Monday, March 16, 2009

Installing A Small Ephemeral Pond: Step By Step

I went into Lowes Saturday to buy birdblock netting for my classroom aquaculture project. Netting and a 90 degree L pvc fitting was the extent of my shopping list as I entered the store.
I came out with: 2 Apache blackberry plants, birdblock, a 90 degree pvc fitting, a big bag of potting soil mix, long zip ties, and a plastic shell mini-pond .

The pond was discounted to $10 and I could not resist it.

On Sunday, I hiked out to the recently burned area among the palms to install an ephemeral pond. Natural ephemeral ponds come and go with cycles of rain and drought. These essentially fishless ponds (the horror!) are important to amphibians for reproduction as a lack of fish predators increases the frog, toad, salamander clan's chances of survival.

Step One: I chose this spot as it had a nice mix of sun and shade. It is on the edge of the recently control-burned palm glade.

Step Two: The top soil here is a thick mat of leaf litter and tangled roots above what is essentially beach sand. I used the mattock to chop through the oak, palm, and smilax roots at the surface. I tossed roots out into the surrounding woods and began digging the pond hole.

Step Three: Excavating the hole for the pond shell. My cart has a mesh bottom so I cut a few green palm fronds with the machete to line the cart and hold the excavated sand.

Step Four: Almost done. Time to add the water. This was easy to do as I had about two hundred feet of hose extended down from the house due to last week's burning.

Step Five: I have the pond slightly tilted towards you so that overflow water pours out and around to the left ... your left, my right.

Step 6: After the pond overflow path was established, I excavated the low spot and planted some blue flag iris that I had in pots.
There's more to do.
I want to add some rocks and logs for critter shelter nearby. This being Florida, I will add about two male gambusia minnows just to keep the mosquito population down. They are small enough that their presence should not effect amphibian egg laying.
I will update you on this project as it progresses.


threecollie said...

That is a really neat thing to do! And I like your wagon. As in LIKE!

Dani said...

Manjoyment Monday. Thanks! lol

swamp4me said...

What did you do with your facial hair?!? Oh, and nice ephemeral pond...

swamp4me said...

Just realized you might misinterpret my question -- you look equally magnificent with or without facial hair, I just happen to be a fan of mustaches and beards ;)

robin andrea said...

I was a little taken aback by your clean-shaven face as well. I forget which season you let it grow, and which you shave it off. I guess this must be the off season.

I like that little pond. I could easily see a use for that at the new house, if we were to actually buy one. I like a quick and easy pond. We were fantasizing about two-tiered bird baths, but a little pond has a lot of possibilities. Very nice wagon.

Florida Beach Basics said...

I sunk a rectangular tub used for mixing concrete to make a swimming pool for my box turtle - probably not as deep as yours, but price was right and Pavlov loved it. marge

amarkonmywall said...

I like this post. I'm currently having irrigation issues- the well is running dry- so when everything dries up completely I could have a few of these about the place and 4 coontie from seeds that a friend gave me.

Laura said...

$10.? that beats a deal!

Are you going to set up a camouflage/lean-to of sorts, so that you can hide behind it for photos of the wildlife that come to drink from the pond?

Deb said...

Hooray for ephemeral ponds!

With the 60 degree meltdown here today, it seems my entire yard is one ephemeral pond. But I'm not complaining.

caroline said...

Holy Frogpond, Science word of the week was "vernal pond", I could have used your step by step as my illustration! Whole thing just reeks of vernal equinox, doesn't it?
A pond like that would be truly ephemeral at my house, the deer would drink it dry just like they do with my birdbaths.

tsiya said...

I buried an old cast iron bathtub and planted around it. I put in some Pickerel Rush, some Papyrus I was given, some Hyacinth, and let nature go to work. The frogs just poured in, Bronze Frogs and Southern Leopard Frogs. I went out one morning and the ground was crawling, must have been several thousand Southern Toads small enough to sit on your fingernail.
Just be careful, old Agkistrodon Piscivorus will find it too, he likes to eat little frogs.

SophieMae said...

Dang, that's fast work! I think I mentioned last year the pond form that had been in our shed for several years. It's still there. >:\

Reckon I'll have to trek up to Lowe's this week and see what they have on sale. I do love Lowe's's sales.

Just read your 'I hate monkeys' comment. Me too also. Long as I can remember, I seriously couldn't stand the things. Worse'n cats they are.

NativeMom said...

Nativemom is wondering . . . if you put the fish in to control the mosquitoes, how long will they last? Won't the birds or other critters just eat the fish? My mom had a little man-made pond in her backyard and that's what kept happening to her fish. It just became a birdbath/mosquito pond.

CHEF TROLL said...

Do your neighbors ever " do you a favor" and let you do home-improvement projects on their land
ala Hank Hill of King of the Hill?

Anonymous said...

gee, that's sure nice of you to install a smorgasbord for your feral cats ;-)

Susan Rose said...

This looks like fun! Will it work with a galvanized tub? I have one about that size.

Floridacracker said...

That cart (made in China of course) is a lifesaver around here.

Well, I had fun digging it!

My beard is seasonal I fear ... fall/winter = winter coat of facial hair, spring/summer = bare or mostly bare face.

Quick and easy is right. Fun too. Can't wait to see who uses it this spring.

Love the name of your turtle.

Glad to hear our coontie cubs are still alive!

Seriously! I should'a bought two.

60 degrees! Break out the flipflops!

I'm expecting much deer slurping to occur at this pond.

Same thing happened at our more formal pond near the house.

Do you own a shovel? LOL!
With you on the monkey thing.

What neighbors? LOL!
I love ol Hank.

Hah! LOL! You are probably right.

It would literally work with a sheet of plastic. The longevity is better with the heavier materials.
Your tub would work for a few years probably.

Pablo said...

Is that shovel you have there suited for working in sand? The handle looks unlikely, and the shape of the blade seems odd. Also, who was taking the pix?

Floridacracker said...

Now would I be using an unsuited shovel? Works great! Tripod took the pics.