Farm Pond

A pool of water formed by a dam or pit, to supply water for livestock, recreation               
and wildlife, and to control gully erosion.

How it works

A typical farm pond is formed by building a dam across an existing gully or low lying area. Earth for the dam is dug out above the dam with heavy machinery to form a bowl. Generally the ponded area fills with water within a year. An overflow pipe is installed through the dam to control the water level and allow water to spill through the dam without causing erosion. ""

How it helps

Prevents soil erosion and protects water quality by collecting and storing runoff water.
Provides water for livestock, fish and wildlife, and recreational opportunities.
Adds value and beauty to a farm or farmstead.
Provides a water supply for emergencies.

Planning ahead

Are adequate soil conservation measures installed near the proposed pond site to protect it from filling with sediment?
Is there a dependable source of clean water to fill the pond?
Will the pond store enough water for proposed uses—i.e. livestock, wildlife and recreation?
Is the soil at the proposed site capable of holding water?

Tech notes

Provide for a natural or constructed spillway.
If the dam is for a fish pond, the pool should have at least 1/2 acre of surface area and be at least 8 feet deep. *
The landowner should secure necessary permits or easements.
Divert runoff from feedlots, barnyards and septic tanks if the pond is used for drinking water, livestock, wildlife or recreation.
Clear all trees and shrubs within at least 30 feet of the dam's spillway and embankment. *
Generally for every surface acre of pond there should be at least 10 acres of drainage area. *
Too large a drainage area for the pond site may make the site unfeasible.


Keep outlet free of debris.
Keep burrowing animals, trees and shrubs off the dam.
Maintain grass cover on the dam.

* Criteria may need to be adjusted for local conditions.