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Creating New Pothole

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 Posted 2/4/2010 1:42:43 PM
 

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I have been planning on creating a pothole on my property in North East, Texas and have some questions. I have researched and read all previous seminars and topics and I have a good Idea but I want to see what ya'll think. We have had good duck hunting on our lake without any work done so I think this can bring it to the next level. The potholes will be 2-3 acres on previous hay fields and will try to resemble SWAMPERs masterpiece. Its water source is a creek that will be right next to it so I can manipulate the levels with flashboaard risers. I am trying to figure how to get a photo uploaded so yall can see, but for now, it will be a triangular shape in a corner of a 17 acre hay field with trees on two sides. (I know to make the edges irregular). I sent in for a soil test from biologic and it says I have a fine pH Level for there product Guides Choice and that the nutrients levels arent bad and that i need to add some fertilizer. Now this is what I'm worried about. My county soil survey says its Elbon Soil which is fequently flooded. I know its clayey because everything around there is and it says 0-20 inches is clay, 20-53 inches is silty clay loam, 53-72 is clay. I did See one site say if its protected from flooding people grow cotton, grain sorghum and soybeans.

My main concern is after I do everything is there a possibility that there will be no growth? Can I do anything to it to make growth? Any Ideas on how to go about this?

Im also wondering about, how hard it will be to dig with a bulldozer?

remember the alamo

Post #722122
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 Posted 2/4/2010 2:21:35 PM
 

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hard to tell but its that pen outline on the left. The trees on the top side is the creek

remember the alamo

Post #722129
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 Posted 2/5/2010 5:43:56 PM
 

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land12..............i'm on it!! :)

if you have the capabilities of manipulating the creek, to allow for flooding your adjacent acreage, you may be a great candidate for a Moist Soil Management (MSM) impoundment.  basically you would berm your acreage using the creek as one side, so to speak.

MSM impoundments are the mother of all duck holes!!!   i will be starting one myself on a 6 acare parcel this spring.  while my other pothole properties are killer duck holes (thanks for the compliment by the way :)) they didn't have the required water source to that allowed water manipulation.

i could type a whole bunch of stuff, but to get started, please read the attached Army Corp MSM Impoundment Bulletin.  it is chucked full of all the info you need to know.

once you digest that info, let's talk about the lay of your land with regard to the creek.

in short, MSM impoundments involve flooding, then drawing down to expose the "mud flat", which is then planted or existing vegetation managed, then slowly reflooded again before the migration!!!!!!!!!!  it is absolutely THE BEST land management if ducks are your goal!! :D  you can throw up a couple woodie boxes in the trees and you will be making it even sweeter.

enjoy the reading and i look forward to continued discussion.......(the seasons done and this is what i do for 8 months  :D) 

http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/elpubs/pdf/trel99-11.pdf

ps, if it turns out this is not for you, i will gladly continue the conversation relating to a basic pothole scenario.  by the way. sounds like the soil is perfect for water retention for both MSM or basic pothole.  just so you know, when you construct a pothole, either with a dozer or excavator  (i prefer an excavator, i can explain why later)  you cast back top soil, sort of randomly, into the excavated bottom.  this gives the pothole some organic seeding.  if you don't have the WRP Pothole Construction manual, i'd be happy to attach it to a post for you.

swamper

"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)


Edited: 2/5/2010 5:56:28 PM by Swamper

Post #722403
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 Posted 2/6/2010 4:33:13 PM
 

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Thanks Swamper for another helpful reply, The MSM Impoundment sounds Awesome. I definately want to be able to flood and draw down levels. I Read the bulletin and see where its going. What are the main differnces between a pothole complex and a MSMI? Is it being able to manipulate the water for flooding and drawing down?

I can't tell if you will be able to tell, but in this picture the black arrows are a hill that starts at the road shown in white. (maybe runoff can help) There is a pond in the middle. The yellow is where the hill stops and becomes flat. The red is a slough that fills up when there is alot of rain. It has been filled this last year but im not sure when it is usually. The blue is the creek and it runs north east. The left outlining next to the creek is 2 acres and the other is 1.8 roughly. The whole field is 17 and I can expand. The other side of the creek is not our land

The Creek is around 20 feet deep and 10 to 15 ft. wide, and its water level changes all the time. I dont know if its from the rains because this January is was very low and this summer it was half full? Definatley floods, county says 2 to 5 times a year. It is outlined with trees but there are areas that open for 15 yards without any.

remember the alamo

Post #722506
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 Posted 2/7/2010 3:56:43 PM
 

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ok .........got it!

i will give it some thought.  will likely come up with some more questions.  gotta go get ready for the super bowl.  i'll be back to you in a day or two.

you have some fantastic potential!!!    this will be a slammerization duck hole for sure.  :)

and yes, MSM impoundment relies on manual manipulation of water levels to acheive desired results.  Potholes rely soley on mother nature to fill or dry up.  the big difference, of course is, MSM maximizes a properties potential.  having access to water is the key. and you have it.  given a choice, MSM is a no brainer if you're a duck hunter.  is the land in question, (within that 17 acre parcel) fairly flat?  you could impound the entire 17, grow corn or soybean or millet, then flood it for the hunting season.  or you could impound half of it and incorporate some seasonal potholes in the other half (fantastic nesting habitat)........or any combination thereof.  the key here is to harness the creek water.   since you don't own both sides, consideraton of your neighbor is a must. 

last question of the day.........do you have access to heavy equipment and/or do you have some cash to invest in this process. a lot of what i can suggest, depends on your available funds.     

take care

swamper

"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)


Edited: 2/7/2010 4:15:18 PM by Swamper

Post #722636
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 Posted 2/8/2010 12:29:12 PM
 

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Hey Swamper,

The land in question is flat as can be. It has some trenches but nothing that will affect the project. MSM is definately what i want to go with. I have talked to local heavy equipment retailers and have weekly rental prices which i can work with. For right now, this year, I want to start off creating the main objective (MSM) and next year I am definately going to either add onto the MSM size or created the seasonal potholes you have suggested until the whole 17 acres is a duck mecca. A couple of questions:  how long does a task like this take? and what kind of water control strucutre are the best to use? I have seen flashboard risers and screw gates, also I dont know if the work well but flap gates.

remember the alamo

Post #722724
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 Posted 2/8/2010 1:37:53 PM
 

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howdy

let's move the chains ahead a little and assume for now that the water from creek to impoundment issue is resolved.  

i'm a retired contractor and always went on the idea that bigger is better when it comes to digging holes and pushing dirt.  there always exceptions, but this isn't one of them.  therefore, i would recommend using a dozer (D6 Cat) would be perfect, if you can afford it.  always remember one thing, a bigger machine, although seemingly more costly by looking at rental rates, can get the job done faster than its smaller, cheaper counterpart and therefore saving money over the life of the project. i can't see you using anything smaller than a D4 for this project.

if not yourself, find someone who is really good in the seat and you will move some dirt!!

the MSM manual recommends 5 acres as the smallest impoundment.  you will encompass the entire impoundment with a levee (berm).  think of it as a shallow bath tub.  optimum depth of the water at full flooding is 18" to 2 feet.  so you will want to have your berm height at no less than 3 feet.  this will give you one foot of "freeboard".  incorporate a spillway in your berm  that will let excess water out and maintain your 2 foot maximum level.   the dozer will strip off and stockpile the topsoil from underneath the footprint of the berm.  the soil you use to build your berm can come from either the inside of the impoundent or the outside.  we'll discuss that later and estimate the amount of soil required to build the berm. first you have to decide how much of that 17 you want to impoundment to get started.  if you took it from inside, perhaps you could take it from both ends, leaving you two deep water areas with MSM over the rest.  that might be awesome!  it would give you a diverse impoundment. i have read that ringnecks really like the deeper holes in a MSM impoundment.

i''l be doing a 5 acre impoundment, same berm height as you etc.    i'm estimating about 2 weeks of dozer work to complete the berm.  beyond that i haven't given much thought.

i'll take a break now.  the next time we talk, i'll give you a link to my recommended water level structure and a cross section on how to properly build a berm.

this is very interesting to me.  as i mentioned, while i have 2 other properties that i have developed, this is my first MSM. although the construction of it is not new stuff, the whole concept is.  so it will be fun as you and i go along with this.  my property is being funded 100% by the federal government through WRP program.  it took 2 full years to get it to this point.  the land will be forever wetland as part of the agreement. but it's a swamp!!!.........so            it's all good! 

also, you are in texas and i am up here in upstate ny where the snow is still falling as we speak.  you're going to likely get a head start on me.

later

swamper

"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)

Post #722735
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 Posted 2/8/2010 2:47:22 PM
 

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yo,  misc. links and infor

1.  inline water structure....  www.agridrain.com     

INLINE03X08PInline WCS 3'x8" PVC
$505.05

the above 3 foot high structure should work.  check out the agridrain site, lot's of good wetland goodies!

2.  Berm (low embankment) Construction Design Sheet

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NY/Engineering/drawings/wetlands/ny-eng-659a_1-2.pdf

3.  Pothole Construction Design sheet

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NY/Engineering/drawings/wetlands/ny-eng-774.pdf

the notes on these drawings pretty much say it all.

i did some quick math.  since i will be doing a 5 acre MSM......

no matter what the configuration (my property is long and narrow) we will need 2200 lineal feet of berm to impound 5 acres.  the standard berm design is bottom of berm is 5 feet wide for every 1 vertical foot.  we will be 3 feet high therefore 3 feet requires 5 x 3 wide at the bottom or......15 feet wide at the bottom.  FYI, we want a minimum of 6 feet across at the top. 

so............2200 lineal feet at required dimensions is aprox. 3000 cubic yards of excavated soil to build the berm.  i did the math and if you excavate 1/2 acre at 2 foot deep, at both ends, that gives you the 3000 cubic yard. at full flood stage you have two, one half acre "ponds" at each end leaving the remaining 4 of the 5 acres as 2 foot deep MSM. (at full flooded levels).   

during full draw down you would have the two 1/2 acre ends of the impoundment holding 2 foot of water.  that would be fine!  the manual says that draw down sometimes displaces new born ducks and they will have water and protection within the impoundment.

i may very well do the same thing.  i have the WRP engineers to deal with, but they generally are very open to the landowners ideas.

if there is anything unclear here, let me know and i will try again.  maybe i can send you a diagrahm or something if i need to.

"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)

Post #722741
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 Posted 2/8/2010 3:09:56 PM
 

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here is a first graders diagrahm :D

the impoundment doesn't have to be that irregular in shape, but i hope this gets my point across with regard to getting the soil you need to build the berm.  if you increase the size of the impoundment, then just increase the size of the excavated pothole/ponds at each end.

now it's a matter of figuring out how to get the water from the creek to the impoundment.  you could always pump it in from the creek...... 

more discusson later

"Cripples are our worst legacy. Hunt with a Retriever."

"Phil Robertson calls me for advice." :)

Post #722744
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 Posted 2/8/2010 6:50:58 PM
 

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Small point of correction Ed..... The correct berm has 5:1 side slopes on both sides.  That coupled with a 6' top width results in a cross-sectional area of 63 sq ft.    2200 Lf of that results in 5133 CY of material.

One other thing to keep in mind, for smaller dozers, anything much over a 500' push for the mass earth moving and the dozer gets to be very inefficient.  If you're paying for the equipment time or paying someone else to do it, your money would be better spent on a track-loader, like a 953 Cat or ideally a track loader and truck if getting anywhere near a 1000' move.

Around here rental on a 953 is less than a D6 and hourly rates are only slightly more than for a D5.  A good operator can do a fine job of finish grading the berm w/ a track loader.

Edited: 2/8/2010 7:02:06 PM by rtcbob

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