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Pond in swamp area

NorthBranch

Buck Fawn
I have a location on my property in central Wisconsin that seems to be near the water table and may be a great place for a pond. The issue is it's in a swamp with trees, etc. Most of the summer there is standing water, except during the real dry periods when water is only standing in lower parts of the swamp. Has anyone ever tried digging a pond in an area like this? Would permitting be an issue? It's about 2.5 acres in total. Attached are some pictures during the driest point during the summer. Appreciate any feedback you have.
 

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Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
It's really doubtful that you could get a permit to do anything with an existing wetland. I have land in Rusk County WI and I wanted to build a pond in a seasonal wetland. The USFWS came out and thought it was a great idea and even designed a dam and offered to pay for part of it since it would benefit waterfowl and wetland critters. The project first needed approval from both the DNR and the corps of engineers and they came out and both said No. They both agreed the wetland would get bigger and better, but technically it was changing a wetland and that is not allowed. Even if changing it makes it better.
 

H20fwler

5 year old buck +
Agree state red tape can be a pain on wetlands, it looks like you kind of have an awesome vernal pond already that has to benefit a lot of wildlife. If you want a more of a traditional pond pick a spot where the state won't squawk and put it in.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
I have an area just like that, and I just wanted to dig it a little deeper so as to get closer to the water table, and there would be standing water longer in the year. I talked to a forester, and emailed a DNR guy a few times about it, and I just went on to bigger and better things. But I think if you just dug it a little deeper, it would be hard to prove you changed much? But do so at the risk of having to return it to the way it was.
 

ruskbucks

5 year old buck +
Agree , If you want to do it legally, they would never allow it. A 2 1/2 acre pond is a good size, that would be seen with satellite imagery. I know someone who was caught this way. The DNR likes shallow wetland areas, not deep fish ponds. All they have to do is find a plant that grows in wetlands and it will be a designated wetland. The right kind of soil will also determine if it is considered a wetland. I have seen them designate wetlands in a farm field that has been farmed and never held a drop of water just cause the soil.
 

FarmerDan

5 year old buck +
I have far too many beavers. If you can catch them, you can have them....
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Feel mightily blessed to have use of my pond... about 25 acres of pure Heaven on Earth.

Great diversity of wildlife IN and ALL AROUND it, to the point of even being protected against future development thanks to quite a few threatened / protected botanical and wildlife species benefiting from it. Yet... it was a sweetgum-filled bog before the trees were cut waist high with two-man saws back in the late 1930s, and I'd bet about every penny I have the govt would make it dang near impossible to construct it today.

Can't say all is bad nowadays nor that things were all perfect back then, but posts like this where folks can't do sensible things due to short-minded red tape drive me nuts a bit.

Crow Pond.jpg
 

FarmerDan

5 year old buck +
No, I haven't any experience trying to build a pond in a wetland, but I do have some experience with wetlands. If you want to seriously pursue this you should seek some opinion from those who have everyday dealings with the subject...not to diminish the thoughts and experiences of the comments above for its a complicated subject. Not that these agencies have any regulatory authority, but you might seek thoughts from your local soil and water conservation district, local NRCS district conservationist, and state agency responsible for environmental quality - just for educational purposes. And, whatever you may discover, they are only the opinions of knowledgeable people outside the final determining authority.

The Army Corp may have regulatory authority. It just depends where this purposed piece of land is located in relation to potentially navigable waters, tributaries to those waters and the marshes inseparable from them. If the location is in a regulated area you still may be able to accomplish your objective, depending on what it is. Clearing land and building a dam? Probably not. Cutting trees and leaving stumps, maybe. Digging some dirt might depend on several factors. As I understand it, before Army Corp can issue a determination you must apply for a permit and present a proposal. Therein lies the rub. There are independent, for-hire wetland specialists who can help with that process. Is it worth it? I dunno. Unfortunately, or vice-versa depending on your view, the law does not differential between the big projects and the small. However, I've worked with some Corp people who have provided enough leniency to allow projects that would not get approved if proposed on a large scale.

That's my free advice and what it's worth given the price.

The issue of farming a defined wetland is governed by a whole different set of regulations - and it is possible to do it if one wants to forfeit any benefits paid by USDA in support of farm policy.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
One of the first issues that has to be addressed is any soil removed from the wetland area has to be moved to a non-wetland area.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
In WI it is almost impossible to legally change a wetland - I had the wetland guy from the DNR and the wetland guy from the corps of engineers tell me that when they were looking at my USFWS wetland improvement proposal. They said in the past it was pretty easier to get wetland improvement approval, but current rules basically make it impossible unless the wetland is seriously degraded.

On a side note, I asked them if they gave a permit to a project down the road that dug a trench through a swamp and used the dirt to make an ATV trail through the swamp. They did this right next to a blacktop road. They said they did not give a permit for that and it is illegal. I pulled up an aerial picture on my phone and showed them so they could see it. They agreed it wasn't legal, but said they didn't receive a complaint about that so they aren't going to do anything.

Based on that response, I think the only people turned down to build ponds or wetland excavations are the guys who bother to ask!
 

WeedyJ

5 year old buck +
I spent a lot of time talking with the Corps, and found out it was gonna cost A LOT and take a couple of years to find out if I even COULD begin to work in my wetland. Two things I learned that may help you: 1) If you have any type of consistent water flow through there and beavers, pile up a little brush to create a small berm. When the beavers hear that water flowing around even a small pile, they will take it from there. 2) The Corps has a "One scoop" rule, or something to that effect, that allows you to park an excavator on dry land, reach out and take a scoop out of the wetland and deposit it in the dry land. Perhaps you could hire an excavator with a 60 ft boom to be able to help you get what you want. Of course, I would ask first.
 

Big Snow Man

5 year old buck +
Your going to put in a lot of work for not much results. As they say “the juice is not worth the squeeze ”. I had a neighbor do basically the same thing and it took two years of red tape with the DNR and Army Corp Of Engineers. After he did it he didn’t hold any water when it was dry! If your in sand it won’t hold much even with a spring.
 

jsasker007

5 year old buck +
Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness later than to get permission now. If you have any of that area under tree canopy in the summer then that's your best option to do it and not draw as much attention. I would advise against saying a word to anyone about your project----people like to talk waaaay to much about others.jmho
 

Big Snow Man

5 year old buck +
Good luck with that
 

WeedyJ

5 year old buck +
Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness later than to get permission now. If you have any of that area under tree canopy in the summer then that's your best option to do it and not draw as much attention. I would advise against saying a word to anyone about your project----people like to talk waaaay to much about others.jmho
When it comes to the Corps forgiveness has a steep price from what I understand
 

Big Snow Man

5 year old buck +
Ya higher than if you would have asked in the first place. If it’s a building or a hole in the ground they have caught onto the forgiveness stunt and throw the book at you.
 

jsasker007

5 year old buck +
Then it sounds like the ONLY answer is NO YOU CAN'T DO IT. good luck
 

St. Croix

A good 3 year old buck
Sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness! Throw the spoil in a non wetland area and you should be ok. The largest threat is filling of a wetland. If you are able to avoid that and choose to go the non permited way you should be able to defend your actions.
 
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