It may not go completely dry, but the water will go down. That is just nature. Welcome to the real world of ranch and farm land. Have a good day.
Old 06-21-07, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: somewhere down in texas
Posts: 506
i tend to agree with jack. where in texas are you? most areas dont get rain in june, july and august and the shallow ponds dry up. if you wanted to keep it full for cattle, you will need to drill a well to maintain the pond during the dry season. also, you need to borrow a small boat to get out in the pond and survey the depth. easy as using a rope with a weight tied on. good luck and keep us posted on your findings.
Old 07-13-07, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,474
Pond Depth

Bring out the fishing rod with a float and weight on the end of the line. Move the float up and down the line to check the depth of the pond. Good luck.

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