Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mud Flow into Pond

February 29 brought a series of intense rainstorms that topped off all of the various Blue Jay Barrens water supplies and added enough extra for everything to go into flood mode.  Runoff water from the township road always brings muddy water into the pond.  In this event, conditions were set for a dramatic influx of sediment laden water.  Two days ago, the township crew graded the road.  The loose, uncompacted material was in a perfect condition to move with the water.  The surge of mud into the clear pond water was an impressive scene.

The runoff water was several degrees cooler than the pond, so it rolled in beneath the clear water.  Even when it reached the center of the pond, the turbulent surface of the muddy water maintained its separation from the warm water above.  It’s a neat thing to witness, but I would much prefer to not have the muddy water entering the pond.

The water flowing from the Blue Jay Barrens fields is not a problem.  I’d be very happy to have all of the water entering the pond to be as clean as this.  Unfortunately, I only control a portion of the watershed that feeds water to the pond.

Here’s where the mud comes from.  Blue Jay Barrens is on the left side of the road.  Mud from the road and other points upstream makes its way via the road ditch to a low point in the road.

Just above the pond, a culvert brings the water beneath the road.  You can see in the upper left corner how muddy the road is after receiving a maintenance treatment.  A short travel distance and steep slopes make it difficult to filter out any sediment before the water enters the pond.

So, muddy water enters and the pond spends a few days looking brown. 

People tell me that they are surprised by the fact that I don’t do something to protect the pond.  I explain that the pond is an artificial creation that was here when I bought the property.  I also point out that this is a very poor pond site because of the uncontrolled watershed that allows the import of muddy water and because of the poor soil that allows the pond to leak.  I would have never built a pond here.  If I truly wanted a good pond, I would build one somewhere else. 

There’s no way to fix this pond, but I do manage it for the life that has been able to thrive here.  Brown water is not the best water, but it’s better than no water.  The fact that amphibian use of the pond continues to increase, indicates to me that there are some benefits to the pond despite its deficiencies.  Brown water moving in beneath their bellies didn’t slow the courtship activities of the Wood Frogs even a little bit.

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