Simple improvements to storm water ponds can lead to better water quality and a nicer looking neighborhood. We have been following the improvements to a pond in Murrells Inlet this summer, and there have been noticeable improvements.
A few months ago a wetland carpet was installed along the banks of this stormwater pond, and the water loving plants have really taken off.
Terasa Lott, Water Resources Agent at Clemson Extension says “I am really impressed. I haven’t seen it for the two months since we first came for the installation. You can really see how the plants have grown out. Three flowers that I noticed – the Thalia is flowering, people might call it alligator flag. The lizard’s tail, the pickeral weed. And an abundance of wildlife. We saw bees, dragonflies, butterflies. So I am very pleased.”
In addition to the added plants, the lawn close to the plants has not been mowed, creating a buffer zone.
This buffer zone is recommended. It is an area between the lawn and the plants at the water’s edge where the grass is allowed to grow taller, and fertilizer and pesticides are not used. This improves water quality by slowing down water entering the pond, allowing it to soak in, and not allowing excess nutrients into the pond.
Aside from a little weeding, these plants in the wetland carpet are low maintenance. However, as we get close to winter, they will need to be cut back.
Once the plants die back in the fall, they need to be cut down and either composted or disposed of.
This used plant material should be kept out of the water. One of the reasons the plants were added to the pond is to take up nutrients. So, if the plant material is left as is, all those nutrients would get re-introduced into the water.
Some other ways to protect water quality near storm water ponds is to clean up after pets, get a soil test before fertilizing, only fertilizing when needed, and collecting rainwater to reduce water flowing into the pond.