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‘Pond’-ering a management plan

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:13 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:14 p.m. CST

PRINCETON — The Princeton Park District is continuing a management program for the ponds at Zearing Park and the Bureau County Metro Center.

At Monday’s meeting, Princeton Park District Executive Director Elaine Russell presented information on the pond management program from Heartland Habitat and Efficient POND Management, which recommended utilizing ecological-friendly methods to handle problems with weeds and algae.

The issue about pond treatment came up about a year ago when the park board discussed the problem of weeds and algae in the new three-acre pond at Zearing Park, and whether to treat the problem chemically or with non-evasive plants.

In Monday’s information, Heartland Habitat and Efficient POND management recommended moving this year from a data collection and reactive management style to a proactive plan to improve the pond and reduce the nutrient levels, which in turn would reduce algae.

The recommended plan would include a water quality evaluation during the summer months, with possible chemical applications depending upon water conditions. The company stated every effort would be made to use more environmentally-friendly bacterial products for algae control, with chemicals being used only when absolutely needed.

The company also stated the Zearing pond has a problem with curly leaf pondweed, which can be aggressive and hard to eradicate if left untreated. There would be a one time cost of $2,250 to remove curly leaf pondweed.

After reviewing the information, Russell said the money is budgeted for the pond management program, but she wanted the agreement of the board to continue with the program as last year.

Board member Gene Englehart recommended the board continue to review the program on a yearly basis and to go forward as needed.

On Tuesday, Russell said there are relatively few plants scattered throughout the pond which the district wants to get under control. Routine on-site visits will begin in April and continue through September at a material and labor cost of $2,313. The park district did prepare for this in the current budget and will continue into the 2013-2014 budget, she said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board talked about the upcoming Illinois Association of Park District’s legislative conference in Springfield, at which the Princeton Park District will have a display booth.

Attending the April 30-May 1 conference from Princeton will be Russell, administrative assistant Tammy Lange, Englehart and board member Dick Volker. During an evening reception/dinner at the Springfield Country Club, the Princeton group will meet with State Rep. Don Moffitt and State Sen. Darin LaHood.

Concerning plans for Princeton’s display booth at the conference, Russell said a limited number of park districts may sign-up to display their accomplishments in the Capitol Building’s rotunda on the first day of the conference. Because the Princeton Park District was fortunate enough to obtain two OSLAD grants to buy and develop the additional 40 acres at Zearing Park, Princeton’s display booth will focus on that expansion project, Russell said. However, the other parks in the district as well as the Metro Center will also be highlighted to show all the Princeton Park District has to offer.

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