There are several important factors that should be considered when one is hiring an excavation contractor to build a pond. Experience building ponds, the right equipment for compaction, and experience with permitting for ponds are all vitally important; however, all of these pale in comparison to what should be your first two questions for any excavator you’re thinking about hiring.
Does he have any expertise with fish? Does he have any knowledge about ponds and what it takes to keep them full?
These two questions may seem obvious to some landowners, and irrelevant to others; in my experience they are neither. And they can and will make a drastic difference in the long-term success of the pond. We have worked on many private ponds that were owned by very intelligent people who spared no expense to get the most out of their ponds’ fish populations, but had had their ponds dug by excavators who had no knowledge of fish and made very basic mistakes that are still hindering those ponds now. Some of those ponds leaked badly and had to be repaired at major expense; some didn’t leak but still won’t stay full; all of those ponds have experienced significant water quality issues by way of fatal flaws in how they were constructed.
Sometimes it’s a matter of the pond being dug to the wrong depth; sometimes it’s a matter of the pond being dug in the wrong spot. In all cases, once the pond is dug and there are fish in it, there’s no correcting that builder’s ignorance of fish.
You probably wouldn’t have a seamstress do your open-heart surgery just because she was good at sewing and would save you thousands over an actual surgeon. Don’t have a dirt-mover who doesn’t know anything about fish dig your pond unless you want a pond that forever will require a pacemaker and frequent expensive surgeries.