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Our property used to have a small pond. The old owners dug a big ditch and drained it. We've been thinking about filling in the ditch and trying for a pond again. How do I know if this pond has a steady water supply and won't just turn into a swampy mosquito breeding ground? We never thought to ask why the people had it drained to begin with. Any suggestions or helpful websites would be greatly appreciated!!
 

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If you have a constant flow of water through the ditch now, chances are good the pond would fill up again and stay full. If not, then you would have to have a watershed evaluation done. That depends a lot of surrounding elevation and average rainfull.

My neighbor and I have about the same size pond. Mine is spring fed and always has an outflow. His will drop 18-24" during summer unless he pumps in water from a nearby spring run.
 

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I'd check the inflow during winter. Is it a wet-weather creek or ditch feeding the pond? If you find solid flows in wet weather periods, you will likely be able to restore the dam and seal the bottom of the pond with bentonite clay (which you can buy in bags, it is well driller's grout) to prevent water loss in the drier months.

Many, many livestock retention ponds are dug to take advantage of a runoff situation and just hold that water over the months it is dry.

It is best to have a year-around inflow, or a pond fed from underneath by the water table, but most ponds do not have that.

Why was the pond drained? It could be that it was a retention pond, and the bottom had become porous, so it leaked and went dry. The betonite will stop that. (Alternately, you can run pigs in there and they will stomp the bottom sealed over time, but that's a lot more work than bentonite).

Or it could be that the pond raised water levels high enough to make surrounding ground into a wet swamp all year. I had one I drained like that. It was higher than surrounding land on 3 sides, so I restored it to a wet weather creek in order to get use of that swampland back.

As far as mosquitos, they will breed in any pond that has slack water somewhere, which is almost all ponds. There are a variety of products that will interrupt that life cycle in retention ponds.
 

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I've got 7 acres of ponds and I doubt any mosquito survives long enough to emerge and fly away because of the fish in those ponds. Minnows eat virtually everything that fits in their mouth and moves.

There are commercial fish farms that rely exclusively in collecting runoff. If you have the right soil type and enough watershed you can usually have a pond.
 

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Previous owners might have drained the pond because it had silted in and need to be cleaned out. This is best done by allowing the silt to dry for a period of time, thus, cut the dam and drain for a year. Then a dozer can work the silt out of the bottom, back to the original depth.
 

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Can you contact the previous owners and ask them why they drained the pond? That might be a lot cheaper and less trouble than experimenting yourself.
 
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