START presents another community pond enhancement success story in Sarasota County. This month’s selection is from Pinebrook South as written by resident, Don Thomas.
The community of Pinebrook South is located across from Wellfield Park on Pinebrook Road near Venice Avenue, minutes away from the downtown area and Gulf beaches. It was the second PUD (Planned Unit Development) approved by the City of Venice, Florida in the late 70’s. Construction by the developer, Tidewater Village LTD, continued into the early 80’s consisting of 422 free standing single- family homes, 50 villas and 72 condominiums. Two large stormwater lakes of 9 and 11 acres drain into Curry Creek, which runs west to Roberts Bay and east to the Myakka River, emptying into Charlotte Harbor near Punta Gorda.
As stewards of the two lakes, the Pinebrook South Homeowners’ Association has recently undertaken several projects to protect and preserve the lakes. In February of 2020, with the help of Dr Abbey Tyrna, Water Resources Agent from the University of Florida Extension Service, a 4 foot No Mow Zone was established to combat erosion occurring along the shoreline and to limit grass clippings from adding nitrogen to the water. Homeowners bordering the lakes were given a list of plants with deep root systems and encouraged to add them to the zone. Invasive vegetation and diseased trees were removed and flush cut so the roots would continue to stabilize the banks.
With START’s assistance, a second initiative took place in May of this year to introduce littoral vegetation along the shore of the west lake to further establish the banks and filter nutrients from the water. Pickerelweed, Arrowhead and Spikerush were installed within 3 feet of the bank covering the entire nine acres or 7,500 feet of shoreline. Funding from the 2021/2022 budget have been earmarked to add the same plantings in the east lake which is 11 acres with a similar length of shoreline in September.
In order to combat the buildup of sediment from nitrogen-rich runoff and minimize contaminates entering Gulf waters, the Association has budget for the installation of an aeration system beginning with the east lake. A compressor with tubing running the length of the lake will be connected to 3 diffusers which over time, will break down the 2 to 3-foot layer of sediment and improve water quality. This will be replicated in the west lake in 2022.
As a final strategy, Pinebrook South will participate in the Florida Lakewatch program through the Extension Service. Monthly samplings of water to record total phosphorus, total nitrogen, algae, color conductivity and water clarity will be collected and sent to the UF/IFAS extension service, providing critical data for environmental organizations and researchers.
To learn more about how you can enhance your ailing stormwater ponds with a screening of START’s Healthy Pond PowerPoint presentation contact Sandy Gilbert at email@example.com.