Pond being rebuiltDraining commences as part of project
AINSWORTH — Anyone who has ever lost something in the small fishing pond at Marr Park may have a chance to retrieve it this week, as the pond is being drained for some much-needed reconstruction.
Washington County Conservation director Steve Anderson said that a syphon to drain the pond’s water in to the nearby Thomas Marr Lake was turned on this morning. He estimates that the syphon is removing about 500 gallons of water per minute from the 3.5 million gallon pond. This Thursday, conservation workers will begin to remove the fish from the remains of the water in the 1.4-acre pond and move them to Thomas Marr Lake before the pond is completely drained. Anderson said that he isn’t sure how many fish are in the pond, but said that it is “lots.” He said there will be plenty of catfish, bluegill and bass.
“We got a fish habitat stamp grant to rebuild it and we are starting that process,” Anderson said.
He said that the project is expected to cost about $110,000. He said no property tax money is going into the project, with funding coming from a $50,000 Washington County Riverboat Foundation grant, a Fish Habitat grant of $13,500, and funding from user fees from the park.
Once the lake is drained, a peninsula is being built and the pond will be cleaned of weeds and recontoured. Anderson is uncertain when construction will begin, but said that the project will proceed “absolutely, without a doubt” this summer.
While the pond will remain drained for the rest of the year, Anderson said that when it comes back next year it will be much better. He said fish will be restocked next spring and anticipates two or three years for the fish to regrow.
“The pond was last rebuilt in the late 1970s and it has reached the threshold of summer kill problems,” he said. “In other words because of the clarity, we are running into weed problems. What we are going to do is take about 4,000 yards of dirt out of it, which will increase the depth of the pond and it will also create some deeper pockets, which it desperately needs. We are also going to reshape the shorelines. When we are done, we are going to have a much more user-friendly pond.”
The project has been timed to be done during the driest time of the year. He said any problems as a result of the weather can be taken care of. He said that the conservation department has the resources to complete the project even if there are problems with weather.
Anderson said that people he has talked to about the project are interested to see what items will be found at the bottom of the pond.
Regular regulations apply to fishing in the pond before it is totally drained. Anderson said that people fishing will be required to only use a rod and reel.
Project money is also going to remodeling the Marr Park lodge. The interior has been lined and the lights are being upgraded, Anderson said.