This article is cross-posted from guest contributor Katherine Forster’s blog ‘dandelions and concrete‘.
Have you ever wondered about the value of storm water management ponds? How they stack up against more natural areas and whether they can support the same type of wildlife that a natural pond would? There have been some interesting observations discovered by the Department of Biology at Carleton University regarding this question. A study that used ponds as an open-air laboratory for research into urban ecology has concluded that these man-made water facilities can support fish life and do not create a boggy haven for mosquitos as some might fear.
Here are the conclusions from the study as described from the online summary:
This project investigated the biodiversity of urban water bodies used for storm water management in Ottawa, Canada. Preliminary findings suggest that some of these managed water bodies contain similar levels of biodiversity to unmanaged, “natural” water bodies, although there are a number of highly degraded managed sites with very low biodiversity. The presence of fish in 10 out of 20 managed ponds suggests relatively healthy ecosystems. Analysis of mosquito monitoring data suggests that the presence of managed water bodies does not affect the number of mosquitoes in an area. In conclusion, urban ponds can contribute ecosystem services including storm water management and biodiversity without increases in insect disease vectors.
This shows that these storm water facilities can provide the same ecological features that a pond can and support a biodiverse community of flora and fauna. Great news!
Image Credit: K. Forster