The ponds that you see outside your residence are probably not put there by nature, nor are they even close to being naturally occurring. These might be stormwater ponds. Urbanization is one of the boldest impacts on the water cycle. This is because of the altered stormwater runoff paths. By implementing things such as roads, buildings, and parking lots. Stormwater ponds are an urban attempt to lower the number of negative impacts on downstream ecosystems. The goal of stormwater ponds includes to control flooding and provide some water quality benefits through sediment settling, nutrient retention, and anthropogenic litter accumulation. This month Water Wednesday focused on stormwater ponds.
Why should homeowners care about stormwater ponds?
Homeowners care about stormwater ponds because they are often disguised as open water views. A “waterfront” property feature can drive the value of the home. It also assists residents by controlling flooding. For example, instances of basement flooding have happened in residential areas of Florida without these stormwater ponds. They also provide a habitat for wildlife and increase water quality. Let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of stormwater ponds.
- Reduce flood risk.
- Habitat for plants and animals.
- Can reduce pollutant export.
- Invasive species refugia.
- Carbon source.
- Not perfect at nitrogen removal.
- May need chemical treatments.
Stormwater ponds are a labor of love to the urbanization that is our modern world. However, residents and surrounding areas must consistently deal with the drawbacks. Greater than 90% of ponds surveyed have at the minimum one invasive species. On the other hand, ponds are a fantastic source of carbon to the atmosphere. The benefits as to why these ponds are put into action during urban planning outweighs the potential cons.
What is the difference between a retention pond and a detention pond?
Retention ponds are designed to store stormwater onsite and gradually infiltrate into groundwater. Detention ponds are designed to temporarily store stormwater and then slowly release. Downstream. In Florida, dry ponds are typically retention and wet ponds are typically detention.
To learn more about stormwater ponds, please watch the Water Wednesday – Ask Extension about Stormwater Ponds with the UF/IFAS State Specialist Dr. AJ Reisinger.
What is the difference between gray infrastructure and green Infrastructure?
Stormwater is defined as rain that runs off impervious surfaces like rooftops, driveways, roads, parking lots, and more. Runoff from stormwater continues to be a major cause of water pollution in urban areas. It carries trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants through stormwater into local waterways. Historically, communities use gray infrastructure – pipes and tunnels – to move stormwater away from where we live to treatment plants or to local water bodies. In many areas, the gray infrastructure is aging, and its existing capacity to manage large volumes of stormwater is decreasing. To meet this challenge, many communities are installing green infrastructure systems to strengthen their capacity to manage stormwater. By doing so, communities are becoming more resilient and achieving environmental, social and economic benefits.
Water Infrastructure Improvement Act defines green infrastructure as “the range of measures that use plant or soil systems, permeable pavement or other permeable surfaces or substrates, stormwater harvest and reuse, or landscaping to store, infiltrate, or evapotranspirate stormwater and reduce flows to sewer systems or to surface waters.” Green infrastructure can be adopted into a community at several scales. It can a rain barrel up against your house, a rain garden in your neighborhood, or greeneries on the top your roof.
- EDIS Factsheet: A New Database on Trait-Based Selection of Stormwater Pond Plants
- EDIS Factsheet: Stormwater Pond Management: What You Need to Know about Aeration
- EDIS Factsheet: Florida-Friendly Plants for Stormwater Pond Shorelines
- EDIS Factsheet: Sources and Transformations of Nitrogen in Urban Landscapes
- S. EPA Green Infrastructure: www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/what-green-infrastructure
This blog was written by Holly Stralka and edited by Dr. Yilin Zhuang. Stralka is a Senior Student in UF/IFAS Soil and Water Science Department. Dr. Zhuang is the Water Resources Regional Specialized Agent in UF/IFAS Extension Central District. Special thanks to Dr. AJ Reisinger, Assisant Professor and State Specliast in UF/IFAS Soil and Water Sciences Department and Gabriel Vicari, the Water Resources Agent in the UF/IFAS Extension Marion County for presenting at Water Wednesday in October.