When my grandfather on my mother’s side built the lake, he was helped by the DNR’s technical assistance agent Howard Zeller. He followed every suggestion given by Howard to the letter. They became and remained best friends.
When my mother and my father were dating, they were talking about snakes, and my dad relayed a story about how his cousin had gotten bitten by a baby copperhead at some little piss-ant pond in fulton county and almost died. My mama said the same thing happened to her dad’s best friend and he almost died. I bet you’re putting it together already. Turns out they had actually met years before, when my dad was about 15, and he and my other granddad came with Howard to help seine and transport catfish from the little lake to the big lake. People came from miles and miles around, it was a big event every couple years. Picture it: My one grandfather ass deep in the mud slinging catfish and the other on the bank barking orders; my father ass deep in the same mud and my mama atop her horse watching the whole shitshow with amusement- 10 years before they met and married.
He was bitten at the little lake, right about where we stepped over that little debris dam and I said, “oh yeah, it’s snaky as fuck back here”. So not only is this Pond Life in my blood on my mom’s side, but my dad’s as well.
I did some searching on Howard and found a book he compiled in 1960 and a paper he published in 1989. I ordered the book from a used book dealer but here’s an archived scan of it, and this is the paper.
Other pet projects of Howard’s include High Falls Dam and Lake. I’m sure there’s lots more. Could be a fun research project.