Resident Canada Geese
Salt Ponds Stewardship: How to be a good neighbor to the ponds
Reduce Fertilizer UseFertilizer Use Clean Up After PetsDog Discourage GeeseGoose Capture RunoffRain Barrel Maintain OWTSsPoo Truck
Fertilizer applied to pond-side gardens and lawns, if not taken up by plants, ends up in groundwater or washes into the pond. Once in the pond, these fertilizers (mainly nitrogen) cause excess algal growth, or in extreme cases, algal blooms. These are not only unsightly, but once the algae die, sink, and decompose, this process consumes oxygen in the water column and at the sediment surface. Very low oxygen (hypoxic) and no oxygen (anoxic) conditions are incompatible with marine life and can cause kills of shellfish and finfish. Therefore, using fertilizer sparingly or not at all when you live adjacent to a pond, and taking measures to ensure that excess fertilizer does not reach the pond, is extremely important to pond health.

Charlestown Fertilizer Resolution (Tidal Page article)

Managing Coastal Lawns (Tidal Page article)

Making the Links Greener (Tidal Page article)

This Organic Yard (Tidal Page article)

Managing Coastal Lawns (PDF)

Nutrient Reducing Tip Sheet (PDF)

Pollution in the Ponds (2009 Overview, PDF)

URI Healthy Landscapes Web Site

Pet waste contains high levels of nutrients and bacteria, both of which pollute pond waters.  Cleaning up after our pets before their waste can wash into our ponds is an important step pond-neighbors can take to be stewards of the waters.

URI Healthy Landscapes Pet Waste Page (Link)

There are two types of Canada geese that can be present in RI:  migratory and resident.  Migratory geese are here briefly while they migrate, but resident geese stay year-round. Resident geese are prolific breeders--their flocks can grow 10% to 17% every year!

In the past few decades, populations of resident Canada geese have been increasing to the point that they are causing significant problems.  According to the RI Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM), and as many of us have observed, these include:

* Large accumulations of droppings on lawns, golf courses, parks, etc.
* Nutrient enrichment of waterbodies from droppings (about 1 lb per goose per day)
* Overgrazing of lawns
* Public health concerns at beaches and in drinking water due to bacteria in droppings
* Aggressive behavior by nesting birds
* Safety hazards near roads and airports

Most of us enjoy having some geese around-they are beautiful birds.  But the huge resident populations are beyond what is acceptable, both to people and the pond ecology. The DEM document RI DEM:  Dealing with Resident Canada Geese gives helpful tips for discouraging geese from frequenting your pond-side property and becoming a nuisance.

Goose Control (Tidal Page article)

Runoff from impervious surfaces (roofs, driveways, walkways, etc.) has been strongly correlated with impaired water quality.  When this runoff contains fertilizer which has spilled onto walkways and driveways, the problem is even worse. Ways to combat this include installing rain gardens and vegetated buffers to capture runoff from impervious surfaces on your property. Rain barrels can also be used to catch roof runoff, which can then be used to water your plants. And, make sure to clean up any fertilizer that spills onto hard surfaces before it has a chance to wash into a pond.

Tidal Page articles:
* Buffer Demo Project (Summer 2010)
* Buffer Demo Project (Summer 2009)

URI Watershed Watch Water Quality Fact Sheets (Link)
Poorly functioning and outdated onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTSs, or septic systems) do not adequately remove nitrates from wastewater. These nitrates then end up in groundwater or even surface runoff, which eventually can end up in the pond. In addition, human waste contains potentially harmful pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.  If bacterial levels are beyond state standards, waters are deemed unsafe for contact or shellfishing.  Thus, making sure that your septic system is properly functioning is not only critical for pond health, but for human health as well.

DEM Wastewater Relief (Tidal Page article)

RI DEM Septic Regulations Tighten Up (Tidal Page article)

New Septic Regulations--An Overview (Tidal Page article)

Who's in Charge?  The Darker Side of OWTS (Tidal Page article)

URI Onsite Wastewater System Factsheets (Link)

DEM Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Page

Salt Ponds Coalition P.O. Box 875 Charlestown, RI 02813 (401) 322-3068 saltpondscoalition@gmail.com