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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Tecumseh explores methods to revive dry fishing pond

  • The Tecumseh City Council is exploring an engineering solution that could revive a pond on the Johnson County Fairgrounds that has run dry.

    After its construction in the early 1950s, the pond covered as much as three acres and attracted fishing and other recreational activities. By the late '90s, however, it had become too shallow and a dredging restoration left a bottom too porous to hold water.
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  • The Tecumseh City Council is exploring an engineering solution that could revive a pond on the Johnson County Fairgrounds that has run dry.
    After its construction in the early 1950s, the pond covered as much as three acres and attracted fishing and other recreational activities. By the late '90s, however, it had become shallow, no more than four feet deep.
    A decision was made nearly a decade ago to dredge it out to make it deeper, but after heavy equipment disturbed its basin, it no longer held water.
    The city attempted to counter evaporation and bottom leaking by adding from 4.5 to 7.5 million gallons of water per year, but the practice was abandoned as too costly and ineffective.
    Fr. Tom Dunavan of St. Andrews Catholic Church approached city council members this year hoping to revive the pond.
    There are fishing opportunities at the Nemaha River or the Nemaha NRD recreation area Wirth Lake seven miles out of town, but Fr. Dunavan said kids on bicycles could access the fairground's pond.
    "I thought, why have a mud hole in town," he said.
    The city council asked Norm Koester, a Plattsmouth engineer linked with the state Department of Environmental Quality, to research the potential for sealing the pond to stop leakage.
    Koester reported to the city council Nov. 4 about five possible methods:
  • A fine clay mined from ancient lake beds called bentonite. It expands when wet to seal sandy soils.
  • Coating materials with Calgon and discing them into the soil can cause the soil to bond together.
  • A compacted earth-fill and fabric blanket.
  • Aqua-Blok, a product using bentonite.
  • A gleization of oat straw and animal manure to line the pond bottom.
  • Koester said the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service is expected to complete soil tests in January that can help the city choose between five lining methods.
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