The ducks and Canada geese are back on Moore's Pond in Stratford, P.E.I., now that the pond is again filling up with water after dredging removed sediment that's been collecting there for years.
The town applied in 2019 for funding for the project, which also includes restoration work at nearby Kelly's Pond, part of the same watershed.
Stratford's environmental sustainability co-ordinator, Maddy Crowell, said the ponds have been unhealthy for years.
Back in April, she told CBC News excess sediment at Moore's Pond had led to "abnormally poor" temperatures and nutrient levels.
"Development, … especially in this core part of Stratford, has been heavy in the past number of years to decades," Crowell said Monday.
Stratford's environmental sustainability co-ordinator, Maddy Crowell, says the ponds have been unhealthy for years. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)
"Any time you have a construction project and there's exposed soil for any amount of time, you're going to see runoff. And so that soil [is] just running downstream oftentimes into whatever water course it empties into — in this case, a pond."
Crowell said there are stricter rules in place now to prevent a repeat of what happened at Moore's and Kelly's ponds. That includes requiring developers to submit erosion and sediment control plans.
Ducks and Canada geese have returned to the pond. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)
"We would review those and then we'd monitor to make sure that they're following those plans, and then we work with the watershed group here in Stratford to monitor the runoff from those sites," she said.
"It's an ongoing issue. I wouldn't say we've effectively managed it by any means. It's something that the province and the town and developers have to take responsibility for."
Heavy siltation over the years reduced the depth of Moore's Pond, seen here in April. (Brian Higgins/CBC)
Many modern developments include storm retention ponds, or sediment retention ponds, to try to control runoff, Crowell said.
"It essentially holds back as much water as it can for as long as it can," she said. "If you allow the water to sit in place, the sediment particles can drop out of the water and settle to the bottom, and then you can release the water off the top, which is cleaner and less sediment-laden than what came into the pond initially."
It's pretty cool to see open water. It's been pretty shallow and pretty limited in open water space for years now.
— Maddy Crowell, Town of Stratford
Besides soil and silt, the town wants to prevent chemicals and other things that can affect the ponds' health, such as salt and phosphorus, from getting in.
Crowell said it's exciting to see the progress at Moore's Pond, which is now deeper and — with the dredged material deposited along the banks — also a bit narrower.
Over the summer, Moore's Pond sat empty as crews cleared out the sediment. (Town of Stratford)
"It's pretty cool to see open water," she said. "It's been pretty shallow and pretty limited in open water space for years now. We can get our plantings done, and really enhance the riparian zone.
"I think it's looking better than it has in a long time."
'Hopefully we can bring back that to life'
Stratford Deputy Mayor Steve Gallant said the rehabilitation of the two ponds is important because of how visible they are in town.
"It's nice to see that, with the animal life and especially with the geese and the ducks," he said. "Hopefully, everything else will fall in place after that."
Stratford Deputy Mayor Steve Gallant said the rehabilitation of the two ponds is important because of how prominent they are. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)
He said cleaning the ponds will "just give them that life again."
"People are happy with it — especially with Kelly's Pond," Gallant said. "I grew up years ago when it was called the old fish hatchery, and I remember swimming in there, and hopefully we can bring back that to life."
Crowell says the town requires erosion and sediment control plans from developers. (Nancy Russell/CBC)
The project received $254,088 in federal and provincial funding in 2022. The total project cost is $346,500.
Restoration work at Kelly's Pond is set to happen next summer.