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Additional info on crane pond---it's duck weed, not algae!
Release Date: August 10, 2010

Received this e mail from Gerry Byrne, Commissioner of Parks about Crane Pond, which is located in Edgemont, off Pipeline Road (Pipeline Road connects to the Hartsdale train station).  This is a charming little pond --one of the gateways to Edgemont. Many constituents have expressed concern about the condition of the pond. It's almost all green. Thought you would find this interesting. PAUL FEINER
 
I just made a site visit at Crane’s Pond and had a conversation with our Caretaker, Saverio DeGiorgo who has a degree in biology and he informed me that while there is some algae in the pond that the majority of the surface is duck weed and not algae.  He thinks that this must have been transfer from a duck that picked it up from a different location and introduced it to the pond. 
 
What is duck weed?  Below is some information I picked up from the internet:
 
Duckweed belongs to the family Lemnaceae and is small, free floating green plants that form large blankets on the surface of sheltered water.  The body of duckweed is composed of a simple floating disc of photosynthetic tissue often with roots attached.  It is not differentiated into stem and leaf tissue.  All species of duckweed supposedly produce minute flowers, but these flowers are seldom observed.  Reproduction is generally vegetative and its growth rate is tremendous, A thumb-sized planting will cover 1.2 acres in 55 days if uninhibited.
 
 Duckweed has some desirable properties for water purification.  Duckweed treats waste by breaking it down and converting it into two components:   biomass (duckweed leaves and roots) and treated water. Using duckweed for water purification is definitely low tech and needs a lot of space to be effective.   Also, duckweed cannot process heavy metals, pesticides, or toxic substances.
 
 Duckweed blooms typically occur in shallow waters rich in nutrients, especially phosphorus and/or nitrogen.  Many studies have indicated that duckweed growth is a function of nutrient levels and not pH and/or temperature.  If duckweed becomes an operational problem (i.e. clogging outlets), destroying the duckweed layer with herbicides does not solve the problem of excessive nutrients in the water.  In addition, the chemical herbicides may be toxic to animal life, either directly or through biological magnification.
 
 Because of the exponential growth rate Lemnaceae, herbicides must be used repeatedly   (perhaps several times a year).  Herbicides should be used with extreme caution and under careful supervision.  Biological controls using ducks, fish, turtles, and crustaceans may also help control duckweed populations; however, this type of control is generally not suitable for wastewater systems.  The mechanical removal of the duckweed cover can also remove some the nutrients.  Stopping the inflow of excessive nutrients and the repetitive removal of the duckweed will greatly reduce the growth of duckweeds.  Ideally, the best control is to eliminate the influx of excessive nutrients in the system.
 
 In a nut shell, duckweed is present in water that has high levels of phosphorus and/or ammonia and unless it poses an operational problem it does not need to be removed.
 
Another way to eliminate the growth of duckweed or algae in a pond is to add supplemental biological products to help degrade any organics in the system. These bacteria will grow and create a stronger biomass and thereby reduce the amount of food or nutrients available for the duckweed or algae and outcompete them.
 
Here is the link were I got the above information: http://www.environmentalleverage.com/Duckweed.htm
 



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