Permanent native vegetation should be planted on the dam, spillway, terraces, waterways, and other construction areas as soon as possible. Native grasses, such as buffalograss, Indiangrass, switchgrass and western wheatgrass, planted in combination with forbs such as Maximilian sunflower, and legumes such as prairie clover, provide cover for wildlife and protection from erosion. Local Natural Resources Conservation Service personnel and Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism district wildlife biologists can provide recommendations on species, seedbed preparation, fertilization and planting times.
Planting a cover crop in the pond basin or the area to be flooded is recommended for new ponds over 5 acres. Planting rye, oats, wheat, sudan grass, or other cover crops before flooding helps tie down the bottom soil and keeps the water clear, provided the seed has sufficient time to grow prior to being covered with water. Flooded vegetation also supplies a surface on which fish food organisms develop. Ponds less than 5 acres frequently fill too rapidly for planted vegetation to establish.
The dam should be protected from erosion due to wave damage with either rock riprap or special grasses. A dense cover of prairie cordgrass, Kanlow switchgrass, Chinese silvergrass, or Reed canarygrass may adequately protect the dam where wave action is minimal. Trees should not be planted or allowed to grow on the dam because their roots can cause water leakage problems.
The banks and a buffer area around the pond should be planted to permanent vegetation. Native vegetation, including switchgrass and other water-tolerant grasses, should be used. This buffer strip provides wildlife habitat as well as preventing silt from entering the pond from adjacent areas. Vegetated banks also provide a pleasing setting for fishing and other pond uses.