The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bay 2010 Trust Fund recently awarded a grant to the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks to initiate a “floating wetlands” program to remove excess nutrients from five county ponds. In a press release Kevin Enright the Director of the County’s Office of Public Information wrote:
The five ponds are located in two community parks — Font Hill Wetlands Park and Sewell’s Orchard Community Park. These are recreational fishing ponds within the Howard County Recreation & Parks’ park system that also serve as storm water management ponds for their communities. During storms, the ponds collect runoff that contains various pollutants including pesticides, pet waste, litter, oil and grease. The pollutants affect water quality, can cause an unhealthy environment for fish, other aquatic organisms, wildlife and humans.
This grant-funded program hopes to address the cause by installing both an aeration system and floating aquatic plant rafts. The aeration helps de-stratify the ponds by circulating the water and reducing the amount of decomposed materials at the bottom of the ponds. The suspended floating plant rafts will help reduce the amount of nutrients in the water and enhance habitat. The end result should be ponds that are more ecologically balanced and more efficient at removing excess nutrients.
The pilot program is expected to be completed in July.