Monitoring Community Ponds
In addition to monitoring drinking water and reclaimed wastewater quality in Broomfield, the Environmental Services staff checks on the health of various ponds around the community through field observations, field measurements, and laboratory analyses. While the primary purpose of these manmade ponds is stormwater retention, they provide additional multiple uses and values – aesthetic views, pockets of wildlife habitat and stopovers among urban landscapes, urban fisheries, aquatic and terrestrial ecological systems, and recreation.
Habitats in and surrounding these ponds host a variety of species enjoyed while out on a walk or bike ride. Waterfowl often observed at the ponds, besides the ubiquitous mallards and Canada geese, include black-crowned night-herons, great blue herons, ring-necked ducks, common goldeneyes, American white pelicans, snowy egrets, northern shovelers, western grebes, pied-billed grebes, and American avocets. A grove of trees nearby a pond also serves as nesting habitat for songbirds, great horned owls, and various hawks. Muskrats, turtles, and snapping turtles are among the smaller wildlife commonly seen. Niches in the water are home to fish such as the largemouth bass and black crappie, as well as smaller invertebrates such as the mayfly larvae and backswimmers or water boatmen.
Monitoring the ponds helps protect these values by characterizing and tracking water quality changes. Management goals for the ponds include maintaining wildlife habitat and minimizing fish kills, harmful algal blooms, and noxious odors.
Why is there a pond in my neighborhood?
New developments are required to handle and treat stormwater runoff. The suburban environment includes many impermeable surfaces including streets, driveways, sidewalks, and roofs in areas that originally had natural permeable ground cover. When it rains or snow melts, this water is quickly flushed off these impermeable surfaces into the nearest waterway, at a much quicker rate than would naturally occur. Unfortunately, this runoff, or stormwater, contains nutrients and other pollutants like oil, fuel, and sediments. These small ponds, or retention basins, are designed mainly to collect sediment and thus prevent erosion in natural or manmade channels and structures downstream. They slow down the stormwater runoff, allowing sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants carried in the stormwater runoff to settle out, decreasing the impact on water quality further downstream. The ponds also help to control water quantity issues during periods of high rain events, reducing impacts from flooding waters to surrounding homes, roads, and sidewalks.
When the volume of the pond becomes significantly impacted by sediment and its stormwater retention function becomes compromised, it becomes a candidate for dredging. Sediment contribution to water quality is also a consideration for dredging.
For more information about Broomfield's pond monitoring program:
4395 W. 144th Ave.
Broomfield, CO 80023