START is pleased to report the story of Rivendell, an environmentally responsible community, that has embarked on a comprehensive pond maintenance program to help reduce the erosion of their pond’s banks and to decrease the release of excess nutrients into the waterways downstream.
Rivendell was established in the late 1990s in Osprey with 498 homes and twenty-three named lakes and ponds that create 65 acres of open water. In addition, fourteen preserved wetlands and uplands provide 115 acres of green space. Bordering Oscar Scherer State Park, the community is located in the South Creek Watershed that flows into Little Sarasota Bay.
Over the years, Rivendell’s ponds slowly declined as a result of excess nitrogen runoff from fertilizer, the appearance of unsightly algae and shoreline erosion. The erosion was particularly troubling as it weakened the integrity of the banks and the resulting fill reduced the storage capacity of the pond. Neighbors also began to notice a pronounced decline in both the amount and variety of wildlife. The pond environment was changing and something had to be done.
The community responded in 2018 by forming the Ponds and Preserves Committee which established a grass Buffer/No Mow Zone around two pilot ponds and planted aquatic plants in the shallow water or littoral zone in the ponds. The grass Buffer/ No Mow Zone was allowed to grow to 8 to 12 inches and then was trimmed with a rounded edge to provide a neat, consistent visual appearance. Later in 2020, the Rivendell Community Association made the low maintenance zone mandatory for all their ponds. The community’s residents are very pleased with the attractive pond vistas and the welcomed return of a variety of birds and wildlife
The Ponds and Preserves Committee under the leadership of Bob Frank continues to install aquatic plants in Rivendell’s ponds to build up the vegetation in the littoral zone to help absorb excess nutrients, provide shade to hinder algal growth and reduce erosion from wind and waves in the pond. Rivendell has been recognized by Sarasota County as a Water Quality Champion for its model pond maintenance program.
START is assisting Rivendell with a grant from our Pond Restoration Program funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to help cover the cost of installing aquatic plants in the littoral zone of the Gator Creek West Pond pictured above at the entrance to the community. For more information about START’s Pond Restoration Program contact Sandy Gilbert at email@example.com.
Photo Rivendell’s Gator Creek West Pond