Written by Gavin Ferris, Ecologist
AS SEEN IN National Community Association Institute's (CAI) publication, Common Ground
The very first fish I remember catching was a bullhead catfish. It was in a small pond in my grandparents’ HOA community that is still there today. Well, sort of. Though the pond had once been deep enough for fishing and stormwater collection, its depth is now best measured in inches rather than feet. The cattails that were once clustered near the outflow are now abundant throughout the pond. Today, the waterbody resembles the nearby wetland more than it does a pond. In the 55 years of its existence, no measures have ever been taken to mitigate against the natural process of succession.
Lake and pond succession is the natural lifecycle of any waterbody. The very tributaries that supply a waterbody with its water also carry sediment, which over time accumulates and decreases the water depth. Aquatic weeds and nuisance vegetation decompose and create additional organic sediment. And the shallower the pond becomes, the more vegetation it produces—accelerating the aging process.