NANFA-- New Pond & 'Gravel Bog'

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Tue, 07 Aug 2001 01:07:59 -0400

Another Pond Update

I'm just about finished with the new pond which includes a 'gravel bog'
that is somewhat modeled off of Ray's Killi Pond.

I began this enterprise late in the Spring just prior to my ill fated
trip to Moon's place. There had been a small hole there - a slop hole
filled with dead leaves and foul smelling water and some Iris and
Threesquare sedge that had been a breeding pool for Black Banded
Sunfishes back in 1997. Now it was only good for breeding mosquitos so I
cleaned it out and pulled the PVC liner (leftover from the renovation of
the main pond in 1987. The old liner now does duty as a cover for a sand

I bought a much bigger 45 mil EDPM liner to line a 20' X 8' hole little
more than knee deep that is dug into the side of the hill just down
slope from my main pond. Plus allowed for a good bit of overlap on the
uphill side to accomodate the bog area that would drain into the pond.
Digging was an on and off affair hampered by frequent rains and hardpan
that forced me to alter the origional plan somewhat and use the soil
excavated from the basin to build up a terrace rather than digging out a
deeper hole. Looks more artificial than I wanted but I just couldn't
bear digging anymore.

After stalling a bit - one weekend about a month ago I got really
serious about deploying the liner. Used recycled poly liners , and old
carpet , even straw and sawdust for the underlayment. Then my friend
Mike & I rolled up the EDPM liner which until that time was helping me
kill grass in prepairation for a new vegetable bed - and we dragged it
to the site and deployed it just in time before it started to rain! I
filled it from the retention pond that I use to store water for
irrigation and topping off ponds and also doubles as a breeding habitat
for some of the local amphibians!

Within a week I was confident about moving the pair of Southern
Starheads - Fundulus notti that Mark Binkley gave me back during the
dead of winter. These were to be the guinea pigs to test the waters
before introducting the other species even though I was fairly confident
that a month in the sun and rain had surely washed any talc or other
harmful substances off the liner. They made it and a week later they
were joined by seven Golden Topminnows - F. chrysotus which now school
with the starheads.
Interesting to note that F. notti seems much more sociable than the
Florida Starheads - F. escambiae I've been working with. They are
nowhere as aggressive and tend to get beat up by the other. During the
winter I put a female escambiae in with the pair of notti and found a
few days later the fins of both notti had beed shredded. They have long
since recovered but may not breed this season - possibly because they
were put outdoors at a much later date than the F. escambiae in the
upper pond from which I already have sizable young!

The bog which drains into the pond is a pocket of quartz gravel
("Maryland Beach Stone")and peat with some granite grit and play sand
added to simulate a seepage bog underlaid with a continuation of the
liner. This setup is modeled off the gravel bogs that used to be common
in the mid atlantic region years ago.

I laid down a geotextile mat and poured gravel on it- I would recommend
to others who wish to follow in my footsteps to ensure that the gravel
they use is quartz or some other non-calcareous pebbles like granite or
possibly lava rock - especially if they want to create a habitat for
plants and fishes that like acid water. I cut the geomat with enough
overlap to bring the mat up and over the gravel to keep the mix above it
from settling into it. Then on top of the upper layer of geotextile I
stated putting down the gravel and peat / sand / grit slurry in
alternating strata - like a layer cake. This phase stated last week and
I used some burlap to cover the peaty substrate to keep rains from
washing it into the pond.

Today I got alot closer to the finale as I topped it with some long
fibered sphagnum and some live moss collected locally. I've begun
planting it some Iris prismatica, Coreopsis rosea from Lowe's and one of
the Irises from Maple Hill plus a pitcher plant from my other bog and
some sundews and the Dwarf Joe Pye weed from Wisconsin last summer.
There is a moisture gradient from sopping wet to well drained and
constantly moist - the upper edge ought to be ideal for interesting
botanical gems like Gentians and Lilium catesbaeii and various bog

Already the water in the pond below is slowly getting a tannic tinge and
I'm sure the fishes just love it. Now if I could just get some Taillight
or Dusky or Sailfin Shiners I'd have a really neat setup strait out of
the Southland!


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