creating a natural stream

calebAugust 26, 2003

I have a 200 acre piece of land in the New York Catskill mountains containing a pretty steep hill. On top of the hill there's a strip of flat land. The land has no moving water other than a few seasonal brooks but I'm told that natural springs abound in the area.

I'm thinking about the possibility of drilling a well to form a pond on top of the mountain and then let the water run down the mountain in the form of a stream.

Has any of you had any experience with this kind of project.

Is this doable? Would greatly appreciate any advice.



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clarysage1717(s.central pa z6)

Caleb, contact the closest college with a civil engineering department and see if some of the senior students would be interested in pursuing this as a project. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of my offspring-engineer and his classmates. They study the kind of thing one needs to know in order to locate the water source, manage the runoff without causing erosion, etc.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2003 at 11:31AM
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So You say you want to pump water from a well on top of a hill to create a stream.
And you do not have power.
And you want a generator that will not make noise.
Trying to power a mid size house and a waterfall with solar panels?


    Bookmark   September 6, 2003 at 12:51AM
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Do you have a suggestion or at least a constructive comment, or are you just being a jerk?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 11:13PM
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Well WacoJohn If you will check caleb's other posts.

His ideas are so rediculous and unrealistic that such plans should be stopped before they are allowed to continue, as a favor to caleb. DUH!!!

And in a nutshell, this qualifies as a suggesttion AND a constructive comment.

Not a jerk but I know a dumb@ss when I see a post from one.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2003 at 11:53PM
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This forum is supposed to be a safe place for people to learn through other folks sharing their advice and experiences. Forum concepts also include people having the right to ask questions and receive RESPECTFUL comments or answers in return. That way we all benefit and grow from the experience.
Your comments, jackal411, are not constructive; they are abusive. I don't believe WacoJohn mentioned anything about living in an apartment (as you suggested) or using a generator (as you "assumed" in your post) for his project.
Calling WacoJohn a "dum@ss" is simply uncalled for and you should be "booted" for it. Where do you get off pre-judging an individual for asking a simple question?
As a matter of fact, it is my belief that creating a pond or "water catch" system on the upper plateau of his 200 acres and channelling the water source into a gravity fed mountain stream is pretty darned ingenious. And for your information, it is doable without generators or solar panels.
I live on the west coast of Canada where substantial and old growth forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. We just lost a man-made estuary down the road last week to a marina development. It used to be a "log pond" for a dry land sort. Now the roadside is littered with the bodies of woodland creatures that have been driven out of their habit and the seabird nesting sites are barren.

Several years ago I had a property with a lot of natural springs. We drilled a well that tapped into an underground water source and it free-flowed fresh water like a fountain. We wanted to "give back" to nature what we had taken by building on this wilderness property so we let the well go.

In a short period of time it formed a pond and gravity fed stream. Nature took over and an ecosystem was born.
The benefits were incredible! Almost overnight, we had frogs, birds, animals, plants, insects, etc., living on our property in symbiotic unison.

I can't tell you how beautiful it was to sit by that pond/stream and watch birds raising their young or deer coming by at dawn for a drink. At night, the wetlands came alive with bats, nighthawks and other creatures. The chorus of bird songs, crickets and frogs was so peaceful. It was like having a nature sanctuary in my own backyard.

The new owners were from the city and bought the property specifically for the natural beauty we had created. As a matter of fact, we got a handsome profit for our efforts and the owners became habit stewards!

That's a double plus...any way you cut it.

I have been a conservationist for most of my 49 years and worked on several environmental research studies. Through those experiences I realised that nature is literally "under attack" by mankind and nature needs all the help we can give it. The environmental benefits of wetland habits are seriously under estimated so it is considered expendable and easily destroyed without malice of forethought by many.
My only wish, is more people like WacoJohn would give more thought and consideration to the environment within their properties; instead of "plundering" it for their own personal/financial benefit. Imagine the environmental impact if each property owner created individual ecosystems on their lands.

So jackal411 consider this...
WacoJohn owns 200 acres and wants to create an ecosystem that will help the environment. I say his idea is pure genius and doable. Bravo for WacoJohn!
What are you doing jackal411; besides throwing heckles from the "peanut gallery"?

We're a global community. Are you doing your part?


    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 1:44PM
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if you have "natural springs" on the property they will have already established a stream or seasonal stream.

If there is year round water on top of the hill, it is probably part of a local aquifier, and so, is already part of the local water cycle used by nature and your neighbors, so you may be taking water from somebody else.

Natural aquifiers are either part of the local water cycle, ( seasonal snow and rain captured by the rock and slowly released during the seasons), or trapped fossil water geologically locked away millions of years ago and replentished either slowly, or never.

If there is not year round water on top of the hill, it becomes cost prohibitive and impractical to pump up a verticle height exceeding 250 feet.

It will cost between $4000 and $8000 to drill a well, price dependant on depth.

To etablish a pond, a 10 foot depth provides in Catskills little more than a livestock pond or wetland. A 30 foot depth provides a marginal lake and a 40 foot depth provides a viable lake. That is a lot of earth to move for a lake.

Solar powered deep well pumps exist, that can be also agumented with windpower that can pump from depth to provide a water source for a lined pond and lined stream. A basic set up will cost $800 plus the cost of wiring, pole mounts and plumbing. For another $800 plus a wind generator can be added to provide additional pumping in winter and at night. With out a liner, I am afraid that the water pumped will be absorbed by the ground as fast as it is pumped. Liner ranges from reasonable, ( locally sourced raw clay) to expensive, (butyl rubber membrane).

This pump will provide the equvalent of a garden hose stream of water.

Your best bet, is in the heat of late summer, in the flat spot meadow on top of the hill, dig a test well 2' x 2' x 10' deep. Every day for a period of several weeks, check the hole for water and measure the volume. If the hole fills partially with water, by calculating the speed at which the hole fills, you can estimate the volume of water moving through the soil. If the hole stays dry, a lake, pond, livestock pond or wetland and a stream is probably impractical.

If the hole quickly fills with water, say to an 8' depth, then digging a lake, pond, livestock pond or wetland is possible, and a stream may even be possible by digging a sloped channel to the edge of the hill.

If a lake, pond, livestock pond or wetland is possible, first, dig the required hole and let if fill.

To add a year round stream, dig a streambed after the lake, pond or wetland is established starting 4" below the lowest high water mark, ( usually late summer) to the edge of the hill.

Keep in mind, that having changed the local hydrodynamics, you will have to account for where the water goes, neighbors may not appreciate getting flooded out in spring, and there may be unintended consequences, like your or a neighbors well going dry or a nearby year round stream drying up.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 4:04PM
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"if you have "natural springs" on the property they will have already established a stream or seasonal stream." I have two spring and this is my experience. Although I divert the water to a 1550 gallon storage tank for me to pump from. The overflow is then diverted back to the stream fro those downhill.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 10:39PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

2 issues:

Every drop of water belongs to someone, so you'll need a permit to tap into the water. In some areas, that is easy. In other areas, it is not.

The water has to go someplace and if your project floods your downhill neighbor, you are going to be liable for damage. So you need to think about where that water will go.

Windmill pump can keep a stock tank filled and provide a wet spot a couple feet in diameter. It's not going to provide a creek.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 3:52PM
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Good for you !! Tell these fresh know it alls off ! They don't belong on ANY forum.
I would call county authorities brfoe I undertook any big water project.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 8:59PM
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