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What's Happening?

Where did all the water go?

Well the pond's not quite as dry as the moon, but it is pretty dry! File this one under the category of "Mistakes Happen". The water department was testing the pump at the west end of the pond. They turned it to "on" as part of the test and and forgot to turn it back to "automatic". The net result is what you see when you walk around the pond right now - missing water!

While it would be theoretically possible to re-fill the pond with municipal water, the board's inclination is not to ask the City to do that for fear of Chlorine in the water having negative ramifications on the fish and other wildlife.

CDTA Restruturing Meetings

While this isn't a directly pond related issue, we thought some neighbors who are also Conservancy members would like to know that CDTA has announced route restructuring, and as per the announced plan "Buckingham Pond neighborhood . . . will no longer have direct access to regular route service. Customers will have a reasonable walking distance to more frequent services on nearby corridors."

There is a public input meeting: Thursday, July 14, 4:00-8:00pm Albany Public Library – Pine Hills Branch at 517 Western Avenue

Visit www.cdta.org for more information.

So Far So Good

The Conservancy is making a concerted effort to rid our pond of the invasive species Purple Loosestrife. Purple Loosestrife is a problem for the pond because it chokes out native animals like cattails. Cattails are needed by native species like ducks and muskrats, and they also help filter the water that runs in to the pond.

For the last two years we've dug out every scrap we can find. So we're keeping a careful watch to see what comes up this year. I was initially concerned when I saw some purple flower heads popping up. But it turns out to be Blue Vervain, which is a native flower known for attracting butterflies.

I still expect to find some loosestrife this year - it's known for being invasive, but so far, so good.

Here are images of the two together, so you can see the differences. On the left is Blue Vervain, on the right, Purple Loosestrife.

Blue Vervain
Purple Loosestrife

Underwater

If you've tried to walk the South (New Scotland) side of the path recently, you'll have noticed that it's been underwater for much of the last few weeks. These pictures were taken on Thursday 6/16/2011.

Even before the rain, we had talked with the City's Department of General Services about the failing rail road ties. When we alerted them that the path was underwater they assured us that once the path dries out they will be working on raising the path to prevent this from happening again - both where the ties are failing and further west near where the path was recently reconfigured. We'll be talking to them as the summer continues and we'll keep you posted as we find out more.

Many thanks to DGS for adding this to their long list of things to attend to.

Water Testing Beginning

BPC is participating this year in the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP). CSLAP is a volunteer lake monitoring program run by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the NYS Federation of Lake Associations, Inc. (NYSFOLA).

If you see people at the pond with test tubes and equipment this summer, it's probably us!

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Successful Spring Clean Up

Thanks so much to everyone for the great Spring clean up on Sunday 4/10. It was terrific to see so many folks out - more than 30 people were there to help.

A special tip of the pruning shears to Fred Ruff who tackled the invasive Oriental Bittersweet that was strangling one of the shrubs near the Lenox Avenue entrance on the North side.

Several people mentioned that they feel that each cleanup we find less and less garbage to pick up. That's a great credit to everyone who has been coming out to help.

Pond Pickup Day Sunday 4/10

Pond Pickup Day
Sunday April 10, 2011 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Meet at the parking lot

Join your neighbors as we all pitch in to get the pond ready for spring & summer.

General trash & litter pickup.
Bring work gloves and tools.

Bags and some tools will be available.

Come one come all!

Water Testing Volunteers Needed and Boat Sought

We're looking for volunteers to help with our summer water testing effort. You'd need to be available one or two Saturday or Sunday mornings a month from June through October, and for about an hour and half each time you participate. This water testing is critical to our long term goal of understanding and improving the water quality at the pond. We need your help to make this happen. If you are interested in finding out more, contact us at albanybpc@gmail.com

We're also looking for a small rowboat or similar flat bottomed boat to use for this project - a canoe might even work. If you have a boat you aren't using and would be willing to loan it to us for the summer, please let us know at albanybpc@gmail.com

April 30th Road Trip

The New York State Federation of Lake Association's Annual Conference is a great way to learn about pond ecology, algae blooms, water quality issues, aquatic plants and much more. This year's conference is Friday, April 29th through Sunday May 1st in Hamilton NY. A number of BPC board members will be heading out to take part in this conference on Saturday April 30th. You can review the agenda here: NYSFOLA 2011 Agenda. Cost for one day is $55. We're hoping to get a few conservancy members to join us on this BPC road trip. Interested? Contact us at albanybpc@gmail.com

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