Period 7 Environmental Impact Project - AHS Pond Courtyard Redesign

Things left to do for the pond project (10/30/2012)
  • Change turtle water (Kim, Ian, Brittany)
  • Native plants (Brittany, Ryelee, Jordan, Kim, Marissa)
  • Signage (Abby, Kaleb, Drake, Davis, Cassie, Alexa, Wyatt, Casey, Tessa)
    • Goals of the sign:
      • information about why we are restoring the pond
        • We are restoring the pond because it is our way of giving back to the community and mother nature. We have been learning about how human beings have been taking advantage of natural pieces of land. And we plan to make it a sustainable environment with minimal human interaction.
      • What are the plans for the pond courtyard?
        • We are planning to install a waterfall in the pond. 
        • We are planning to plant native plants in and around the pond. 
      • What is the function of the different features?
        • We are planting native plants because we have been learning about how invasive species have been taking over Iowas' natural landscapes. This is not good because they taking away from diversity and native animals and insects.
        • The waterfall will help with the quality of the water. The circulation adds Oxygen to the water. Ponds with Oxygen are happy healthy ponds.
      • Diagram of the proposed pond courtyard along with the different features and their purpose
        • Pond Courtyard Sign Layout

    • Signs to be located near the hallway windows looking into the courtyard.
    • Tessa's Dad may be able to help
  • Digging out the yellow-flag iris (Eli, Nick, Daveion, Collin, Keaton, Siri, Brandon, Tyler, Amy, Sara, Daniel, Ian)
    • Set up agains the building
  • Get sticks and mud out of the bottom of the pond (Diana, Casey, Eli, Tessa, Tyler)
    • Pile up in the area where we previously put the sediment

  • Waterfall ()
    • Where to put it?
    • Materials to build it
    • How much it costs?
    • Pump for across the pond
    • Rocks and plants to decorate it
    • How long will it take to make the waterfall?
    • Apply for a grant?

  • Finalize a pond diagram ()
    • Google Drawing Doc
    • Get representatives from each group

  • slope the banks
    • reshape?
    • put down liner
    • gravel banks

How are we going to fill up the pond?
  • Drinking water from the hose
  • Rainwater
    • Giant barrels filled with rain water
    • Corrugated black plastic tubing hooked from downspouts into pond

Gravel around the pond
  • To hold the edges and give the turtles something to walk up
  • Run the idea by the turtle people

  • Help aerate the pond - putting oxygen into the pond
  • Don't put the pump for the waterfall next to the waterfall
  • Attractive to wild animals

Removing Invasive Species
  • Dig out the rhizomes of the yellow flag iris
  • Spray the purple loosestrife

Clear the roots from the drain pipes

Bench dedicated to 7th period

Native plants in our greenhouse that we might be able to use for our pond project:
We need plants that can tolerate shade or partial shade, tolerate high moisture and be submerged underwater, we would like them to be shorter, have color, bushier for turtles to hid out under/in, 
  • Riddel's Goldenrod = 5 plants
  • Prairie Cordgrass wet area and tall = 35 plants
  • ??Riverbank Rye?? Native? = 14 plants
  • Bottlebrush sedge Wet area only = 5 plants
  • Coreopsis = 49 plants
  • Porcupine Grass = 6 plants
  • Large Leaf wild indigo = 42 plants
  • Butterfly Milkweed = 7 plants
  • ??Evening Primrose?? height = 7 plants
  • Gray Goldenrod = 7 plants
  • Sideoats Grama = 11 plants
  • ??Smooth Oxeye?? Bloom month? = 14 plants
  • Sky Blue Aster = 196 plants
  • Purple Coneflower = 196 plants
  • Rough Blazing Star = 87 plants
  • ??Compass Plants?? Height? = 4 bunches (1 large, 1 medium, 2 small)
  • Canada Lettuce = 27 plants
  • Prairie Dropseed = 35 plants
  • New England Aster = 14 plants
  • False Boneset = 56 plants

Ideas for thing to do:
  • Put gravel around the pond (vary in the size of gravel)
    • Cost inexpensive
  • Drain the pond
    • Save the water that we pump out
  • Spray for purple loosestrife (spot treat next growing season)
  • keep turtles in plastic bins

Questions we need to answer:
  • How much water comes off of the roof?
    • Roof Area = 21,400 square feet
    • During a 1" rain = 13,337 gallons
  • How much water does the greenhouse use for watering?

  • Is Mr. Beyer certified to spray herbicide in aquatic environments? (Category 5)
    • NO
  • How much does dredging the pond cost?
    • $0
  • When would we need to get the dredging done by?
    • we dont necessarily have to
  • How long will all of these things take that we want to do?
  • How could we slope the banks for the turtles to get out? How much might it cost?
    • Cover the concrete with rocks 
  • How could we build a sustainable waterfall?
    • Pump the water into the air and let it fall back down (this will lead too good circulation which will raise O2)
    • Pump the number of gallons in pond in one hour
    • Move the intake away from out put
    • A small water fall on one side have it run down lined slope with rocks on it
  • Which plants are native and are good for ponds? Turtle guy said emergent plants are important.
    • Watch out for aggressive native plants 
  • How can we clear up the water enough to be able to see them a little bit better? Turtle guys said it isn't critical to have clear water. 
  • Should we put more logs for the turtles?
  • Can he test how deep it is? We wanted to figure out how much water is in our pond.
  • Are there other native fish we should add?

Notes from Eric Gangloff and Antonio's visit:
  • Take care of the turtles we have there first - improve their habitat
  • Slope the banks more, so turtles can easily move between water and land
  • Add emergent plants, so they can stay in water and feel safe
  • Leave a border of native plants and shrubs around the pond, so turtles can feel safe on land (5 feet)
  • We don't necessarily have to move turtles while we are reconstructing the pond - they thought they should be fine
  • Have areas for the turtles to sun themselves
  • Have signs to keep people out during certain times of the year (June)

Blanding's Turtle Resources:

Water Quality Testing 9/24/2012
  • Phosphates - 0 ppm
  • Oxygen - 9 ppm, 6 ppm
  • Transparency Tube - 25 cm, 18.8 cm, 20 cm
  • pH - 7, 7 
  • Nitrite - 0 
  • Nitrate - 0
  • Chlorides - 48 ppm, 45 ppm
  • Air Temp - 78 F
  • Water Temp - 

Things from the WildOnes article that are relevant to the pond project:
  • Think about the height of plants - many of them are really tall
  • Sun exposure requirements must be considered - many prairie plants don't thrive in shade
  • Don't use fertilizer or irrigation
  • Manage weeds in the early stages - first two growing seasons need more attention - develop a management plan for the future
  • Don't put natives and non-natives together
  • Plant species that grow quickly and reseed themselves
  • Plant things that will provide food for native insects and birds
  • Check the seed mixes - don't just trust them
  • Must have signs, so people know what is going on and are educated

What are the major things that need to be addressed by the project? (Class ideas based on our current knowledge)
  • Move the plaque rock - plant a tree and rededicate the tree
  • Getting rid of non-native plants
  • Cleanup walnuts
  • Get rid of pond sediment
  • Test Water Quality (before and after)

  • Signs

  • New Plants (including plants that wildlife eat)
  • New Fish
  • Clean up pond
  • Rainwater management
  • Rainwater harvesting for the greenhouse
  • Low Priorities
    • Bench (Ian will build)
    • Possibly restore Blanding's Turtle population
    • Maybe put different species of turtles in the courtyard

Questions that the class has about the project:
  • How will we write grants?
  • What else do the stakeholders care about?
  • What native plants were here before and can we put back in?
  • What does a natural turtle life cycle need?

What do we need to learn in order to make informed decisions about the project?
  • Turtles
  • Normal habitat of Blanding's Turtles
  • Water
  • Animals that visit there
  • What do the plants do?

Expertise that we need to bring in to help us learn those things along with questions we would ask them:
  •  Landscapers
  • Bench makers
  • prairie researcher
  • Eric Gangloff
  • Turtle specialist
  • Ecologist

Here are the overall Environmental Impact Project Goals:
  • Deepen knowledge about some aspect of environmental science 
  • Give something back to your community in order to learn about the value of civic responsibility
  • Become more connected to your community
  • Develop project management/leadership skills
  • Develop better written and verbal communication skills
  • Explore personal and career interests

Original AHS Pond Renovation Ideas
  • Carry out plan from last year’s group and expand it
  • Remove invasive species
  • Remove sediment
  • Move memorial stone
  • Reconstruct banks with the help of an expert
  • Plant native species
  • Collaborate with a herp expert to see if this are can be used to raise turtles for release
  • Clean up old tree debris
  • Design and install rainwater harvesting system for the greenhouse

Resources for removing invasive species: