Let There Be Ponds!

We are harnessing the power of water to restore, rehabilitate, and rejuvenate our property and make it more attractive to wildlife. One way to do this is to make a lot of ponds! The ponds catch and store rainwater so it can be used by plants and animals instead of just running off the land. We don’t use pond liners so that the water can eventually sink into the water table to recharge it.

We are making all sorts of ponds and trying different pond building techniques.

Our very first pond was built in February 2015. It’s our biggest and deepest pond. It was build by hand by 6 people.  We wanted Pond No. 1 to be deep so it would hold more water for a longer time The deepest section is two meters deep.

The workers also built two smaller ponds near Pond No. 1. We learned from these smaller ponds that even smaller ponds can hold water for a long time. It’s not that necessary to make the ponds very deep.

In 2016 Tonji decided that he wanted to build the ponds himself. We bought a small backhoe. He built Pond #4 in March 2016. This pond has a small island in the center. It was very popular with the ducks last year! This pond was later renamed Secret Pond.

In 2017 we didn’t build any ponds. Tonji did some pond maintenance and enlarged Pond No. 3.

This year Tonji completed two ponds and is working on a third! It took him 9 days to build Pond No. 5. This pond has a back “wall” made up of mounded dirt that is supposed to hold water and add depth to the pond. At the other end it tapers out to a shallow overflow area. Tonji thinks his backhoe is equivalent to 4 men digging. This pond was finished quickly with the help of workers to move the dirt out and finish the sides by hand. This pond was later renamed Owl Pond.

First he clears the grass with the grass cutter
Oops, stop digging while Barkely inspects the work!
Momo’s turn to inspect the work
Pond No. 5 after one day of rain

Pond No. 6 took only two days to build! It is a small pond that Tonji hopes will provide water for the trees growing by the side. This pond was later renamed Picnic Pond.

start of Pond No. 6
Pond No. 6 or Picnic Pond almost finished, will be tapered by hand

Pond No. 7 is still under construction. Tonji says this is going to be a big pond. This pond was later renamed Faraway Pond.

Day one of Pond No. 7 or Faraway Pond
Tonji’s companion while digging for 3 days! 

Pond Stats:

Pond No. 1
built from 25 Feb 2015 to 27 March 2015
current dimension: 17m x 8 m

Pond No. 2
built 2015
did not measure

Pond No. 3 (in 2019 Tonji said he doesn’t really count this as a pond)
built 2015
current dimension: 7m x 4m

Pond No. 4 (now called Secret Pond)
built March 2016
did not measure

Pond No. 5 (now called Owl Pond)
built February 2018  in 9 days
current dimension: 7m x 10m

Pond No. 6 (now called Picnic Pond)
built March 2018 in 2 days
current dimension: 6m x 5m

Pond No. 7 (now called Faraway Pond)
started March 2018
still under construction

note: in 2019 we renamed the ponds. We retained the names of Pond #1 and Pond #2. The rest were renamed because I could not keep track of which pond was which!

6 thoughts on “Let There Be Ponds!”

  1. Sylvia, aside from the ducks, did you notice any previously unrecorded species appearing since you dug the ponds ?

    1. Hi Mike! We have been seeing new species every year. We are now at 98 species seen at the farm. I can’t say though how many are a direct result of the ponds. We did notice that the Pied Harriers and other birds hang out a lot in the area of Ponds No. 1, 2, and 3 ! We don’t get to monitor Pond No. 4 as much because we are trying not to disturb the birds there. I noticed more Pink-necked Green Pigeons in that area now.

    1. Thanks Des! Local reeds would be nice, but have not yet figured out where to get them and how to plant. We are just letting things grow by themselves. No water hyacinth so far, thank goodness!

  2. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to see that there are people like you already doing projects and things that I too one day soon will be able to accomplish as well. I have been looking at agricultural lands in Cebu (where I was born) and hoping to turn it into a wildlife sanctuary as well. It is my lifelong dream to be able to give back to nature and especially to be able to be a part of saving the remaining flora and fauna there. I know that it would be a very fulfilling life to be able to do so. I commend you guys for doing what you do. You have become a huge inspiration and have motivated me even more so to fulfill my dreams. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kenneth! I wish you all the best! It’s always nice to hear from kindred souls! This project has been one of the best and most rewarding things we have done. I encourage you wholeheartedly! Do get in touch if you have any questions or want people to listen to your ideas!

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