Construction of a pond alters the environment and thus affects associated wildlife. Negative impacts on wildlife can be minimized if stabilized draws leading into and out of what will be a pond are left unchanged. Trees and other plants growing along such areas serve as wildlife habitat while detaining silt.
The dam or foundation area should always be cleared of trees, boulders, stumps, roots, sod and rubbish. Brush and trees in the fill could lead to leakage through the dam. Brush and trees can be left for fish cover in upper end and side drain pool areas of larger ponds containing bass. More information on this subject is presented in the “Fish Attractors” section. Topsoil containing organic matter should be stockpiled for later use. After construction is complete, this topsoil should be spread over the dam and spillway to help the growth of grasses, and over the basin to increase the productivity of the pond.
Small ponds should have all brush and trees removed from the pool area. This is necessary in small ponds because the majority of soil removed from the impounded area will likely be needed to construct the dam. Brush and trees need to be removed from catfish-only ponds because catfish typically overpopulate in the absence of bass predation if brush and trees are available as spawning sites.
The bottom of the pond should be left rough or irregular to create fish habitat in bass-bluegill-catfish ponds. In addition, drop-offs, islands and trenches should be constructed in the basin when feasible. Catfish-only ponds should have a smooth bottom, again to discourage excessive spawning which could produce an overpopulation of small catfish.