Clive was extemely distressed to receive a recent message from the Friends of the Tarn that the ducks on the pond were dying.
Clive met with the Friends Group together with council officers from the parks department and an expert called in by the Council. The expert confirmed that the water – or rather the silt at the bottom of the water – had become infected with botulism spores. This has caused the ducks who feed on the bottom of the tarn to become ill and die.
The expert explained that the recent warm dry weather had reacted with the bacteria that is always present in the silt and that the pond had gone from being “aerobic” to “anaerobic” allowing the botulism spores to multiply. This is common with ponds like the Tarn which do not have a strong constant input and output of running water.
The solution lies in two parts. In the near term the Council will inject the Tarn with a solution which will oxygenate the water and then a pump will be installed to keep the water oxygenated.
In the long-term the tarn will have to be emptied and de-silted and then sustainable solutions found to prevent similar problems in the future such as the planting of reed beds.
Clive paid tribute to the work of the Friends Group. “Because the Friends of the Tarn are made up of local residents they were able to spot the problem early and alert the Council and myself. I think that the establishment of Friends groups for each of the borough’s Parks has been a huge step forward. Local people taking an interest in their local resources can only ever be a good thing. You only have to see the drive and enthusiasm of the Friends group at the Tarn and at other local parks to see what an asset these groups have become. They work closely with the Council’s parks’ department and together they are making a real difference.”
If you want to get involved then why not get in touch with your local parks group. Details are often given on notices in each park.
Since his visit to the Tarn Clive has also been in touch with the Environment Agency and Thames Water. They have confirmed that some of the water coming into the Tarn from storm drains has been polluted. This is often caused by builders – often working on extensions to homes – connecting the domestic waste into the storm drains rather than the main sewage pipes. They will be working to try to trace properties where this has happened.