START is very pleased to present the following article about our first completed Pond Enhancement Project in Manatee County thanks to a generous grant from Ed Chiles and Elizabeth Moore. The article was written by Antaeus Balevre, President, Water Oak Homeowners Association.
Whisper Bend AKA Water Oak is a small 162 home subdivision adjacent to Tara Golf and Country Club in Bradenton.
It’s still a mystery today why the builder, Bruce Williams Homes, incorporated the community as “Water Oak,” then placed signs at the entrance calling it “Whisper Bend.” Construction began in 2002, and the community was turned over to the residents in 2005.
Whisper Bend has three ponds/lakes, nature preserves, and a tributary of the Braden River running through it. The runoff from pond one (the smallest) flows into pond two, which runs off into pond three. Pond three overflows into the Braden River tributary.
Over the years, the ponds/lakes within the community were not appropriately maintained due to the inattentiveness of the previous pond maintenance company. As a result, a few years ago, an ongoing restoration project was started to bring the ponds/lakes back to their original pristine condition.
Having suffered a fish kill, pond number two was in the worst condition, so the project started there. First, acres of alligator grass had to be removed by hand. Then the algae problem had to be addressed by installing an aerator, and stocking the pond with hundreds of fish.
The final and ongoing phase is removing the invasive grasses on the littoral shelf and replacing them with beneficial plants. This must be done by hand and is a very time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive undertaking.
Fortunately, the HOA was contacted by START with an offer to help pay some of the cost for the aquatic plant stock for the littoral shelf. As a result, Whisper Bend was able to plant hundreds of indigenous plants that will help filter the pond water in pond number two.
We look forward to continue working with START throughout this ongoing project to restore ponds one and three.
Other communities in Manatee County that are interested in learning more about enhancing their ailing stormwater ponds should contact Sandy Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.