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Protect the Pond

By webmaster - Posted on May 3, 2011

By Eleanor Conaway

As spring moves into summer, we turn to our lawns and the pond and creek. Property owners, especially those on the water, are reminded that their activity on their lawns and property, affects our local water quality. Also septic systems affect the creek and pond, for the good or bad, which affects us all.

The PCA has reports showing our pond is too full of “nutrients.” Referring to the substances that cause growth in living things. As nutrients increase beyond a healthy amount, algae growth, weeds, and scum increase. Weeds grow dense, shut out sunlight and reduce oxygen in the water, leaving less oxygen for fish – and fish populations decrease.

This is not just a theory. We who have lived here for years see the differences in the pond. People once swam easily, but now weeds and algae have grown upward, and it’s almost impossible to see through the water. Our Association’s water testing hasn’t revealed the source of the problem, but now we believe it’s “non-point-source pollution” that is chemicals and sewage from properties along the stream, from Bullard Lake into Parshallville, maybe even on the pond. The best guess of experts is that it’s lawn fertilizer and/or leaking septic systems. Each person dumps only a little….. but put our little impacts together and – whamo! there goes the sweet water we used to have.

In order to protect the water, you must be aware of, and responsible in your use of fertilizer. Best for the water is NO fertilizer. (Some Lake Shannon residents use lake water to fertilize.) If you must use commercial fertilizer, look on the labels for those with low phosphorous. Michigan is considering banning it in fertilizers.

The second important step is to check your septic tank! All septic systems eventually fail. Do you have yours cleaned and checked every 3 years or as recommended by your septic service company? Strangely, another nutrient source is leaves!

Fun Fact

According to a long-time local man, the pond used to have lots of big fish and recreation. There were wooden rowboats for rent on the pond, upstream across from the “peninsula”. Also there were two docks and people came to fish the pond. Fish caught included: 5 and 6 pound bass; crappies (speckled bass); northern pike; catfish; blue gills; warmouth bass; walleye. There used to be no fence under the mill around the wheel, and the kids spear fished there. Crayfish were caught at night by the kids, using flashlights. It was an eerie sight seeing those lights below the dam. In the daytime, the kids stood under the dam, getting sprayed by the force of water. (I remember this-my kids did it.) Bullhead and catfish were planted in the pond. The walleye in our pond went to Lake Shannon when the dam broke.