While the Suncoast was very fortunate to dodge the full brunt of IAN, many communities still experienced some major damage with downed trees and broken branches, wind-blown landscaping and some lost roof shingles and damaged lanai screens.
As a result, START was very concerned about how the aquatic pond plants faired that we planted recently as part of our work with the Healthy Pond Collaborative in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Fortunately, initial reports from the field from fourteen of our participating Healthy Pond Communities indicated that their stormwater ponds performed well in containing the major increase in stormwater and in most cases, the aquatic pond plants, No Mow Zones and pond banks held up well against the driving wind and rain.
The picture above from the Wind Wood Community in Nokomis demonstrates the typical post storm conditions that were reported. The ponds were very full with stormwater covering almost all but the top of the plants. A number of our community contacts speculated that the highwater levels reduced the plants’ exposure to the strong wind and high waves and helped protect their root structure. Others reported that they felt the aquatic plants and higher buffer from their No Mow Zones improved the performance of their ponds in holding stormwater reducing flooding. Ensuing pond checks after the water levels began to recede showed that while we lost some plant stock in a few locations, most of the installed aquatic plants held their own. These are encouraging findings and provide another tangible reason for communities to properly maintain their stormwater ponds.