Lakes & Ponds Construction
Lakes, Ponds and Wetlands.
Water. People love it. Wildlife and livestock flock to it. Crops rely on it. Unfortunately, many properties have all the features one would want but lack a great water feature. The good news is that in most of Oklahoma, there is adequate rainfall, good topography, and tight soils to create the water features that you desire.
But not all sites are equal. We start by analyzing the hydrology of the ranch. This involves modeling the different ranch drainages to see which ones capture enough water to supply an appropriately sized water feature. For example, if you goal is a 5-acre lake, then we need to select a location that has the topography that would contain five surface acres and supply enough water to keep the normal pool of the lake where you want it. This is somewhat of a balancing act as drought/flood cycles force us to design to a normal pool elevation while also designing emergency spillways and overflow structures that can handle the flash flows that we get during heavy downpours and periods of extended rain. We must also balance that with creating a structure that will maintain an acceptable water level even during drought conditions. In the case of minimal inflows, it becomes critical to limit water loss through leakage and evaporation by selecting a location with enough clay for the both the dam core and base of the lake. It is also advantageous to build a structure that has a low surface area to depth ratio because deep lakes evaporate proportionally less water than shallow lakes.
Other design considerations focus on your intended use. If you want to create waterfowl habitat, then a flat, gently sloping site near a flyway and dependable water source is more desirable. These types of structures are designed to leave timber, vegetation, and blind locations intact while creating a shallow pool of water that you can lower for planting and then raise later for hunting. In this case, it is essential that we establish a base grade that will facilitate drainage to a headgate that controls the water level. This grade enables the landowner to accurately manage water levels for planting, growing, and attracting waterfowl.
A fishing lake would involve a different approach. Dock location and construction, boat ramps and fish habitat are all crucial design elements that need to be incorporated during construction. In our opinion, it isn’t enough to just to leave some stumps to cast to. Instead, we look past the fish that we want to catch to the organisms that they consume. Designing a sustainable fishing lake requires thoughtful creation of habitat to support healthy populations of invertebrates and small bait fish. If we do that correctly, then the sport fish that you want to catch will thrive. Since a great lake can easily become the focal point of your ranch, we can also help you integrate other improvements like cabins or main homes along the shoreline.
It’s a challenge to make a profit farming and ranching. Droughts can make that challenge even greater if you don’t have the ability to irrigate. Dry weather often results in lost production and failed crops for many farmers, reducing yields and driving up commodity prices. Consequently, that’s when your ability to irrigate can provide the greatest increase in yields and profit for your operation. If irrigation is on your wish list, we can design and install intake structures, pump or gravity flow systems that allow you access and move water to your crops or livestock.