From The Blog

Project Proactively Managing Pond Vegetation Resumes in February

Island pond management is integral to the larger health of the community. The ponds are both an aesthetic feature for the enjoyment of the community as well as the most important piece in KICA’s stormwater management system. Over the last few years, the Lakes Department has been working on a pond pruning project to enhance the health of the overall pond system.

The project, which began in 2019, was planned to limit potential debris which can clog drainage, and open ponds up to sunlight and wind, both of which can positively impact oxygen distribution in the water. While it was clear that nearly all KICA’s ponds would benefit from this treatment, Lake supervisor Matt Hill planned to address ponds in the largest drainage basins, the Beachwalker and Canvasback drainage systems, to see the dual effects of improving pond health and positively impacting drainage. The team started with ponds that were on the main artery of island water flow and had been presenting the signs of pond health issues. Once that work was completed, it was clear that the rest of the island’s ponds would also benefit.

This work is done carefully by KICA’s pruning contractor, who specializes in lifting canopies and doing proactive trimming in an aesthetically pleasing way. Debris that had already fallen into the pond is removed. Plants and limbs at a 45° angle or less to a pond’s surface (those items that will fall in and become debris in the future) are removed, and the surrounding area is strategically opened to sunlight and airflow. After pruning is complete, grasses are planted along the shoreline, as needed. 

Sunlight improves pond health by creating the conditions for better oxygenation and helps restore the community of beneficial bacteria to the pond. Airflow reduces stagnation and circulates oxygen throughout the pond, resulting in a more efficient breakdown of the leaf debris that does reach the pond. These healthy actions help to prevent several undesirable outcomes: algal growth, insect infestation, and fish kills, among others. 

So far, a total of 52 of KICA’s ponds have been pruned. The project, which is now in its fifth year, resumes in February. For 2024, the project will include work in the following ponds:

  • Pond 70 – Located between Sawgrass Lane and Sweetgum Lane
  • Ponds 113 to 117 – These ponds are located on Blue Heron Pond Rd. to the right after the bridge

Work is expected to begin at Pond 70 on Monday, Feb. 12, and last for two weeks. Once Pond 70 work is completed, the contractor will move into the Preserve. Each site on Blue Heron Pond Rd. is expected to take two days. Please keep in mind that work is weather-dependent and timing may vary. KICA’s contractor will be working within normal contractor hours (Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

The newly-pruned pond edges not only allow members to enjoy the sight but also invite back wading birds, like egrets and herons. Increasing the wildlife benefit is a cascade effect, where more activity equals increasingly healthier ponds. Matt’s goal is to get all 122 KICA-managed ponds complete in a 10-year-period, after which, he admits, it may be time to start again at the first ponds. However, next time around, the ponds should be in much better condition due to the proactive management.