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CAMPUS: TAMIU pond cleanup ‘destructive’ says ecology professor

CAMPUS: TAMIU pond cleanup ‘destructive’ says ecology professor

By Jaime Gurrola
Bridge Contributing Writer
Published Thursday, March 9, 2023

The number of native wildlife normally found at the pond near the University Village at TAMIU declined recently. The cleanup and beautification efforts may be to blame, one professor claims.

The pond near the UV is one of the first sights many people see when they visit TAMIU. Over the years, many volunteers cleaned and beautified the pond. These volunteer efforts included the removal of trash, clearing trees, removing large logs and branches from the pond, and releasing chlorinated water into the pond.

biology pond
Joy Davis | Bridge
The sun reflects off the water of the biology pond on campus, on Feb. 21.

“I would say that what they’ve done hasn’t cleaned up that pond. It’s actually a very destructive way of treating that pond,” TAMIU Associate Professor of ecology C. Neal McReynolds said.

The use of chlorinated water also harms the aquatic and non-aquatic life in the pond.

“Something that has probably harmed fish, turtles, and the insects—including dragonflies and damselflies—in my eyes, is that every so often somebody has opened up a fire hydrant and chlorinated water has been flowed into that pond,” McReynolds said. “They think it’s good for the fish, [but] it’s terrible for the fish.”

TAMIU student and reptile owner Keisha Calderon said the use of chlorinated water can have negative effects on any species of turtle living in the pond.

“Turtles are not as sensitive to chlorine as fish, but it can still cause numerous problems such as irritating their eyes,” Calderon said.

McReynolds observed a lot more wildlife activity at the pond in 2021. The removed branches had vegetation growing on the side and were part of that ecosystem. He recommends the best way to take care of the pond is to just leave it alone.

“I can see what’s happened to this pond,” McReynolds said. “The cleaning up, they may think [that] it’s aesthetically pleasing but they are actually disturbing a lot of the habitat in that pond and around that pond.”

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