Kayak-able waterfall?


Old 09-22-04, 07:29 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Kayak-able waterfall?

We're thinking of putting a pond in, and hope to get some advice. The area we're looking to put the pond is about 100' x 50' or so. We're in upstate NY, so it gets pretty cold. How deep do we need to make the pond to support fish and keep them from dying in the winter? Any idea on what the cost of a pond this size would be?

Ideally, I want to create a 4-6' waterfall that you could take a kayak over, and set it up either as a trough-type secondary pool or a natural pool that is fed from a large pump. I've seen something comparable at http://www.hydroenvironments.com/Portable.htm but don't know what sort of impact something like that could have on a pond.

Any idea how large a pump something like this might require? Would a pump/filter this size have an impact on the fish?

Any ideas would be VERY appreciated...

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Old 09-22-04, 06:31 PM
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Location: NC, USA
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Get ready to spend serious money to buy the equipment and to power it. The website you mentioned says the kayak pool takes 480 volt 3 phase power. Generally nothing less than 3-5 horsepower uses that current, and it's usually something much larger. Most residential areas do not have that industrial "flavor" of electricity and there is only so much hp you can get from your normal 200 amp or 400 amp 240 volt residential power. Even amusement and water parks turn off the waterfalls when they are not being used. It takes lots of power to move water.

I've got a 6.5hp pump and it is not close to Kayakable. Raising the water 5-6' it will make a raging creek. Really cool, but not kayak worthy. I'm too lazy to run the numbers, but I'm guessing you need to think around a hundred hp+ to be kayakable. Many cool theme park rivers and rides take thousands of horsepower. You will not be able to filter the water with this pump, it is strictly for the waterfall. You would need a separate filtration system if you want one.

As for making you pond. You need to get someone out for an estimate. Your pond is larger than the basement under most peoples homes, so you will need serious earth moving equipment (Tonka Trucks). How deep do the lakes & ponds in your area freeze in the winter. I imagine your pond will need to be at least twice that depth+ for fish to survive.

I'd forget kayaking and make the pond rectangular so you can play hockey.

I love questions like yours... I've always wanted my own water slide... Oh, and a grotto like Heff...
Old 09-23-04, 06:23 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Hmm...excellent food for thought...sounds like the kayak-able option might be a bit unrealistic...at least, not without a major investment...maybe I can find a theme park going out of business.

I was talking with my neighbor, who bought a bulldozer to put it his own 1-acre pond because it turned out to be cheaper to do that than to pay someone to come dig it for him...I think he built it 10-12' deep so the fish could survive the winter...He just recently filled it back in because, after 6-7 years, it got so filled with weeds & plants that it was fairly unusable...

So, if we put in a pond, how much should we plan on spending (roughly) for a filtration system so we don't end up with his weed problems?

Maybe I'll just start thinking about the grotto option...

Thanks for the input!!
Old 09-23-04, 04:21 PM
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Location: NC, USA
Posts: 17,655
How will the water get into your pond? Will it be fed from a natural creek, runoff from a farmers field, or will you pump it up from a well?

Most water plants/weeds that I have seen grow in shallow water (less than 2' deep), so deep water keeps most at bay and confines them to the edges of the pond. There are floating plants like lillies, hyacinth and duckweed that float on the water's surface and don't care how deep the water is. And there is algae in many different flavors and colors.

The big reason I asked about where the water will come from is that the root cause of many problems is too much nutrients in the water. Plants can't grow without food. Give them lots of food and they grow lots.

The floaters can really go crazy if there are too many nutrients in the water. Since they don't need to touch bottom they can grow and reproduce until they entirely cover the pond. Most of the water that feeds our pond is runoff from neighbors fields. They spread several thousand pounds of fertilizer and some stays in the field and some runs off to our pond. In early summer the duckweed explodes to cover the entire pond. The water underneath is clear and great for fish & turtles but you can't see the water's surface for 6 months of the year. We pump from the pond to irrigate our lawn and it has no pond smell, but it is a bright green all summer from the duckweed on the surface.

If you can control what goes into your pond it's pretty easy to control what lives there. If the water for your pond comes from a farmers field, a dairy farm upstream or if you like to fertilize your lawn you may be fighting an uphill battle to keep the plants under control.
Old 09-24-04, 04:34 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53
Very interesting, that's great to know, since we get a "stream" of run-off from a farmer's corn field coming through our backyard every spring, then it dries up for the summer.

There's also an old well located near where we're thinking of putting in the pond, but I'm not sure if that will provide enough water to fill the pond...

Old 10-21-04, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
Pond construction

Contact your local Dept. of Agriculture Extension Agent for advice and literature on pond construction and on information for any permits required by the Dept. of Natural Resources or Corps of Engineers. Also, do some online research.


It is extremely important that you first check on permits. Locate the pond in the best site possible on your land. You will need a consistent water source and adequate spillway. And, you will need to have a complete understanding of the different stages of building a pond if you are going to DIY.

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