Over the years, dead plant material accumulated in the pond, and invasive plants continued to be a problem. Every summer volunteers have dawned hip waders and attempted to clean out as much dead and unwanted vegetation as possible. But during summers when rainfall is sporadic, water flow into the pond goes down, and the pond water depth is reduced. This greatly affects the number and type of birds and insects and other wildlife using the pond.
Diane Lepage undertook the job of planning a project to clean up and rejuvenate the amphibian pond. In 2016, large equipment was used to dig out the decaying vegetation and silt. Dredged material was spread on the nearby banks (covering areas of Dog-strangling Vine). At the same time, the trail around the pond was leveled and widened to make it safer for visitors.
In spring 2017, 20 volunteers led by Diane Lepage planted over 2000 seedlings on the south slope of the pond. A chain-link fence was added to keep the area free of traffic. Thanks to a relatively wet spring and summer, most of the new plants thrived, in addition to some unexpected additions such as sunflowers.
Two storyboards were added to highlight some of the creatures that visit the pond (see photo). Unexpectedly, a Blanding’s Turtle was sighted and a Snapping Turtle made its way to the Butterfly Meadow to lay a nest of eggs.
With the surface of the pond opened up, this fall over 100 Mallards as well as Wood Ducks, Black Ducks, and even a Canada Goose visited the pond. Grey Treefrogs, Green Frogs, and American Toads have been seen in and around the pond and, on the whole, the pond renovation was judged a success. Our benefactor, the late Violetta Czasak, would be proud.
The downside: although we hoped that removing so much silt from the bottom of the pond would also remove most Flowering Rush, this did not happen. By mid-summer this invasive species had almost filled the pond and, again, had to be removed manually, thanks largely to Ted Farnworth. Research continues on the best way to control this plant.