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Health and beauty doesn’t always come naturally to park ponds, adored by park visitors for the wildlife attractions. An abundance of fish, turtles, birds, ducks and geese can stress the pond’s health over time, threatening the wildlife it attracts and eroding its most attractive features. There are seven park ponds among the City’s 220 parks.

The City Parks and Recreation Department says it’s time to renovate four park ponds next year, three in Land Park and one in McKinley Park. But how best to go about it when no one on the staff is a wildlife expert?

The City is going about the planning for cleaning up the park ponds two ways ­– one: recruiting a volunteer wildlife biologist for a newly established Pond Advisory Committee and two: requiring that expertise to part of the consultant team chosen for the project. “We’re only going to hire a firm with expertise in pond renovation as well as requiring them to have a wildlife biologist on the team,” explained park planner Gary Hyden.

The cost for the renovation projects are about $400, 000 for Land Park and $225,000 for McKinley. Whatever team is chosen will design a project based on priorities and will also provide the City with a maintenance program for Council consideration.

During the contractor selection process, Pond Advisory Committee members will sit on an interview panel and pick the best contractor. In addition to the wildlife biologist, Pond Advisory Committee members include a landscape architect, the park maintenance supervisor and staff and two members from Council districts four and three. After the selection is made, the committee members will continue to participate by overseeing the project’s progress.

The Request for Proposals will be issued in late September.  Proposals will be evaluated based on their knowledge, experience and approach to pond renovation so as to go about the job with the highest degree of consideration for the pond dwellers ­– the fish and wildlife.   Work on the ponds is  expected to start in 2015, however, exact timing will depend upon recommendations from the experts based upon the wildlife.