With less than two years before a State grant was to expire, the project team walked out along the overgrown grass on top of the earthen dam separating the old stock pond and a plunge pool on the other side for a site visit.
We had a very tight window of opportunity to work in the pond — between September 10 and October 15 or so, because we could not interfere with the mating season of the California Red Legged Frog. The contractor worked quickly, dredging the pond, cleaning out the thicket of cattails and constructing a gravel trail atop the dam.
By the following spring the native and not-so natives were making themselves at home along the pond banks. Park rangers were keeping count of the animal sightings at the pond which included a couple of coots regulars, skunks, elk (track and scat sightings), Western Pond Turtles, the Red Legged Frogs, etc.
The park can get brutally warm in the summer — although the hardcore amongst the park’s regulars seem not to mind (yes, it is dry heat…) The engineers at the Natural Resources Conservation Service who served as our design engineers were concerned about the cracks starting to form at the pond banks as the soil dried up in the heat of summer.
We held a final walkthrough with the grantor’s project officer just in the nick of time as the grant was expiring. The resident turtle popped its head up and showed off its swimming form right on cue to impress and dazzle the project officer.