Many people desire a pond on their property. They are aesthetically pleasing and can provide excellent opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, hunting and relaxation. Unfortunately, they can also be costly to permit, build and maintain properly. The requirements necessary to legally construct a new pond may be complicated. Some of the factors involved include the drainage area, size of the pond, floodplains, erosion and sedimentation control, species of concern, historical resources and the water quality classification of the watershed. The reason for the regulations is to protect wetland resources. Reportedly the main cause of the loss of wetlands in Pennsylvania is due to the construction of ponds and lakes. Therefore, new ponds that impact wetlands must apply for permits from local, state and federal agencies. If your potential pond site will not impact wetlands, then there may be a more straightforward local and state process to receive authorization of the pond construction.

The maintenance of a pond is something that most pond owners tend to forget about. Ponds require attention to maintain favorable water quality / depth and avoid erosion and structural stability issues. Most water quality issues are due to excessive nutrients or sediment entering the pond from the upstream watershed. If you own the watershed above your pond, utilize best management practices to maintain or improve the water entering your pond. If you do not own the watershed above the pond, talk to those that do and see if there is a way to work with them to improve the quality of the water.

Removing accumulated sediments (or ‘cleaning out’) a pond also requires permits/authorizations/waivers from one or more of the following: County Conservation District (Chapter 102), PADEP (Chapter 105), PA Fish & Boat Commission (draw-down permit), Army Corps of Engineers (Sections 401/ 404) and other local, state or federal authorities.