Abstract: Golf course ponds require periodic dredging to remove unwanted plants and maintain storage capacity. This post discusses a small dredging job.
Pond maintenance dredging involves the removal of plant material and soil spoils from a wetland. Dredging has been done for thousands of years, and the process can be expensive and messy. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Hire a wetland engineer to develop a project scope and process permits. Make sure they include input from a dredging contractor so they will know how to describe the work and plan erosion control. I’ve seen beautifully engineered plans and narratives result in unworkable construction processes. Dredging contractors are then forced to work in an unfamiliar method.
- Keep it clean. This sounds easier than reality. The best scenario is to load the muck into a self-contained (non-leaky) trailer or truck and dump it in its final resting place. You will need to pay a driver and machine time for the trailer, and loading is very slow. Make sure the material is dewatered before loading or you will have a soupy, unstable load to convey to the dump. A rake works better than a bucket for obvious reasons.
- If you can’t load directly, then load on the bank and let the spoils dewater for a few weeks. Make sure the permitting engineer is on-board so you don’t violate an environmental rule or two. The best dewatering scenario has a sloped bank so the excess water drains into two rows of heavily staked hay bales. In a few weeks the spoils will turn to dryer material that will be easier to clean from turf.
These pictures show a small dredge job done with a small excavator mounted on a flat barge with two paddle wheels used for propulsion.
After the operator scooped muck with a six-foot rake, he paddled over to the edge of the pond and dumped the spoils. He trailered the barge to the pond edge, and he completed his work in three days.
The spoils were neatly stacked on the edge of the pond. We trucked out the material and the turf looks good.