2015-09-17 / Nature

Gardiner Pond Fish Kill

By Jack Kelly

(Photo by Jack Kelly) (Photo by Jack Kelly) A large fish kill, affecting thousands of small fish, occurred in recent days at Middletown’s Gardiner Pond, a reservoir for the Newport Water Department. According to Robert Schultz, department director of engineering, “There are a number of factors that led to this unfortunate situation. The water level in the pond was artificially lowered during water main construction earlier this year, and lower than average rainfall since then has not allowed the pond to recover sufficiently. From Sept. 11-14, the area received over two inches of rain, which caused stormwater to flush into the watershed and the Maidford River, which feeds Gardiner Pond. A blue-green algae bloom in the pond is also a contributing factor.”

“What is important to note,” Schultz continued, “Gardiner Pond is only called on or used in early spring through late fall. The last time we used this resource was on Nov. 20 when the construction project began. We have not used it since then because we were waiting for it to recover from the artificial draining earlier. The next use of the pond is projected for next spring.

Newport Water Department crews were observed using a backhoe and other devices to remove the dead fish from the pond. “We will continue the cleanup and monitor the situation as we go forward,” Schultz said.

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