An urban pond that's popular with bird-watchers because it attracts egrets and herons has been drained for maintenance and removal of bullfrogs and other non-native species.
The pond, part of Pima County's Kino Environmental Restoration Project on Forgeus Avenue about a block north of Ajo Way, will be refilled by runoff from monsoon rains, county officials said.
"The purpose of the maintenance is to remove accumulated sediment," said Jennifer Becker, principal hydrologist for the county Regional Flood Control District. "This is the first time that's been done since the pond was constructed in 2001."
Becker said draining of the three-acre pond, known as the Deep Pond, was begun in late May and completed in mid-June.
"The water that was drained was utilized for irrigation of (nearby) ball fields and surrounding landscaping," Becker said.
While the Deep Pond and nearby smaller ponds are empty of water, non-native aquatic animals are being removed.
"We pumped down four ponds," Becker said. "The primary purpose was to removed bullfrogs and also non-native mosquitofish and goldfish."
Removal of the non-native bullfrogs will help protect native toad breeding areas downstream from the ponds, Becker said.
She said the cost of the bullfrog removal has been about $44,000. The final cost of the pond maintenance work is still being determined.
REFILLING THE POND
Natural forces are expected to bring the pond back to its normal level in the coming months.
"It's likely the Deep Pond will refill during the monsoon season" as a result of storm runoff, Becker said.
"In the event monsoon storms are delayed, we have plans to use reclaimed water to irrigate the stream courses and ponds," she said.
Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at email@example.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz