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Well, with COVID having me working remotely for the last year and already being in the consulting feed, added to the need for my mother in law to need our help on a daily basis we are fast tracking our search for new property with dog training and equine use in mind. From those of you who have gone down the path of building a training property have you found a range of the best suitable size? I am sure that more is always better but I have seen some beautiful training facilities on only 20 acres and have seen others on well over 500 acres. We are targeting 50-100acres preferably. One nice tech pond and a swim by area would more than suffice

My biggest question relates to building a pond. I have read many threads here about test holes and engineering surveys etc prior to developing the approach to build a pond. I am a construction manager by trade so very familiar with soil reports, hydrology studies, soil boring etc. Though to do this, you either A) need a property owner willing to let you perform this work B) the property owner already has performed these tests themselves or C) Buy the property at risk and see what you find. With that said, is it best to look to purchase a property that already contains a water source (pond, creek) and simply expand upon the existing or use the existing to supply water to a new pond? Is working with the NRCS something I should look further into? I have talked greatly with Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl about building training ponds as part of a wetland habitat improvement and seemed like grant money will be limited and my best bet would hopefully be to find a developer who needs to perform wildlife replenishment programs for developing land that was a wetland habitat. If I am lucky enough to get a grant or any assistance that is great, but I am not expecting much, especially for a pond for training use.

Just looking for input on suggestions to help us narrow down some properties we are interested in. It would really stink to buy a beautiful featured property only to find out I need to dig wells very deep to supply water to ponds due to limited natural water.
 

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You need to familiarize yourself with Water Rights (serious stuff in the West) & the area's regulators. .
Talk to the local well drillers, they can tell you more about an area's geology than the geologists.
 

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You need to familiarize yourself with Water Rights (serious stuff in the West) & the area's regulators. .
Talk to the local well drillers, they can tell you more about an area's geology than the geologists.
Thanks Marvin, I should have clarified we will be staying in the East. Ive heard crazy stories about water in the West!
 

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A couple things to think about and know:

1) Dog Training Water and Duck Habitat don't go together like you would think they should. Duck habitat should be shallow and drained in the late spring early summer for habitat re-growth. This is the same time you really need your water to be at least 4' feet deep for swimming water and to prevent aquatic growth.
2) Think about how you are going to fill your ponds ( runoff, well, pump from river or creek) If your primary plan is runoff how much rain does your area receive. How much is a well to dig, Pumping what are the water rights and legal aspects
3) Duck's Unlimited, WRP, and other govt. programs have strict rules on making changes to impoundments once completed and also you are on their schedule which in my experience is somewhere between reverse and neutral.
4) Try and find land with a draw or drainage that divides property. If your water concept is on property line then you are limited on usage.
5) When you build try and find a dirt guy that is familiar with what we do. Points, islands, peninsulas, and gently slopping damns and banks are a foreign concept to most operators.
6) Seek help from someone who has built & developed training properties before. It's more art than science and you really need someone who can understand your needs and see the potential for the property.

RD
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A couple things to think about and know:

1) Dog Training Water and Duck Habitat don't go together like you would think they should. Duck habitat should be shallow and drained in the late spring early summer for habitat re-growth. This is the same time you really need your water to be at least 4' feet deep for swimming water and to prevent aquatic growth.
2) Think about how you are going to fill your ponds ( runoff, well, pump from river or creek) If your primary plan is runoff how much rain does your area receive. How much is a well to dig, Pumping what are the water rights and legal aspects
3) Duck's Unlimited, WRP, and other govt. programs have strict rules on making changes to impoundments once completed and also you are on their schedule which in my experience is somewhere between reverse and neutral.
4) Try and find land with a draw or drainage that divides property. If your water concept is on property line then you are limited on usage.
5) When you build try and find a dirt guy that is familiar with what we do. Points, islands, peninsulas, and gently slopping damns and banks are a foreign concept to most operators.
6) Seek help from someone who has built & developed training properties before. It's more art than science and you really need someone who can understand your needs and see the potential for the property.

RD
This is really great advice and much appreciated!
 

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Thanks Marvin, I should have clarified we will be staying in the East. Ive heard crazy stories about water in the West!
Like filling 5 ponds in the desert for $800 a season... lol and only using about 1/3 of your water right? The west is insane! Hahaha
 

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Whatever you do don't deal with DU. It's a slimey organization who uses member funding to promote private duck clubs.
 
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I was in your shoes just last year. The conundrum of knowing the properties that I was looking at to potentially purchase would hold water and be developed into nice training grounds. I settled on a 60+ acre piece of property that had an existing small pond. The existing small pond is not suitable for training at the moment, being it has trees around it. Though I looked at the soil maps and took a bit of a gamble that since that pond was there and stays full year round, it could be expanded in the same area and developed into something useful for training
 

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#9 s response brings a smile and a head nod! Long ago as I was developing a piece of property there was a thought to engage national sporting organization ( or at least try). In the end I didn’t get any help as it meant them telling me how , when and how I could use my own property. Lesson learned from this pilgrim.
Every state operates differently on permits also. Some states are very difficult and others much more lax. Just ask questions before u buy
Then u mentioned solar water pumping - there is at least 1 person with developed retriever property that uses solar power. Most of us use a standard electric set up as it’s what we re used to and u have many supply choices. Solar has some limits with volume where the other is basically unlimited
be aware of evaporation ! A garden hose running 24 hours a day won’t keep a 1 acre pond full from June to September in most areas. Runoff is ambiguous as a pond on top of the hill will get almost no runoff as compared to a pond in the valley.
be careful about sharing your pond(s) with livestock. Cows and horse make deep holes near the bank and those holes are injury makers on your dogs. Personally we moved off and left 16 developed ponds over my friend and partner refusing to keep the cows away from the ponds. We er still friends and partners however I moved and developed water meant for dogs and not shared with livestock.
good luck
Dk
 
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