Village Pond Park Improvement Project
Village Pond Park is located at 23102 Ridge Route Drive. The 4.7-acre park includes a pond approximately one acre in size. Village Pond Park is unique, in that the park is maintained by the City, and the Lake Forest Community Homeowner's Association (Association) is responsible for pond maintenance based on a 1976 agreement originally between the Association and the County of Orange. In 1991, the City became the successor to the County.
Overpopulation and public feeding of waterfowl has contributed to water quality issues of the pond and has complicated maintenance and the public's enjoyment of the park. Over the past few years, the City has continued to work with the Association on water quality matters, adopted a Wildlife Ordinance prohibiting the feeding of waterfowl, and launched educational outreach efforts. In addition, the City and landscape architect, Nuvis, have held numerous community workshops to gather input regarding potential park improvements. Based on community input, a Final Design is available for viewing, and incorporates best practices and proposed features designed to discourage the overpopulation of waterfowl. These features are listed below.
- Entry plazas
- Low fences to control waterfowl access
- Additional trees
- Reduced turf amount
- Plant species not favored by waterfowl
- Create a floating island and add geyser fountains to disrupt flight patterns.
- Add geyser fountains
- Boulders and large shrubs around the pond to discourage nesting
- Construct an irrigation system to improve water circulation and quality.
March 7, 2017 - City Council approved a $2.1 million construction contract to United Engineering & Construction to complete the Village Pond Park Improvement project. With the approval of the contract, the site will be fenced off on March 13, at which time the park will be closed to the public. Shortly thereafter, construction will begin. The construction is expected to take nine months with re-opening of the park in early 2018. An article featured in the Orange County Register detailed some of the pending improvements.
February 7, 2017 - Recent rain events have caused the pond to overflow at Village Pond Park. Since Federal and State water quality laws prohibit the pond water from being discharged into the City’s storm drain system, the City will continue to monitor the water level while it subsides naturally in the coming weeks. In addition, signs are posted throughout the park advising the public that the sidewalk is temporarily closed.
The City anticipates awarding a contract to the most qualified and competitive firm in March, at which time, the selected contractor will coordinate closure of the park and begin pumping water into the sanitary sewer for treatment by the El Toro Water District.
The City has hired Aquabio Environmental Technologies (“Aquabio”) for wildlife relocation services. The firm has extensive experience in similar projects, and a fully-trained, licensed, and certified staff to manage sensitive wildlife relocation efforts. Aquabio is currently working with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) to obtain a permit to relocate wildlife. Prior to permit issuance, CDFW has required Aquabio to “seine” the lake in order to gather information regarding the number and types of aquatic species present in the lake. The process of seining uses large nets to draw in and inventory a sample of aquatic species in the lake. Based on this sampling, CDFW will provide specific instructions regarding the relocation of each species that will become the basis for a permit to relocate the wildlife. According to Aquabio, conditions around the pond must be dry for approximately one week before seining can occur. Aquabio expects to seine the lake within the next few weeks, weather permitting.
Updated March 15, 2017