When I was seven, Dad took me and my six siblings to a local farm pond for some evening fishing. Fishing in a farm pond was a pretty regular occurrence for us. But this time, the fish were really jumping! In my memory of that night, the bullheads were biting on everything, including bare hooks. I think the seven of us kids caught every fish in the lake …maybe twice. As fast as we could catch them, Dad was busy pulling the fish off the hook and threading a worm back on. For sure, bullheads are no trophy fish. Nevertheless, anyone who has fished with a child knows it is not the species or size of fish – it’s simply the number caught. I am sure Dad was looking forward to a quiet relaxing evening; fishing off the bank and watching the sun set. But knowing Dad, he probably had just as much fun knowing we were soaking in the outdoor experience.
My Dad is always curious about new stuff, so last week I showed him the newly released “Version II” of Agren® PondBuilder. I must say, the design outputs are a work of art. My Dad thought so too. With our newest version, anyone, with a little practice, can design a pond in about 15 minutes. I showed dad at least 10 options for a pond on his farm. I could have shown him over 100 options in that same time. Dad could have spent the rest of the afternoon designing ponds throughout Shelby County, envisioning the endless number of private fishing holes he could enjoy. What a wonderful dream! And one that has the potential to become a reality.
In addition to the enjoyment ponds bring to so many people, ponds may be our best chance to modify the out-of-control hydrology messing with the landscape. As conservationists, can we agree we need to give pond building and pond placement more thoughtful consideration? I think we need to return ponds to our “must-use” list of conservation practices. But we need to build them with optimum specifications. If we put ponds on our must-use-list, we need to use precision conservation and plan them for the selected purpose.
When building ponds for optimal flood control, it is critical to consider the pipe size and the temporary pool. The larger the temporary pool, the more water a pond can hold temporarily before it is released. The smaller the pipe, the slower water is released. Both pipe size and temporary water storage contribute to slowing water runoff, and the potential to reduce downstream flooding.
So you are probably thinking, it all sounds simple. And actually, it is simple with the new version of Agren® PondBuilder. Now, in 10 or 15 minutes, users can develop an accurate pond estimate and cost breakdown. This means that a conservation planner can easily plan 30 different pond locations in one day. And in one week, a planner can locate sites for as many as 150 different structures. With an additional week of work, a planner can rate the 150 sites and determine the most efficient and cost-effective pond locations for reducing downstream flooding. Details for each pond and every option is available in a PondBuilder report. Pretty slick!
PondBuilder software program is web-based, with all the necessary databases (aerial photos, soils map, digital elevation model, and contour map) operating in the background or available to the user. All calculations are based on LiDAR data using established design standards.
With PondBuilder, there is simply no excuse for not placing ponds in the best location to reduce flooding. It is easy and it is fast. Hopefully the conservation community can refocus on the looming issue of hydrology by building more ponds and other water retention structures. Hopefully, they become fashionable again. And in the process, we can make fishing more accessible to dads and their kids.
Mark your calendar to join me for a webinar on Wednesday, March 1st starting at 9:30 am CST and concluding at 10:30 am. I will design a new pond every 10 minutes. At the same time, you will be able to get your questions answered. Join me anytime within the hour, and stay connected for as long as you like. Contact me today to receive your webinar connection information. I am excited to show you what our amazing design tool can do!