City working with biologists to minimize impact on wildlife during Park Pond Renovations

Construction at Land Park and McKinley to begin this summer…

City of Sacramento will begin long-anticipated renovations to ponds at both the McKinley and Land Park starting as early as this summer. The goal of the renovations is to make the park amenities both aesthetically pleasing and sustainable from a maintenance standpoint.

“All relevant laws, regulations, and best practices have been incorporated into the pond restoration process,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Christopher Conlin. “Contract specifications for the work require that a biological survey be conducted prior to the beginning of construction.

Work cannot begin until the biological survey is complete and the biologist determines that there will be no significant impacts to domestic and native wildlife.”


“This step is not unique to this project. The City, as a matter of standard procedure, conducts a wildlife survey prior to construction where impacts may occur especially with regard to migratory birds. The formal preconstruction survey, which includes the status of fledgling waterfowl, will be conducted a week prior to construction start. The City is prepared to make adjustments to the construction schedule based on the results of the survey.”

Caring for Waterfowl

To minimize disturbances to nesting waterfowl, the City’s consulting biologist recommends that pond renovations not commence during the breeding season, which typically occurs April through July; however, some species of waterfowl may nest as early as March.  Conversely some birds may have double-clutched (nested a second time) or nested later in the season. If the preconstruction survey indicates late nesting, and juvenile birds still rely on the ponds, construction may start later than July.


Once renovations begin, waterfowl are expected to passively relocate to other ponds in the area. This will minimize the number of birds that may need to be captured and removed. If sick or injured waterfowl do not passively relocate, they will be safely captured by a qualified individual and taken to a bird rehabilitation center or other facility for care and eventual release to an appropriate local wildlife site.


City staff has been working for several months handling issues related to both Western Pond and Red-Eared Slider turtles.  Red-eared Sliders have been designated as an invasive species by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, as such, they cannot be returned to the ponds upon completion of the renovations.

With significant help from the City’s Front Street Animal Shelter and volunteer organizations like the Northern California Herpetological Society, and input from staff at the Sacramento Zoo, an adoption program has been established for Red-Eared Sliders that will be removed from the pond. If interested in adopting a turtle please contact the City at 311 (916-264-5011).

Community Advisory Committee

As a part of this long-overdue project, in 2014 the City Council established a pond advisory committee consisting of four McKinley Park and Land Park neighbors, three City staff and a local professional biologist.  The Committee was convened to act as a liaison between the community and the City/Contractor, to ensure the proper handling of domestic and native wildlife, and provide other input on the project.  Decisions regarding the project were made in consultation with the members of the Committee, including the unanimous selection of the contractor.  The Committee’s work was finished in late 2015.  Construction plans are complete and the City is ready to proceed.

Once the City receives clearance from the biologists to begin the work, it is expected construction will take four to five months to complete.


Pond restoration features include:

  • Drain Pond & Remove Sludge
  • Clean Pond Outlets
  • Aeration System
  • Perimeter & Island Shoreline
  • Pond Liner with Soil Cover
  • Planter Shelf along West Shoreline
  • Automatic Water Level Control
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