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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 6:32 am | Fair 53º


Maintenance Work Starts on Pond at Santa Barbara’s Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden

Koi fish, turtles moved while city workers drain the pond and make repairs

park pond Click to view larger
The pond filled with koi fish and turtles at Santa Barbara’s Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden is undergoing maintenance through June 24. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The pond filled with koi fish and turtles at Santa Barbara’s Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden will be drained as workers make repairs and conduct routine maintenance at the popular park.

City of Santa Barbara marketing coordinator Summers Case said the koi fish from the pond are temporarily housed at Chase Palm Park’s pond in Santa Barbara, and the turtles are sheltered on site in areas where work is not scheduled.

There are about a half-dozen koi fish and about 200 turtles living in the pond, she said. 

Maintenance includes repairing the pond liner and removing debris, which aims to improve water quality and enhance the wildlife habitat living in the area.

“Our goal in cleaning out the sediment from the pond is to improve water quality and habitat for the wildlife and provide an enjoyable experience for the park users,” said city Parks Superintendent Ken Brown.

“Parks staff are doing the preliminary water pumping in preparation for a contractor to come in next week and pump out the sediment.”

The pond at Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden was last drained 10 years ago. 

The pond’s water level has to be lowered for access to the pond liner repairs. The pond will be dry for up to two days during the project, which includes removing debris, sediment, organic matter and trash to improve water quality and reduce unpleasant odors, according to the city.

park pond Click to view larger
The Alice Keck Park pond will be drained for repairs.  (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

“We are using the water that we are pumping out of the pond to irrigate the landscape at the park,” Brown said. “After the contractor is done removing the sediment, we will inspect the pond and make any repairs that are needed. After this, we will begin refilling the pond.”

Brown said the pond water quality is impacted by the increased heat and dryness of the ongoing drought, the age of the pond liner, circulatory and aeration systems, and the propensity of park visitors to feed the wildlife. 

“While we certainly understand the enjoyment, especially for children, in feeding the birds, turtles and koi, it is quite unhealthy for the animals, and the pond ecosystem as a whole,” Brown said.

The park will remain open during the upkeep, but certain areas may be closed intermittently to allow access for workers, Case said.

The exact contractor cost for the project is unknown at this point because it’s based on how much sediment workers remove, Brown said on Wednesday.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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