Storm water ponds: More than just a pretty face
Many residents have small man-made ponds in their neighborhood or backyard, but what are they there for?
These ponds are not natural wetlands. Rather, they are part of the city’s surface water infrastructure – a network of pipes, swales, ditches and ponds – and essential to the livability and functionality of our city. This system controls flooding, manages the volume of water directed to our lakes and rivers and removes pollutants before reaching those waters. Ongoing maintenance, e.g., vegetation management, is necessary to achieve our goals:
- Promote native plant diversity to improve water quality and habitat and reduce long-term maintenance
- Remove trees adjacent to pond inlets/outlets that may block maintenance access, as well as problem tree species, like willows, which are prone to dropping branches and clogging outlets
- Control noxious weeds through mowing and spot spraying
While the city manages nearly 300 storm ponds, most in residential neighborhoods are owned by the homeowner. The city has an easement that allows us to store and treat water on your property, as well as maintain inlets and outlets. However, property owners are responsible for managing the vegetation on their property, such as mowing and eradicating noxious weeds.
We encourage homeowners to create and manage a buffer strip (no trees) around storm ponds on their property. You can call us for advice on recommended seed mixes and maintenance.
Over the past several years, the city has increased the number of publicly owned ponds with native-plant buffers. We maintain these ponds by seeding, burning and spot mowing/spraying as needed.
Please help us keep our community’s storm ponds clean by reporting any illegal dumping of yard waste or landscaping debris in or around ponds to the Police Department at 952-233-9400.