I've been giving this topic a lot of thought lately, and spending some time on-line researching options.
From what I can see, in the right situation, building your own pond isn't that difficult, or expensive - but much depends on the location, and what purpose you intend the pond to serve.
I've got about 9 acres of river bottom land that is essentially cleared and free of wetland. About half of the property lies well above the river surface (where our house sits), and the other half lies perhaps 8-10 feet above the average year water level of the river.
The "lower" section of land is flattened out well below the section where building is allowed, and gradually slopes down to the river bank. We've actually had water up in the yard in recent days with the spring flooding.
I wouldn't presume to dig a pond here for the purpose of raising fish. I can simply walk down to my river frontage and catch walleyes, cats, smallies, pike and whatever else is swimming around - we actually have a really nice hole right behind a beautiful rocky riffle area right at the end of our property. I'm truly blessed!
What I'd like to see is something akin to a wildlife sanctuary just off the river. We constantly have ducks, geese, deer and other critters crossing our bottom land, but there's nothing there but mowed grass, and my kidney shaped putting green (it's a 250 yd. drive from the house down to the river's edge where my green sits). I am truly
The lower terrain slopes gradually enough that I could easily dig away the "uphill" slope a little, and carve out just enough of the middle, to "berm up" the downhill side of the pond. I actually don't think I'd have to move all that much earth.
My only concern is if it would hold water? I looked at pond liners and the cost is out of the question for a pond the size I'm thinking of. I was hoping for something around 1-1 1/2 acres, about 3-6 feet deep. I'd have to include a couple small islands for nesting habitat for local ducks and geese, as well as a few domestic poultry of our own.
An interesting thought occured to me. I was wondering if I couldn't lay my hands on an old abandoned windmill, sink a shallow sand point well (I'm betting the water table isn't more than 10-15 feet down with the river so nearby) and just constantly feed the pond with fresh well water everytime the wind blows. The influx of fresh water would keep the thing from getting stagnant, aerated, and like it was stated earlier, provide me with an opportunity to create some nice looking natural rock waterfalls and landscaping.
The pond would also sit directly in the path of the spring snow runoff from on top of the hill, so it would fill naturally each spring with more fresh water. An outlet would be a very simple matter of a controlled water release downhill and into the river.
If I did need it, is clay expensive, and how thick of a layer of clay would I need to retain water?
My wife thinks I'm completely insane, but I'm in love with this idea, and the thought of having our own winter skating rink is definately a big attraction as well.