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Presentation: White Pond water quality best since 1972

Friends of White Pond learned over the weekend that oxygen levels in White Pond are now the best they've ever been recorded at going back to 1972. This is an unusual reversal of "eutrophication" where a pond dies a natural death. We attribute the cause of the turnaround to use of the A-POD for the last three years running.


Jon Higgins, inventor of the A-POD, presented that the physical removal of cyanobacteria (the culprit) and pollen (that feeds the cyanobacteria) has led to a return of a "lunch buffet" of options for a variety of species in the pond (see graphic from a September 2023 analysis of White Pond water). While algae of all sorts are always present, only cyanobacteria causes the toxic algae blooms that have shut ponds down across the country. Other algae types are beneficial to the pond and feed a variety of life. This includes phytoplankton and zooplankton that keep oxygen levels high and create food for fish, re-establishing a natural food chain.




Higgins' work and review of findings by others including runoff controls completed by the Town has highlighted an important lesson in pond management: human-produced runoff and septic effluent is no longer reaching the pond in any meaningful way.  Rather, excess nutrients are being carried into the pond by climate change increases in annually recurring tree pollen deposits.  Tree pollen contains phosphorous and nitrogen that fuel the growth of cyanobacteria. Removing previously dominant toxic cyanobacteria in 2022 and continuing in 2023 to interrupt the transmission process of  trees -> pollen -> cyanobacteria has been key to restoring and maintaining a healthy pond.


Generally speaking, tree pollen production is getting worse with climate change.  As a best management practice, we think that regular use of the A-PODs will be important to remove this external source of nutrients (tree pollen) and keep the pond at a high state of health.  If left unchecked, several years of tree pollen deposits into the pond could allow the previously dominant forms of toxic cyanobacteria to return and for other water quality and biological conditions like dissolved oxygen and phytoplankton diversity to decrease.


But for 2024, this is great news for the pond and those who enjoy it.


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