I have a brook at the bottom of my property; currently a culvert empties into a small pool that then flows further downhill to the brook. I'm interested in adding a few more feet of depth to the pool by build a small dam at the other end and perhaps building a micro-hydro wheel.

Now I understand there are both legal implication and ecological implications and I want to be cautious of both.

I was contemplating doing a few things to address the ecological implications. I could construct something that has a pipe at the very bottom that allows a continuous flow of water, however, I'm not certain if the flow will be too great for fish to make it through, or if they would even go through such an opening.

Another thought I had was to make the center of the dam completely removable, So that periodically I can change the level and the flow back to normal. I also think that temporary solutions like the Aqua barrier or Watergate are interesting solutions.

  • I recently saw a video about a Belgian company, Turbulent, that is working on simple, eco-friendly micro-hydro power plants. Could be a good place to get some ideas.
    – LShaver
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 18:18
  • I wouldn't try the 'periodically' - you're likely to do that less and less frequent. Besides, your're introducing 'shocks' to the system that way.
    – user2451
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 18:31
  • It's a pretty mountainous area, every hard rain "shocks" the system, and raises the level of the pool. I'm basically looking for a way to increase the water volume temporarily for recreational purposes. I would slowly "open" a gate to bring the volume of water back to normal when I'm done .... in theory
    – user379468
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 18:38
  • I'd have thought that damming such a perennial stream (brook) would be prohibited.
    – That Idiot
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 19:52
  • 1
    Is it not just easier to introduce beavers and let them do the dam work for you?
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


Currently, if I understand correctly, the pool overflows into the brook with sufficient flow for fish to escape and to maintain water quality in the pond. Raising the level of the pond will only affect that outflow during the time required to fill to the desired level. Once achieved the original outflow volume will need to be maintained. Whether this is sufficient relative to the new total volume of the pool is impossible to say without more detail. The design of the outflow is important as it should provide sufficient water movement that fish are likely to follow the current. Many small hydro power plants such as the 'Turbulent' brand mentioned by @LShaver claim to be fish friendly.


Your local USDA Cooperative Extension Service Office will be able to answer these questions for free with regards to local, state, and federal regulations in an authoritative manner. Here is a link to find the local field office in your county: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

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