The sad decline of Lily Lake pond
In recent years, I have a noticed a sharp decline in the water quality of the Birch Grove Park pond system. As a local boy growing up in the seventies and eighties, I remember the water in these ponds being almost crystal clear in some places. You could easily see schools of plentiful sunfish, and even the occasional lunker bass or toothy, torpedo shaped Pickerel swimming by.
Today, the ponds are filled with an ugly brown crud, and the water has become markedly opaque; clouded in various shades of brown and green. What is the cause of this undesirable change in water quality? It is a process called eutrophication, a natural process in a ponds life cycle, which is apparently being accelerated by human activity.
Self-sustaining reproductive populations:
Black Bullhead Catfish
Golden Shiners aka Millroach
Birch grove Park features miles of out-of-the-way, thickly wooded paths and trails. Surprisingly, as you negotiate the narrow earthen causeways, held together by the roots of stunted pine trees, oak, larch, blueberry and laurel separating the many man-made ponds, or walk the more wide open dirt service road which begins in the campground area, and then winds around the entire park, bringing you into the less trafficked, heavily wooded areas of Birch Grove where you will be able to convince yourself you are in some remote wilderness far from civilisation, when in fact, you are surrounded by one of the most densely populated and highly developed areas of Southern New Jersey. Northfield City, Atlantic County.
After waiting out the opening of the 2010 Birch Grove Park fishing season Saturday April 10th, when the park is always overrun by hordes of frenzied trout seekers, at 10 AM Monday 12th the webmaster dipped his hook into a Birch Grove Park pond for the first time since the closing of the 2009 Park season, and landed a nice Chain Pickerel within 10 minutes. Did I mention your webmaster is the greatest fisherman in the History of Birch Grove Park?
The April 10th opening of the 2010 Birch Grove park fishing season began at 8 AM with the annual Trout tournament which was open to children ages 2-15. Personally I think the 16 and 17 year-olds were gipped, and I’m sure they’d agree. Insert appropriate emoticon here. Prizes were given in various age groups for the largest weigh-in or for fish tagged with a specific ID number (*not sure if this was true for the current season). Some fairly nice prizes were offered including: trophies, pole and reel combos, and fishing tackle.