Instead you can start by looking at a potential new pond site using the Web Soil Survey Software. What this software does is defines a sites suitability for a specific use. In our case we mean the sites ability to be used for pond construction. The software determines pond construction potential by assessing saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) (how well water moves through a media) and the depth to bedrock or other porous materials. This data is then compared to slope to determine a potential pond construction rating. What you get is a visual, numeric, and verbal reading to help understand the rating. Ratings are from “Not Limited” to “Somewhat Limited” to “Very Limited”. A “Not Limited” rating means the soil site is favorable area for pond construction. “Somewhat Limited” means the site is moderately favorable but has specific limitations. A “Very Limited” site means the site has one of more unfavorable components with limitations that will be extremely difficult to overcome. Rating for each parameter start at 0.00 for no limitations and rise to 1.00 for most limited. On the map each soil types rating is shown with a color of green, yellow, or red based on the pond rating. These ratings should not be the determining factor of where a pond can be built but instead give you an idea of what complications to expect. You must still begin construction by digging a test hole. The software also, does not take into account your watershed which is another important part of building the correct size pond. Any limitation can be overcome with proper planning, and in some cases a large budget.
I will walk you through how to assess a location on your own from your computer.
3) Once you find your property use one of the Area of Interest tools (Rectangle AOI or Polygon AOI) to select an area to analyze. The button with the red rectangle gives you a set rectangle AOI and the polygon AOI button lets you define a multi sided area.
4) After you select your AOI the software should update by saying CREATING AOI. Your map then should refresh with your defined area with blue lines through it. Once you are to this point you want to select the tab that says Soil Data Explorer from the 5 tabs at the top of the page.
5) The software will update again and the map should now have orange lines defining soil compositions and soil data markers. On the left side of the map there is a List of Suitabilities and Limitations Ratings. You want to click Water Management.
6) Under water management click Pond Reservoir Areas and then the button that says View Ratings. Do not change the stock settings before clicking View Rating.
8) Note the symbol of your specific planned pond site and scroll down. You will see each symbol followed by the soil type name, rating, and most importantly the reasons for each rating numerically. The rating reason is important because it is going to show you what the limitations to your site could be. Remember a 1.00 is the highest and thus most limited.
This software can do much more then determine pond areas, you can find road base material, clay material, show best locations for roads, and determine types of vegetations that will be most productive. You can also assess 100,000 acres at a time if you are looking to purchase your dream property.
By: Steven Bardin