Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Misconceptions about Hulen Meadows Pond

    Recently, I read an editorial by Mayor Randy Hall. It was a political puff piece promoting the water park project in the Hulen Meadows Pond area. Like most politically motivated columns, Hall’s piece was full of untruths, misstatements and exaggerations.
    My favorite is that the pond, according to Mr Hall, is “filling with silt and will soon become a stagnant blight if nothing is done.” Soon? How soon? A year? Five years? Twenty years? It’s been there for 23 years and it is not even half full.
    I wanted to know where this misconception about the pond came from, so I went to the water park website. There, I found the following paragraph: “In recent years the pond has begun to fill with sediment and the bulk of the flows of the Big Wood River have moved to the easterly channel. This has left the pond, during low-water times, with insufficient inflow and the water becomes warm, stagnant and experiences algae blooms. The pond is highly impacted and … the banks are steep and eroded from runoff and heavy traffic.”
    Every one of those assertions is false or misleading.  Every one. I was flabbergasted by this and many other statements written into the document by supposed experts.
    To set the record somewhat straighter, on Aug. 4 of this year the flow in the river was half of average, creating an “insufficient in-flow” into the pond. However, the water temperatures in the inflow channel from the Big Wood and at the surface water in the eastern side of the pond and on the western side of the pond and at a depth of over 5 feet in the main pond were virtually identical, at 61 degrees. Not exactly “warm and stagnant.” Most of the main pond beyond 20 feet from the bank is from 6 to 10 feet deep.  
Nick Cox

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