Sandusky Watershed

Note: Impervious surface permit icons, land use icons, and livestock icons do not necessarily indicate exact locations. They are approximate locations on the same land parcel.

SANDUSKY Begins on western side of Richland County → Bucyrus → Lake Erie at Sandusky Bay

Soil Type in the Sandusky Watershed

  • Shoals-Chili-Wheeling
  • Belmore-Haney
  • Fitchville-Luray-Bennington
  • Pewamo-Bennington
  • Rittman-Wadsworth
  • Bennington-Cardington
  • Cardington-Alexandria

Impervious Areas

Total Impervious Areas Created in the Sandusky Watershed*   679,322 sq. ft.

Residential Permits

(Homes, Pole Barns, Additions, etc.)

Least Area Created0
sq. ft.
Most Area Created52,385
sq. ft.

(Less than 2,000 square feet created)

Least Area Created0
sq. ft.
Most Area Created4,000
sq. ft.
Commercial Permits
Least Area Created0
sq. ft.
Most Area Created173,369
sq. ft.

*This figure does not include impervious areas from prior to 2000
**Agriculture is included in permit exemptions

Impervious Areas Created in the Sandusky Watershed by Year

Huron Watershed

Note: Impervious surface permit icons, land use icons, and livestock icons do not necessarily indicate exact locations. They are approximate locations on the same land parcel.

HURON Begins in northern Richland County near Plymouth → Lake Erie at Huron

Soil Type in the Huron Watershed

  • Shoals-Chili-Wheeling
  • Belmore-Haney
  • Fitchville-Luray-Bennington
  • Pewamo-Bennington
  • Bennington-Cardington
  • Wooster-Canfield
  • Cardington-Alexandria

Impervious Areas

Total Impervious Areas Created in the Huron Watershed*   979,320 sq. ft.

Residential Permits

(Homes, Pole Barns, Additions, etc.)

Least Area Created2,664
sq. ft.
Most Area Created42,674
sq. ft.

(Less than 2,000 square feet created)

Least Area Created1,224
sq. ft.
Most Area Created78,130
sq. ft.
Commercial Permits
Least Area Created0
sq. ft.
Most Area Created294,009
sq. ft.

*This figure does not include impervious areas from prior to 2000
**Agriculture is included in permit exemptions

Impervious Areas Created in the Huron Watershed by Year


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Stormwater Management Preferred Practices

Bioretention Cells

A bioretention cell or rain garden is a depressed area with porous backfill (material used to refill an excavation) under a vegetated surface. These areas often have an underdrain to encourage filtration and infiltration, especially in clayey soils. Bioretention cells provide groundwater recharge, pollutant removal, and runoff detention. Bioretention cells are an effective solution in parking lots or urban areas where green space is limited.

Curb and Gutter Elimination

Curbs and gutters transport flow as quickly as possible to a stormwater drain without allowing for infiltration or pollutant removal. Eliminating curbs and gutters can increase sheet flow and reduce runoff volumes. Sheet flow, the form runoff takes when it is uniformly dispersed across a surface, can be established and maintained in an area that does not naturally concentrate flow, such as parking lots. Maintaining sheet flow by eliminating curbs and gutters and directing runoff into vegetated swales or bioretention basins helps to prevent erosion and more closely replicate predevelopment hydraulic conditions. A level spreader, which is an outlet designed to convert concentrated runoff to sheet flow and disperse it uniformly across a slope, may also be incorporated to prevent erosion.

Grassed Swales

Grassed swales are shallow grass-covered hydraulic conveyance channels that help to slow runoff and facilitate infiltration. The suitability of grassed swales depends on land use, soil type, slope, imperviousness of the contributing watershed, and dimensions and slope of the grassed swale system. In general, grassed swales can be used to manage runoff from drainage areas that are less than 4 hectares (10 acres) in size, with slopes no greater than 5 percent. Use of natural, low-lying areas is encouraged and natural drainage courses should be preserved and utilized.

Green Parking Design

Green parking refers to several techniques that, applied together, reduce the contribution of parking lots to total impervious cover. Green parking lot techniques include: setting maximums for the number of parking lots created; minimizing the dimensions of parking lot spaces; utilizing alternative pavers in overflow parking areas; using bioretention areas to treat stormwater; encouraging shared parking; and providing economic incentives for structured parking.

Infiltration Trenches

Infiltration trenches are rock-filled ditches with no outlets. These trenches collect runoff during a storm event and release it into the soil by infiltration (the process through which stormwater runoff penetrates into soil from the ground surface). Infiltration trenches may be used in conjunction with another stormwater management device, such as a grassed swale, to provide both water quality control and peak flow attenuation. Runoff that contains high levels of sediments or hydrocarbons (for example, oil and grease) that may clog the trench are often pretreated with other techniques such as water quality inlets (series of chambers that promote sedimentation of coarse materials and separation of free oil from storm water), inlet protection devices, grassed swales, and vegetated filter strips.

Inlet Protection Devices

Inlet protection devices, also known as hydrodynamic separators, are flow-through structures with a settling or separation unit to remove sediments, oil and grease, trash, and other stormwater pollutants. This technology may be used as pre-treatment for other stormwater management devices. Inlet protection devices are commonly used in potential stormwater “hot spots”—areas where higher concentrations of pollutants are more likely to occur, such as gas stations.

Permeable Pavement

Permeable pavement is an alternative to asphalt or concrete surfaces that allows stormwater to drain through the porous surface to a stone reservoir underneath. The reservoir temporarily stores surface runoff before infiltrating it into the subsoil. The appearance of the alternative surface is often similar to asphalt or concrete, but it is manufactured without fine materials and instead incorporates void spaces that allow for storage and infiltration. Underdrains may also be used below the stone reservoir if soil conditions are not conducive to complete infiltration of runoff.

Permeable Pavers

Permeable pavers promote groundwater recharge. Permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP) are concrete block pavers that create voids on the corners of the pavers (pictured to the right). Concrete grid paver (CGP) systems are composed of concrete blocks made porous by eliminating finer particles in the concrete which creates voids inside the blocks; additionally, the blocks are arranged to create voids between blocks. Plastic turf reinforcing grids (PTRG) are plastic grids that add structural support to the topsoil and reduce compaction to maintain permeability. Grass is encouraged to grow in PTRG, so the roots will help improve permeability due to their root channels.

Rain Barrels and Cisterns

Rain barrels and cisterns harvest rainwater for reuse. Rain barrels are placed outside a building at roof downspouts to store rooftop runoff for later reuse in lawn and garden watering. Cisterns store rainwater in significantly larger volumes in manufactured tanks or underground storage areas. Rainwater collected in cisterns may also be used in non-potable water applications such as toilet flushing. Both cisterns and rain barrels can be implemented without the use of pumping devices by relying on gravity flow instead. Rain barrels and cisterns are low-cost water conservation devices that reduce runoff volume and, for very small storm events, delay and reduce the peak runoff flow rates. Both rain barrels and cisterns can provide a source of chemically untreated “soft water” for gardens and compost, free of most sediment and dissolved salts.

Riparian Buffers

A riparian, or forested, buffer is an area along a shoreline, wetland, or stream where development is restricted or prohibited. The primary function of aquatic buffers is to physically protect and separate a stream, lake, or wetland from future disturbance or encroachment. If properly designed, a buffer can provide stormwater management and can act as a right-of-way during floods, sustaining the integrity of stream ecosystems and habitats.

Sand and Organic Filters

Sand and organic filters direct stormwater runoff through a sand bed to remove floatables, particulate metals, and pollutants. Sand and organic filters provide water quality treatment, reducing sediment, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and fecal coliform bacteria, although dissolved metal and nutrient removal through sand filters is often low. Sand and organic filters are typically used as a component of a treatment train to remove pollution from stormwater before discharge to receiving waters, to groundwater, or for collection and reuse. Variations on the traditional surface sand filter (such as the underground sand filter, perimeter sand filter, organic media filter, and multi-chamber treatment train) can be made to fit sand filters into more challenging design sites or to improve pollutant removal.

Stormwater Planters

Stormwater planters are small landscaped stormwater treatment devices that can be placed above or below ground and can be designed as infiltration or filtering practices. Stormwater planters use soil infiltration and biogeochemical processes to decrease stormwater quantity and improve water quality, similar to rain gardens and green roofs but smaller in size—stormwater planters are typically a few square feet of surface area compared to hundreds or thousands of square feet for rain gardens and green roofs. Types of stormwater planters include contained planters, infiltration planters, and flow-through planters.

Tree Box Filters

Tree box filters are in-ground containers used to control runoff water quality and provide some detention capacity. Often premanufactured, tree box filters contain street trees, vegetation, and soil that help filter runoff before it enters a catch basin or is released from the site. Tree box filters can help meet a variety of stormwater management goals, satisfy regulatory requirements for new development, protect and restore streams, control combined sewer overflows (CSOs), retrofit existing urban areas, and protect reservoir watersheds. The compact size of tree box filters allows volume and water quality control to be tailored to specific site characteristics. Tree box filters provide the added value of aesthetics while making efficient use of available land for stormwater management. Typical landscape plants (for example, shrubs, ornamental grasses, trees and flowers) are an integral part of the bioretention system. Ideally, plants should be selected that can withstand alternating inundation and drought conditions and that do not have invasive root systems, which may reduce the soil’s filtering capacity.

Vegetated Filter Strips

Filter strips are bands of dense vegetation planted downstream of a runoff source. The use of natural or engineered filter strips is limited to gently sloping areas where vegetative cover can be established and channelized flow is not likely to develop. Filter strips are well suited for treating runoff from roads and highways, roof downspouts, very small parking lots, and impervious surfaces. They are also ideal components for the fringe of a stream buffer, or as pretreatment for a structural practice.

Vegetated Roofs

Green roofs consist of an impermeable roof membrane overlaid with a lightweight planting mix with a high infiltration rate and vegetated with plants tolerant of heat, drought, and periodic inundations. In addition to reducing runoff volume and frequency and improving runoff water quality, a green roof can reduce the effects of atmospheric pollution, reduce energy costs, and create an attractive environment. They have reduced replacement and maintenance costs and longer life cycles compared to traditional roofs.

Related Links

Stormwater Non Point Discharge System (NPDES) in Richland County

In addition to requirements Richland County landowners follow for earthmoving activities through the Richland County Stormwater and Erosion Control Program, communities that have 1000 or more people per square mile must follow the Stormwater Non Point Discharge System (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) (NPDES) General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) to further effectively manage water pollution. The Richland County Commissioners are mandated by Ohio EPA to create and manage this added accountability for stormwater runoff. The NPDES (MS4) communities in Richland County are: City of Mansfield, City of Ontario, Village of Lexington, Madison Township, Mifflin Township, Springfield Township and Washington Township.

Stormwater runoff is generated when rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices (BMPs). In addition, most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage under an NPDES/MS4 permit. 

Water pollution degrades surface waters making them unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. Authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program for MS4 controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES/MS4 permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. In most cases, the NPDES/MS4 permit program is administered Ohio EPA. Since its introduction in 1972, the NPDES permit program is responsible for significant improvements to our Nation’s water quality. These regulations require designated communities to develop and implement a storm water management plan. This is accomplished by implementing six minimum control measures.

  1. Public Education — BMPs for MS4s to inform individuals and households about ways to reduce stormwater pollution.
  2. Public Involvement — BMPs for MS4s to involve the public in the development, implementation, and review of an MS4’s stormwater management program.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination — BMPs for identifying and eliminating illicit discharges and spills to storm drain systems. Learn more about how to test for an IDDE.
  4. Construction — BMPs for MS4s and construction site operators to address stormwater runoff from active construction sites.
  5. Post-construction — BMPs for MS4s, developers, and property owners to address stormwater runoff after construction activities have completed. 
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping — BMPs for MS4s to address stormwater runoff from their own facilities and activities. 

If there is a land disturbance within the NPDES/MS4 area it may require engineered plans. Please contact us as part of your planning process to find out. Our office can provide detailed steps of how a land use change can be made while still complying and how to work with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) directly.

Richland Soil and Water Conservation District assists communities with a variety of public education, outreach, involvement and participation programs to help meet the requirements of the local MS4 management plan. These programs include electronic newsletters, social media platforms, website updates and workshops.

2023 Stormwater Theme: Reduce Your Stormwater Footprint

For 2023 we will be looking at how to “Reduce Your Stormwater Footprint” for this year’s MS4 Theme. What is a stormwater or runoff footprint? Wikipedia has the following definition. A runoff footprint is the total surface runoff that a site produces over the course of a year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater is “rainwater and melted snow that runs off streets, lawns, and other sites”. Urbanized areas with high concentrations of impervious surfaces like buildings, roads, and driveways produce large volumes of runoff which can lead to flooding, sewer overflows, and poor water quality.

Since soil in urban areas can be compacted and have a low infiltration rate, the surface runoff estimated in a runoff footprint is not just from impervious surfaces, but also pervious areas including yards. The total runoff is a measure of the site’s contribution to stormwater issues in an area, especially in urban areas with sewer overflows. Completing a runoff footprint for a site allows a property owner to understand what areas on his or her site are producing the most runoff and what scenarios of stormwater green solutions like rain barrels and rain gardens are most effective in mitigating this runoff and its costs to the community. Source

If you would like to find out how much of a stormwater footprint you have on a specific area of land, you can go to the National Stormwater Calculator located on the EPA website. This calculator will assist you in ways to reduce your stormwater footprint and then show you the positive effects Best Management Practices once installed, have on the environment.

In the upcoming months we will be providing some good examples of stormwater best management practices that will help you reduce your stormwater footprint on an area as small as where you live. We can all make a difference as long as we make an effort to reduce our own stormwater footprint.

Additional Tips to Reduce Your Stormwater Footprint:

You can reduce your stormwater footprint by installing a rain barrel. Whenever there is a rain event that produces enough precipitation from gutters and downspouts, the precipitation will fill your rain barrel.

Can you name the positive results that occur within the environment when this water is captured? Let’s get you started:

  • The water that would normally go to storm drains or flow on the surface and potentially pick up pollutants that go directly into our waterways would go into the rain barrel instead.
  • This helps in slowing possible erosion and picking up water heavy with sediment.
  •  The rain barrel stores the water for you until you are ready to use it.
  •  You can use this precipitation to water your plants and garden.
  • Your plants will like the naturally soft water.

We sell rain barrels and have them in stock. You may purchase one online or let us know and we will make arrangements with you to pick one up.

You can reduce your stormwater footprint by disconnecting your downspout. Whenever there is a rain event that would produce enough precipitation for the gutters and downspouts of your roof to be used, you may want to think about disconnecting one or two downspouts from the storm sewer or even the downspout tile. The reason for this is as water goes through your downspout into the storm sewer system it will pick up pollutants and take those pollutants into our waterways. If you disconnect one or two of your downspouts from the downspout tile, it will help reduce erosion where the concentrated flow of water comes out at the end of the tile and not carry as many pollutants to our waterways as the runoff surface flows to the closest waterway. Make sure that you direct the water from the downspout away from your house with an elbow to a splash block or into a short downspout tile above ground to help keep the water away from your foundation. One other way you could direct the water from your downspout would be into a rain garden that you can make yourself. A rain garden is a man-made depression in the ground that collects and stores precipitation runoff and is filled with all kinds of native plants to help absorb the runoff as it percolates into the ground. Richland SWCD can help you with design and native plant selection.

You can reduce your stormwater footprint by installing a vegetated swale. If you are experiencing flooding issues or areas of concentrated runoff that pond in low spots on your property, consider creating a vegetated swale. A swale is a specific drainage path that is used to transport water. Swales help to slow runoff, encourage infiltration, and even filter pollutants as stormwater moves through the swale. A vegetated swale will assist in moving stormwater runoff to a different area. It will help remove ponding and allow infiltration of excessive water in a different part of your property where it can be absorbed and get back into the aquifer.

Learn more about the MS4 program in Richland County by contacting Dan.

Related Links

Stormwater Themes

Impervious Areas

Impervious vs. Pervious

Impervious Areas are man-made areas that cannot absorb water from rain or snow.

Impervious Area Examples:

  • Roofs
  • Roads
  • Driveways
  • Parking Lots
  • Sidewalks

Pervious Areas, on the other hand, absorb water from rain or snow.

How Impervious Areas Affect Your Watershed

Water from Impervious Areas can no longer soak into the soil. Usually it is directed somewhere else to drain, such as: a Road Ditch, Stream, Property Line, etc…

This has negative impacts:

  • Aquifers don’t get replenished.
  • Water reaches streams much faster, which forces the stream to adjust to handle the additional water, often leading to streambank erosion and flooding.

Why is the Stormwater Program Important?

The Stormwater Program works with permit applicants on how to properly direct water from newly constructed Impervious Areas.

Applicants needing residential permits are encouraged to direct the water to drain on their own property. This allows their soil to absorb some of the water, which slows it down before it reaches streams. This also minimizes streambank erosion and flooding.

Commercial permits can create significantly large amounts of impervious areas with one project. This is why these applicants must have an engineered plan to make sure their stormwater runoff is released at a controlled rate.

Impervious Areas Maps

Since 2000, the District has administered the County Stormwater Permit Program. A portion of the data collected from the program includes the amount of Impervious Areas that have been added in the County.

This information has been broken down by Watershed and incorporated into an interactive map!

Not sure which watershed you’re in?

NOTE: Information has only been collected from 2000 to 2021, therefore the maps do not reflect the Impervious Areas prior to 2000.

Learn More

Landowners can’t block water from entering and leaving their property without providing an outlet. See the Ohio Drainage Law Ditch Petition Procedures, Chapter 6131: Single County Ditches, Chapter 6133: Joint County Ditches, Ohio Drainage Law and the Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 822 for more information:

Request for Proposals for Logjam and Debris Removal

Black Fork Ditch Petition Process

Impervious Areas

Neighborhood Drainage Issues

Neighborhood drainage issues are becoming a major county issue in populated areas. Here is an explanation of what you can do and how we can help.

What is Stormwater?

  • Downstream flooding
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
  • Habitat destruction
  • Changes in the stream flow hydrograph (a graph that displays the flow rate of a stream over a period of time)
  • Stormwater Damage
  • Contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water

Stormwater in Richland County

The Richland County Commissioners adopted the Stormwater Management and Sediment Control Regulations for Richland County. The purpose of these regulations is to reduce Stormwater and erosion impacts from earthmoving and/or construction activities. Anyone within Richland County limits (not inside city/village limits, except Lexington Village) with a project that will entail earth disturbing or construction activity, must apply for a Stormwater Permit. The permit process requires the applicant to submit a site plan detailing how erosion and Stormwater will be handled during and after the project. The goal is to keep sediment from leaving the site and to handle Stormwater in a way to promote water infiltration into the soil and not create a drainage nuisance to neighboring properties. Larger commercial construction projects may be required to submit an engineered plan that will retain Stormwater onsite and release it at a controlled rate.

Neighborhood Drainage Issues

Neighborhood drainage issues are becoming a major county issue in populated areas. Here is an explanation of what you can do and how we can help.

Stormwater Management

The Rainwater and Land Development Manual offers Best Management Practices to Homeowners, Contractors, and Developers to properly design Stormwater practices. Get a copy of the Rainwater and Land Development Manual.

Related Links

Report a Land Concern

This form may be used if you would like the District to respond to a concern regarding the Stormwater Regulations i.e.: mud being tracked onto county roads, unstable slopes, approval of fill site, and sediment coming from a development site.

This inquiry form may also be used by property owners who are experiencing problems regarding erosion, drainage, sinkholes, landslides and would like assistance from the District on how to resolve these situations.

Please complete the entire form before submitting it so that we can properly help you.

Neighborhood Drainage Issues

Neighborhood drainage issues are becoming a major county issue in populated areas. Here is an explanation of what you can do and how we can help.

Stream Debris and Obstruction Removal

A proactive landowner’s guide to maintaining a free-flowing stream.

Ohio State University Extension Surface Water Drainage Rights Bulletin

Stream Maintenance Guide

Ponds can create a sense of serenity, a focal point, and a source of recreation on your property. They can also be used as a source of drinking water, fire suppression, and watering source for crops and livestock. Many people think that creating and owning a pond is as simple as digging a hole and letting it fill up with water, right? There are a lot of factors you must consider before installing a pond. Here are a few to consider:

  1. What size pond do you want?
  2. Do you have enough land to accommodate the pond size?
  3. What types of soils are present in the proposed pond site?
  4. Will the parent material at the site be sufficient for a pond, or will offsite material have to be brought in?
  5. How much watershed do you have, and will it be sufficient to fill your pond?
  6. How much do you want to spend on your pond?
  7. Will it need a liner?
  8. What type of aeration will be used?
  9. Do you need soil inclusions and how will they be handled? This can pertain to pockets of wet soils – sand veins – gravel veins and large rocks.

All these things can add additional costs to your planned pond, and this is before you start looking at the design of the underwater structure itself. If this is for fishing then you will need to take into consideration the underwater structure the fish need such as areas for hunting, loafing, brood rearing, and hiding. Some of these items can be accomplished with differing depths of the water level and others can be accomplished by adding natural or artificial underwater structures for your feeder and game fish.

With advance planning, Richland Soil and Water Conservation District can usually be at the pond site evaluation. A backhoe is needed to dig several test holes. We want to be present as the holes are being dug to see the parent material coming out of the holes and feel the soil to see what potential the site may have for the pond.

If you decide to proceed with a pond, you need to take into account some design considerations:

  1. Pond size
  2. Excavation depth
  3. Spoil pile size and ability to stabilize it
  4. Primary overflow location and size
  5. Secondary or Emergency overflow
  6. Amount and size of riprap needed for the outflow areas

This is a lot of information to digest and think about. All too often people put upwards of 6 figures into a pond only to have it fail because someone convinced the property owner they “know what they are doing” only to end up with a large deep mud hole.

One of the resources available to you is the Web Soil Survey from the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). This online tool can give you good general information about your property, but you must keep in mind that once you get below a certain aspect ratio the map may not be representative due to the possibility of soil inclusions. Therefore, a site visit while the soil is being excavated is necessary.

This list is not inclusive of all you should consider before installing a pond and some may not apply to your project.

We all love and enjoy our own ponds where we make memories from catching bluegill to family events and gatherings near our favorite spots along them. Now that we are into fall there are some considerations that you will want to take into consideration. Things like pond weeds like cattails, coon-tail, long-leaf pondweed, water millet, duckweed and the potential list is endless. Some of these aquatic plant species are considered ok to be there in lesser amounts but can point to larger problems that you may be aware of. Cattails while able to provide a food source, hunting, loafing, and rearing of distinct species of aquatic and terrestrial life can be an invitation to muskrats. Long-leaf pondweed, in substantial amounts, can be an indicator that your pond may have excessive sediment or heavy nutrient loading which can reduce the overall volume of water in your pond and habitat too. Duckweed and water millet while ok in small doses for aquatic species and waterfowl can completely cover a pond and create a green mat across your pond and should be addressed in the spring. The one thing that all these plants have in common is that most will soon be dying and decaying in your pond which can potentially be detrimental to your fish. One method for dealing with dying aquatic plants is to physically remove them. A second option would be to utilize a biologic control that will add good live bacteria to your pond to help breakdown plant and muck material. This will help add volume and longevity to your pond unless your pond is silted into a point that it may need to be dredged to regain its original volume. Low oxygen in the winter can cause a fish kill if the pond becomes frozen and snow covered. Removing the snow, approximately 25-50%, can provide sunlight to plants that can over winter and provide the much-needed oxygen to your fish. Another option to keep the snow off a pond is to add an aeration to your pond by adding air stones that will add supplemental oxygen to your pond keeping your fish alive and assisting in breaking down plants and muck.

Pond Types

Pond Components

New Pond Construction

Site Selection

Before getting to the point of actually constructing a pond, it is a good idea to take a close look at your site. This can help you visualize how much property a pond can take up. Also, it can help you plan to keep proper setbacks from: buildings, driveways, septic systems, wells and property lines.

Flag Marking

Use highly visible flags to mark out important pond components such as:

  • Dam or Embankment: Make sure to consider the total overall width of the dam. This includes not only the top width, but also how far the inside dam toe and outside dam toe will extend. Example: a 6’ high dam with a 2:1 inside side slope and a 3:1 outside side slope and a 8’ Top Width, would take up 38’ of total width!
  • Regular Water Level: Mark where the water level of the pond will be during its normal elevation.
  • Emergency Water Level: Mark the water level where the pond water will be overflowing out of the emergency spillway.
  • Spillway Locations: Mark where you will outlet the principal spillway and mark where the emergency spillway will be located.

How to Build a Pond

Constructing a pond can be a complicated and expensive process. Therefore we recommend you seek a professional engineer and/or a professional excavation contractor to design and/or construct your pond. The following items are good general construction practices that should be followed when constructing any pond. Become familiar with these practices so that you can question prospective engineers or contractors on how they will accomplish these practices.

Remember: If you decide to construct a pond, you will need to apply for a stormwater permit. Visit the Stormwater Documents page for info.

How Richland SWCD can Help

The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District does not offer design services for ponds at this time.

Additional Links for New Ponds

Existing Ponds


Ponds require maintenance to keep them operating properly and to maintain the desired appearance.


Experiencing concerns with your pond’s appearance or function?

Additional Links for Existing Ponds