When we first moved to Indiana I was surprised by all of the retention ponds here. They are literally everywhere. My neighborhood of 185 homes has three of them.
For the past few years I have been concerned about the water quality of those ponds. Our home was one of the first to be built, and during our first few years we saw a lot of frogs.
We've lived here eight years now and I rarely see a frog anymore. I am convinced that it is because of the pollution in the ponds.
I have a storm drain at the back edge of my property. Any chemical or fertilizer that could be used would run directly into that drain and straight into the pond during a rain. Rain water along with all of the pollutants from our yards goes directly into the ponds, rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs.
Morse Reservoir has recently had water quality issues with Blue-green algae. The algae can be harmful to aquatic life, pets, and humans. It is believed to be caused by fertilizer runoff from the homes located around the lake and the streams that feed into the reservoir. It has high levels of phosphorus, which is most likely caused by lawn fertilizer which is feeding the algae.
Our own neighborhood ponds have to be treated regularly during the year for algae growth. The lawn fertilizer feeds the algae and it is a vicious cycle of chemicals causing the problem and more chemicals to treat the problem. There's not much of a chance for aquatic life in that cesspool of chemicals.
There is a wonderful solution to this problem. According to Mr. Stottlemyer, the Chief Operator of the Storm Water Division of the City of Noblesville Utilities, (how would you like to have that lengthy title?), it is the "magic bullet" to help preserve and protect our precious water supply. The solution is to create a buffer of plants along the edge of ponds to absorb the fertilizer before it enters the water.
This buffer of plants also acts as a deterrent for geese, which can be a nuisance in large numbers. They graze on lawns, adding to the problem of soil erosion on the pond banks. Their droppings fertilize the ponds contributing to algae growth. They can also be very aggressive defenders of their nests.
The City of Noblesville Utilities is currently looking for possible sites to do this project and they have grant money available for those that are chosen. I am on our Home Owner's Association board and I am so excited that my neighborhood has requested an application to be considered as a recipient for this project. I hope we are selected!
Here is some helpful information, from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, for those communities that rely on ponds for storm water runoff.