Cow Palace Pond

The Cow Palace Pond has had several lives. The pond originally was a small mud hole when built about 40 to 50 years ago. There was very little surface area to drain into the pond, so it didn’t make much sense to make a large water impoundment. However when CoJo Lake was built in 2003 (which is about one mile away), the ranch needed some very tight clay material to form the “core” of CoJo dam. This core material must be such that it is impermeable to water when tightly packed. After looking at soil samples around the ranch that could be used for this core material, it was found that the Cow Palace Pond was sitting on an abundance this tight clay material. Consequently, the Cow Palace Pond was drained and enlarged to remove some clay for the CoJo dam, and both water impoundments were built. After completion and with the next good rain, both the CoJo Lake and the Cow Palace Pond filled. Interesting, huh?? There’s more… When Mitchell Lake was built in 2007, the ranch again needed some tight clay material to form the huge core of the earthen dam of Mitchell Lake. And again, the ranch knew just where to find the clay. So again, the contractor drained the Cow Palace Pond and it was now necessary to take a huge amount of clay material from the pond. After all the clay material was taken, the ranch now had a huge pond in the middle of the pasture, with very little surface drainage area to fill the pond. To add surface drainage area, water funneling terraces were built which stretched around the hills and pastures (which increased by 10 times the surface drainage area to the pond). That surface area was now enough to keep the pond full, but it wasn’t enough to fill the 25 foot five acre gaping hole in the middle of the pasture. Consequently, an oil field water transfer company was contacted who wanted to test some new water pumps. They pumped water from the new CoJo Lake (which was full to the brim) over one mile to fill the newly enlarged Cow Palace Pond. The Cow Palace Pond is now the best catfish lake on the ranch, and although it is fondly called a “pond”, it is much larger and deeper than one might expect.