Picturing a quiet serene backyard and water pond is easy as you look out your back window. Wondering how and what a picture like that would cost to create would only deter from the imaginative moment, but it is important to consider important aspects like pond, fish, and family safety.
Large bodies of water exceeding a depth of 18 inches generally require a surrounding fence or perimeter. There are no direct federal codes or rules, but there may be specific ones within differing regions. If a fence is required it generally must be 6 feet high.
There are a variety of regulations you can find out about locally, but generally there are many options for types of fencing and other ways of keeping your pond safe and clean.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not fence in your pond or not is going to come down to the safety aspect of life. Are their children coming by frequently? Do you have fish in the pond that are susceptible to predators? Is your pond really deep, and has slippery edges? All of these and many more are questions to consider as you begin thinking about this.
As previously mentioned, there are not to many specific and strict rules for pond fences, but there are for other bodies of water like swimming pools. Often times ponds are more rural, or suburban and shallow.
Either way, it will be best if you call areas in your local community to see if there are local regulations for pond fences and depths. Generally though, any body of water exceeding 18 inches in depth need to have a fence put around them.
The fence itself needs to surround the entire pond and has to be a minimum of at least 4 feet tall, while 5 and 6 feet are also plausible. The gap size in the fence should also be considered. No object over 4 inches wide should be able to fit through the gaps. Hands and feet shouldn’t be able to go through the fencing, and the size and shape of the fencing should discourage people from climbing up and over the fence.
The bottom of the fencing should be either 2 inches or less from the ground so that children or other mammals can not slip past it easily.
If there is also a gate, it should exceed 5 feet in height and should have some way of automatically being able to shut. A spring would do the trick to ensure the gate is always closed as people come in and out of the fencing. A lock would also be a great consideration.
Another important aspect to consider when pond safety is an issue is supervision for young children, at no point in time can they be alone near a pond or pool. It takes only a matter of seconds for something wrong to happen, and this is where most water deaths occur.
Chain link, vinyl, wooden, picket, railed, or electric? There are a variety of different fencing options to consider as you think about enclosing your pond. Each one offers a variety of different pros and cons which can be looked into. For example, you want a fence that deters passerby from climbing up and over the fence.
Chain Link is a harder fence to climb, and deters people from considering it, while a vertical railed fencing is easy to climb and provides little deterrence. On the other hand, it may be hard to see past the chain-link fence and t may disrupt your view of the pond and its serenity.
Having large structures or boulders near by should also be considered as ways to get up and over the fence without your knowledge. Removing these or placing the fence further away from them may be helpful in the long run.
The Beginning of Pond Building
Before you even begin building your pond, all of these and other aspects should be considered. A good place to start in all of this is your neighbors. Asking for their opinion beforehand will help greatly if you end up needing to get the local government involved in the process.
After reaching out to them and ensuring their happiness with the situation, you should reach out to your local government and research materials you will need and its costs.
You may also need to talk to other local government officials including a zoning manager, or a conservation official. Each of these and others will help to determine the impact and implications of your farm pond. Call around some more to ensure that where you are able to dig doesn’t disrupt any gas or water lines beneath the surface.
Other Permits & Considerations for Ponds
Building a pond on your property will also come with other regulation and rule questions. Before beginning your building process, it is important to look into each of these regulations to ensure the making of a pond is plausible and effective. For example, in the state of Idaho if you want to have a pond it must meet the following requirements according to idaho.gov:
- The entire pond must be on your property
- Before stocking your pond, you must obtain a Private Fish Pond Permit. “Private Fish Pond Permits insure that the pond owner has met the necessary requirements for fish or bullfrog stocking. In addition, the permits allow IDFG to monitor and prevent introductions of fish that could harm wild populations. These free permits must be renewed every five years” Source.
- Where a river or stream flows in and out of the pond it must be screened. This keeps the domesticated fish in and wild fish out.
- Only approved species of fish from particular hatcheries are allowed.
- When you stock your pond, and where you get your fish from must be carefully recorded. A 5 year record is what will be required if asked.
If you are planning on building a pond with the use of heavy machines it is also important to see if your community considers the excavation of a new pond an engineering operation.