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Planning and Building an Excavated Pond - Establishing vegetation

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Establishing vegetation

Trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs should be planted during or soon after construction. Their functions include erosion control, screening, space definition, climate control, and wildlife habitat. The vegetation should be able to survive under prevailing conditions with minimum maintenance. Native varieties are preferred for new plantings.

In many areas the exposed surface of the dam, the auxiliary spillway, and the borrow areas as well as other disturbed surfaces can be protected from erosion by establishing a vegetative community of appropriate species. Prepare a seedbed as soon after con- struction as practicable. This is generally done by disking or harrowing. Fertilize and seed with mixtures of perennial grasses and forbs appropriate for local soil and climatic conditions. If construction is completed when the soils are too dry for the seeds to germinate, irrigate the soils to ensure prompt germina- tion and continued growth. Mulching with a thin layer of straw, fodder, old hay, asphalt, or one of several commercially manufactured materials may be desirable. Mulching not only protects the newly prepared seedbed, seeds, or small plants from rainfall damage, but also conserves moisture and provides conditions favorable for germination and growth.

Soil bioengineering systems should be employed to establish woody vegetation where appropriate on the shorelines of ponds. The systems best suited to these conditions include live stakes, live fascines, brushmattresses, live siltation, and reed clumps. Additional information about these and other soil bioengineering systems is in Part 650, Engineering Field Handbook, chapters 16 and 18.

Trees and shrubs that remain or those planted along the shoreline will be subject to flooding, wave action, or a high water table. The ability to tolerate such drastic changes varies greatly among species. Flood tolerance and resistance to wave action depend on root density and the ability to regenerate from exposed roots.

A planting plan indicating the species and rate of application of the vegetation can be helpful in achieving the desired results. For information on recom- mended plants and grass mixtures, rates of fertilization, and mulching procedures, contact the local representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the county agent.