Why High Point Pond is more like a wetland right now

High Point Pond – the size of a small lake – is more like a wetland, temporarily, after its first draining in two years.

pondlong

A concerned reader tipped us via e-mail, worried about the fish in the pond, so we went over to check it out, and then sought out information via the High Point Open Spaces Association, which maintains the pond as part of an agreement with Seattle Public Utilities. Community Association Manager Janell Gonyea explained:

The OSA grounds crew drains the pond periodically to inspect all of the components in the pond to determine if any maintenance is necessary. We check the inlet and outlet lines to make sure they are clear and we check the pond liner to see if it is exposed or not. We also check to see if there are invasive plant species that could alter or damage the pond liner. We check the emergency risers to make sure they are operating correctly and we inspect for sediment build up in the pond. We also inspect the re-circulation pump and will conduct routine maintenance on that.

The last time we drained the pond was in 2014 and at that time, everything was in good condition. We do not anticipate any problems with the pond at this time because it has been performing normally, but we do want to be proactive about examining the pond and its components to make sure that there is no maintenance needed. The fish will not be affected because there will be enough water left in the pond for the fish. The pond will begin refilling naturally. The weather report is calling for rain later this week, so the pond will begin filling with that rainfall and storm water.

Thanks also to the OSA’s Deborah Vandermar for pointing us to this info. The pond is part of the Natural Drainage Systems built into the High Point redevelopment a decade ago.

P.S. For a wider look at the drained pond, here’s our Instagram clip from this morning:

P.S. If you’re not familiar with the pond’s location – here’s a map.

13 Replies to "Why High Point Pond is more like a wetland right now"

  • Mikekey October 10, 2016 (1:23 pm)

    What kind of fish live in this manmade pond?  Where did they come from?

  • John October 10, 2016 (1:42 pm)

    Koi can easily live in the pond year round.  I assume the maintenance crew will also pick up the garbage that gets thrown in the pond?!  I just read your link above and see that garbage was a problem in the past too.  The younger generation simply doesn’t care.  I see them drink a soda and drop the can on the ground or toss it in the pond….eat junk food and drop the wrapper on the ground….etc.  It’s really sad how little they care.  Yes…I’m sure there are those that care.  I’m simply stating my observations.

    • WSB October 10, 2016 (2:14 pm)

      We looked all around while there this morning. No real “garbage” visible. There was a high-heeled shoe – rather fancy, too, but just one – up on the pathway, looking sort of as if it had been scooped out of the muck. Otherwise, all ducks and greenery.

  • waikikigirl October 10, 2016 (2:00 pm)

    Who feeds the Koi(s) or can they live off of just bugs and ???

  • StringCheese October 10, 2016 (3:56 pm)

    I have lived in High Point for 7 years and have been dismayed at the lack of maintenance of the pond this year. All of that gook you see in the pictures is milfoil which was allowed to spread unencumbered alll summer long. In all of this time, milfoil was never an issue. Other periphery scum, but not milfoil. I expected them to deal when it popped up in a small area. They have always been so wonderful at maintaining the health and vibrancy of the neighborhood. Now, this poor pond is choking. I just watched a worker remove what is easily 50 pounds of milfoil off of the large drain pipe on the east side of the pond.

    According to the WA Dept. of Ecology, it is a non-native invasive freshwater plant:

    milfoil is considered to be the most problematic plant in Washington. The introduction of milfoil can drastically alter a water body’s ecology. Milfoil forms very dense mats of vegetation on the surface of the water… In eastern Washington milfoil interferes with power generation and irrigation by clogging water intakes. The sheer mass of plants can cause flooding and the stagnant mats can create good habitat for mosquitoes. Milfoil mats can rob oxygen from the water by preventing the wind from mixing the oxygenated surface waters to deeper water. The dense mats of vegetation can also increase the sedimentation rate by trapping sediments.

    I hope they are able to get this under control. Last time they were great about making sure that they drained only enough water to do the inspection which protected the fish. Although, I will say that the Great Blue Herons got many easy meals out of the situation!
    The pond really is a gem in the community and a wonderful lesson in how Nature can thrive when given the chance. It is an amazing little ecosystem!
  • Joan October 10, 2016 (5:08 pm)

    Thanks for posting this! I enjoy walking around the pond frequently and have wondered about the milfoil choking it. I wondered if it should be removed to restore the pond.  I also wondered the same about the ponds at Camp Long. They are also being choked and I wonder about the Parks Dept. maintenance (or lack of) for the ponds.  I don’t think a natural progression is to let them become basically wetlands.

    • StringCheese October 10, 2016 (8:14 pm)

      As a manmade, purposeful drainage and filtration system, the HP pond cannot be allowed to fall into “natural” disarray to the point where it is no longer functioning as intended. Until the milfoil appeared this year (again, it has never been present until now) it was a beautiful balance of nature and function.

    • Dennis Cheasebro October 11, 2016 (12:38 am)

      “I don’t think a natural progression is to let them become basically wetlands.”

      Actually … that is the natural progression for shallow ponds.

  • trickycoolj October 10, 2016 (6:41 pm)

    It’s awesome to jog here at dusk. I have often seen an osprey pull fish right from the water!

    • StringCheese October 10, 2016 (8:10 pm)

      The osprey disappeared fairly early this season. The milfoil made it too precarious to dive. I missed it tremendously…

  • Paul Hage October 11, 2016 (10:25 am)

    I have walked the pond most days of the year since it was completed – in behalf of Jack the dog.  This is certainly the worst aquatic plant invasion I have seen.  The excellent High Point maintenance crew will probably need help to accomplish the level of plant removal that appears necessary.  The city has experience with milfoil and should treat this as something of an emergency.

  • waikikigirl October 11, 2016 (5:37 pm)

    How did milfoil get in there anyways??? I thought that was only by boats and their outboards spreading it around or do birds do it too?        

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