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Hydro-Raking Demarest Pond

By Maraliese Beveridge

View of Demarest Pond

Sometimes, you come across a project shot that is just so pretty you have to share it! This is Demarest Pond in the Borough of Demarest, NJ, and it just received a Project of the Year Honor Award from the NJ Society of Municipal Engineers in the Municipal Management Project category.

This hidden gem is located among the urban sprawl along the Hudson River on the Jersey side. It’s easy to see why this naturalized centerpiece is a beloved place for community members to enjoy.

The Problem

The .85 acre pond has an elongated shoreline that provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife. But sections of the pond were filling-in with organic matter, debris and sediment. The water had become green and murky with little visibility and reduced oxygen for fish.

Pond before hydro-raking

After careful analysis, Project Manager Sunny Mullen, PE, CME determined pond dredging was too intrusive in this case as it removes the organic material as well as the sediment on the bottom of the pond. It can also damage the pond bottom as well as the ecosystem. It is usually implemented to achieve a desired depth and enable the pond to hold more water, moderate water temperature and prevent flooding. This wasn’t the goal.

The Solution

Hydro-raking, however, was an attractive alternative to dredging as it has less of an impact on the pond and surrounding area. It removes the organic matter and other debris in a more selective manner. Factors contributing to pond health include water temperature and suspended particles. As the water becomes shallower it heats up, reducing oxygen which affects the habitat of fish, turtles and birds. Suspended particles in the water that attach to plants and contribute to organic matter accumulation was another concern.

View of wildlife at Demarest Pond

Hydro-raking was the perfect, low-impact solution for this community. Today, the pond is significantly cleaner and healthier.  It will continue to invite wildlife into the habitat offered by the pond and increase quality of life and serenity for years to come.

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