Botany pond renovation: update

January 1, 2023 • 11:15 am

In the last three weeks, a group of energetic workmen sucked all the mud and gunk out of Botany Pond, revealing its bare bones. It was surprising to me because, as you see, there are cement barriers several feet high throughout the pond and channel (perhaps to keep the mud from shifting?). I never ran into these, which means that the mud rose well above the barriers.

Now that the pond is dry and bare, it’s very sad. They’ll redesign the area over the summer, do the landscaping, fix the cracks in the cement, and then, come next October, fill it with water and add the necessary microfauna.  I hope they will reserve a place for the ducklings to rest and not be bothered by people, but Facilities doesn’t seem too interested in that, which worries me.

We will of course miss duck season this coming spring and summer, and I don’t now if I’ll see Honey again—ever.  With luck we will get a few migrants stopping over for a rest and a drink.

Here’s the view from my office, which is a bit murky as it’s taken through glass. The two bald cedars have been felled, and the cement “duck rings” (beloved as a resting place for little ones) have been moved. (I hope they’ll be replaced.)

You can see the barriers within the pond, and it’s a good thing they were well below the mud level when I was chasing after ducklings this year (31 caught and rehabbed), as I would have found them serious obstacles to duckling capture, as well as banging myself up even more.

View from ground level, taken by holding the camera above the fence. The absence of the cedars is visible, as well as the walls within the pond. I find it all very depressing, especially on a gray New Year’s day, though I know they plan to restore the pond to its past glories. But what will they do for the ducks? Are the turtles still okay at the rehabbers? I have many questions and, of course, anxieties.  I really would like to see Honey again, but she’s an old hen now: she would be eight at the minimum in 2024. Maybe she’ll stop by next fall.

13 thoughts on “Botany pond renovation: update

  1. You had made the comment in an earlier post that there will be an advisory group of biologists to help plan the reconstruction.

    Any chance you might participate in that?


      1. Good! When you say that they don’t seem interested in your ideas, here’s hoping that it’s just not close enough in time for them to focus on the life forms. Probably they’re more concerned at this point with getting the infrastructure in place.

        I’d be willing to bet that as the time gets closer to adding life forms, they will listen to your committee. After all, they have a reputation to protect, too.


        1. Well, I hope so, but I know for sure that they don’t have the welfare of ducklings high on the priority list. They haven’t moved about providing a space for the ducklings where humans won’t bother them, and one of them told me that we should just let natural selection operate on the ducklings: don’t feed them and let them survive if they can. I wanted to respond, “Do you take your kids to the doctor? Why not let natural selection operate on them?” Those ducklings aren’t just my children, they’re the Universty’s children, and everyone loves them.

          1. DEI! That “pond” did not reflect the spectrum of fauna. Due to someone’s systemic something, marginalized faunas (like knowledges) have been punched down. Hawk Lives Matter! (etc)

  2. I didn’t know they were going to chop down the cypress trees. Why? That’s very sad, those trees were cool (and I imagine quite old). 🙁

  3. It’s such work getting all the chemistry right with these things. I used to think it would be easier than with an aquarium because the pond is outdoors but I find some ponds do still go through a start up phase where their chemistry isn’t quite there yet. Being a bigger pond, this should be less of a problem and it seems they are taking it slowly, adding in all the essential flora.

  4. I really would like to see Honey again, but she’s an old hen now: she would be eight at the minimum in 2024. Maybe she’ll stop by next fall.
    Let’s hope so – fingers firmly crossed.

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