Posted November 24, 2019
ABILENE, Texas — The City of Abilene is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to get to the bottom of the water issues at Grover Nelson Park pond -- literally.
“The ponds have had numerous issues lately with the water quality, particularly oxygen during summertime and that is just because they’re so shallow," said Michael Homer Jr., Abilene's district supervisor for the Inland Fisheries Division.
Over time, Homer said sediments and nutrients from water fowl and other animals wash into the pond, making it less deep.
"This is a natural thing that occurs, it’s called reservoir aging," said Homer. "We’ve also lost a lot of the available habitat for fish from woody debris.”
Water conditions at the pond were so bad, the Neighborhood Fishin' Program was forced to close on Nov. 1. Fish weren't restocked and sent to larger bodies of water in the Big Country instead.
“While we’re stocking fish and making the population more plentiful, it’s still harder to catch them because it’s a bigger water body," said Homer. "The intent of that program is also to provide a high success chance to catch those fish.”
Homer said the pond could be dredged after undergoing a sediment survey and SONAR mapping, which would show how much sediment needs to be removed.
"There’s a lot of steps that still have to get done but dredging is something where when you’re dealing with an unnatural system like a reservoir," said Homer. "It has to be done because these are unnatural water bodies that have infrastructure that have to be maintained.”
The process can be costly, but Homer believes it's necessary.
"This is one of those things where the Nelson ponds are thought to be about 60 years old and, you know when you think about 60 years worth of sediment and nutrients load that’s just depositing in those lakes,” said Homer.
If the project gets approved by the City, the Neighborhood Fishin' Program could be restored at the pond.