#41 – November 12, 2017 – Pond Life!

Dear Friends,
As many of you know, the ISHA Meeting Hall property contains several shallow, artificial ponds (technically, “infiltration basins”) that are designed to manage storm water runoff, prevent flooding and downstream erosion, and improve water quality in nearby rivers and streams. The ponds allow the water to slowly soak into the ground. During the rainy season, the pools are full of water, but during an extended drought they may completely dry up. The largest infiltration basin on the construction site lies along the eastern edge of the parking lot.
In this photo, taken last summer as the large basin was being built, a rainstorm has filled the pond with muddy water.
The basins were all lined with fiber, erosion-control blankets that greatly reduce soil erosion, and encourage the growth of native plants.
This year, the Meeting Hall site received lots of summer rain, keeping the infiltration basins wet through the entire year. Mother Nature responded by sending a breathtaking abundance of life!  By mid-summer, the ponds were surrounded by lush grasses and other plants, and the water teemed with aquatic life such as tadpoles.
These lovely, tall, native Iris plants, known as Blue Flag (Iris versicolor), showed up on their own.
If you visit the site next spring, you will likely see Blue Flag in bloom.
Sedges are flowering plants that resemble grasses and rushes. The family is large, with some 5,500 known species. This unknown species of sedge sprouted along the banks of the pond, and we can look forward to seeing their flowers in the spring.
In September, to increase the biodiversity of the pond, sevadars transplanted two other varieties of plants from a nearby pond, including water lilies.
And here, a joyful sevadar is planting broadleaf arrowhead (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagittaria_latifolia), a native plant also known as duck-potato, Indian potato, and wapato. Arrowhead produces edible tubers that were an important food source for the native peoples of the region. Anyone for a side dish of sautéed duck-potato at the next Mitti Seva lunch?
Several light snows have already blanketed the Meeting Hall site. Here’s what the large pond looked like last week. We can all look forward to the spring thaw, when both the pond life and the ISHA construction activities will emerge from hibernation.
With warmest regards,
Paul Bauer
Chair of ISHA Building & Fund-Raising Committee