A stormwater pond, it turns out, is not just for flood control. It has its own little ecosystem.
So when a contractor for Peachtree City drained the stormwater pond near the Honeysuckle Ridge subdivision so repairs could be made, the fish who called it home were being left to die.
Enter nature lover Todd Strickland, a longtime city resident, who leapt into action Feb. 9 to rescue the wildlife. He marshaled his daughter and neighbors, armed with nets to catch the fish and large plastic tubs to keep them in water until they were relocated.
It was a filthy job, Strickland admitted, but it paid off big time.
“Being the nature lovers that we are, and a bit crazy probably, I was like, ‘You know, let’s go down there and see what we can do,’” Strickland said.
The rescue team waded through the mud and muck, pulling out some fish weighing 30 pounds or more.
“There were bass, brim, carp, catfish, tadpoles, crawfish, all sorts of things just stuck in the mud,” Strickland said. “We put as many as we could in the big containers, brought them to Lake Kedron and set them free.”
Strickland said he got the idea after talking with neighbors who were concerned about the pond draining and the smell it would leave behind.
Though he knew the repair work was imminent, Strickland said he was disappointed the city couldn’t do anything to save the fish or give the public better notice about the exact date the pond would be drained.
Then again, there is likely little precedent for a pond rescue operation the likes of which Strickland and friends undertook on their own. It was estimated they saved about 90 percent of the fish.
“I hope the city can figure out maybe some way on the other pond they will be working on or whenever they have to drain a pond, is there a way some effort can be made by the city or volunteers to try and save some of the fish if possible,” Strickland said. “There are more people probably out there like myself, and several people I know said they would have been happy to come help too.
“It’s really neat to see all the wildlife there. It was a wide range of fish. I just feel bad they’re just stuck out to die there in the mud, so I felt I had to do something.”
Below, Todd Strickland helps a big fish from a 55-gallon drum into Lake Kedron, where wildlife from the stormwater retention pond was relocated as part of a citizen-led operation. Photo/Submitted.