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Clearing Site and Digging Core Trench

Watch a video on "Clearing the Pond Site and Habitat Enhancement."

While the site is being cleared, a fishery biologist should be consulted regarding recommendations that would enhance the fishing. For example, brush piles or standing trees can be left in specified areas to serve as fish attractors. Advice can also be given regarding underwater contours (mounds or ditches), suitable sites for spawning substrate (gravel), or placement of docks and piers.

The core of the dam is the most important part of pond construction.
Watch a video on "Digging the Core Trench."

Coring the dam is vital to the success and safety of the pond. The core trench of a dam may be compared to the foundation of a building. An earthen dam must have a clay core to bond the above-ground portion of the dam to the subsoil. The clay core should extend to the top of the dam. Coring prevents excessive seepage and loss of water. The core trench should extend a minimum of 3 feet into desirable subsoil, have a width of about twice its estimated depth, and should be filled with the best clay available. The NRCS should be contacted to determine if adequate clay is nearby and to periodically inspect the dam as it is being cored.

The information above came from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division's booklet Sportfish Management in Alabama Ponds, which is available as a PDF.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has additional information.

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