Thursday, August 08, 2013

POND UPDATE! SHE'S BACK!

Regular Pure Florida readers know that my pond goes up and down and that I "tweak" it from time to time. The last major tweaking I did was in the 2011-2012 winter when I excavated the then dry pond bottom.
 
The photo above shows the excavation in progress. By the time it was over, I had created 3 shallow basins with dikes made of the excavated pond sediments.

As always, I had my digging expert supervise the excavation process. In the photo above, Bear is standing directly in front of the unseen dock. Keep that in mind for later in this post ... you might want to flip back to this picture to compare full vs. empty pond.

The basins worked as I had hoped. During several periods of rain that were intense enough to saturate the pond bottom, but not intense enough to fill the pond, they provided refuge for minnows, tadpoles, and aquatic insects.
Without these basins, the rainfall would have spread out over the flat pond bottom in a thin layer that would have quickly evaporated.

The sticks projecting up from the pond bottom are dead dog fennel stems. During a dry period, the entire pond bottom was one big fragrant forest of feathery dog fennel plants.


Note: The supervisor in THIS photo is little Coquina.

During the spring, some rains teased us (and the frogs) with the promise of fulfillment, but alas, even when the waters crept up and out of the basins, it was only temporary.

They soon receded ... to the point that in May 2013, even the basins dried up and I did an emergency gambusia minnow rescue operation transferring thousands to the safety of an aquaculture tank in the back yard.

Here is the pond this morning, 8 August 2013.
That's right ... go ahead and say it ...WOW!

The long view.

The water is dark and clear.
The green on top is duckweed. You can almost hear it multiplying if you stand quietly and listen. The water is brimming with tadpoles, but not brimming with bream as it is almost completely fishless at the moment.

I have mosquito fish (Gambusia) in it to control skeeters, but so far I have not stocked it with bigger fish.

I will stock it since it's up nice and high and hurricane season has really just barely begun, so I think it will stay full for a while.

For now, I am giving the amphibians a head start on their family planning. Tadpole survival is much higher in a fishless pond, so they need to get while the getting is good.

And yes, I do check it for alligators now that it is a real pond again. Weekly night shines for red eyes. Only once in two decades has a gator shown up in the pond and he was shown the door to a creek about ten miles from here.

So there you go, a pond update, ... because I know you were wondering ...

12 comments:

robin andrea said...

That really looks fantastic! An amazing transition. It's so green and lush there, reminds me of what spring looks like here. Beautiful.

cinbad122 said...

That looks awesome! I saw some retention ponds out this way and was so surprised at how high they are. I thought that they were lakes! :)

roger said...

ok i will. WOW! nice work.

Kort said...

Your pond looks great right now. Thanks for sharing and for such a 'pure Florida' blog.

Katherine Edison said...

So cool to see the progression. I hope the herps do their thing! Great post.

lisa said...

Ok, I will, WOW!

amarkonmywall said...

I remember when this pond was a glimmer in someone's eye. It's beautiful, Ray! Almost time to do one of those underwater videos. Meanwhile, our area is under constant flash flood warnings and we're happy to be on a mountain.

Mark P said...

What a difference!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Amazing project you took on. Lovely to see the full pond!
Momadness

Sayre said...

Your area has gotten some good rains this year! It's been almost like it was when I was growing up with the daily afternoon rains here. I hope this pattern continues for a while.

pablo said...

Sooo glad to see this for you. I know what it's like to have a disappearing body of water.

Floridacracker said...

As of yesterday, the pond is almost totally covered in duckweed. Talk about your exponential growth!