From The Blog

Project Proactively Managing Pond Vegetation Continues in April

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, resumed in February. The project’s current focus is the following ponds:

  • Pond 98 – Located on the East side of Otter Island Rd.
  • Pond 67 – Located off of Tallow Tree Lane
  • Pond 39 – Located between Sanctuary Beach Dr and Tennis Club Ln

Work is expected to begin at pond 98 on April 11, and last for 1 week. Once pond 98 work is completed, the contractor will move to pond 67. 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.