Unusually frequent and heavy rains impeded the Duck Pond Reclamation Project over the summer, pushing back the date of completion to the middle of October.
The project was undertaken to remove a heavy layer of sediment on the bottom of the pond. The Duck Pond feeds into Cobb Creek, a waterway responsible for draining about one third of the storm-water runoff in Lower Merion. The pond had accumulated enough sediment to achieve a depth of 18 inches; the optimum depth is five to seven feet. In order to maintain the stability of the local stream system and prevent flooding, the pond needed to undergo dredging. The sediment was removed and laid on Merion Field, and will be covered by the mound of topsoil situated near Lancaster Ave.
The heavy rain meant construction workers needed to drain the water every few days to continue pumping the sediment out. The removed sediment also needed to be air-dried after each rain before it could be covered with the mound of topsoil.
“I couldn’t even tell you how many times we pumped that pond over the summer, but it was a lot,” said Don Campbell, Director of Facilities Management.
The project faced concerns from the Lower Merion community. Campbell said that many people were concerned about the status of the wildlife living in the pond. Native species were captured and redistributed into other local water bodies, whereas the koi and goldfish were mostly adopted. Campbell said 10 fish were euthanized due to disease and injury.
“Initially we were the ‘bad people’ (in the community),” Campbell said, “Until we went back and said we’ve got permits for all of it, and by the way, we’ve gone way beyond what was required – with the invasive species, what they direct you to do is to euthanize them.”
Native turtles and frogs remain in the upper pond and will return to the lower pond from there, while fish eggs will arrive at the pond attached to the legs of migrating ducks and geese.
The adopted fish now live in private ponds around Lower Merion. “We had people coming in, with their buckets, saying, ‘I want three fish’ – they’d take them off and dump them in their ponds,” Campbell said.
Haverford’s Ultimate teams were pushed out of their usual practice spot on Merion Field due to the delays.Both teams have practiced at Ellwell Field, located off-campus.
“Ellwell is pretty small, so it has been hard to practice as the men’s and women’s teams practice at the same time on the same field. We miss having big open space to practice deep throws and full-field, seven-player scrimmages,” wrote Rosie Cohen ’18 via email. “It’s also harder for Bryn Mawr Sneetches to get to these new fields, so first-year recruitment has been difficult. We can’t wait to get our fields back in the spring!”
The pond requires approximately two more feet of water before it will be completely full. Campbell said it is expected that rainwater will complete the process. “After all the rain we had this summer, since then we haven’t had a good gully washer to get those last two feet,” he said.
Upon completion of this project, the school will continue to restore the runoff system and turn its attention towards rehabilitating the creek that runs along the Nature Trail.
The following are videos captured of recent work being done on the fields preceding the Duck Pond on College Lane: