Asked March 23, 2020, 11:45 AM EDT

Our Condominium Association is in need of advice. The condo developer graded the landscape in the back of our condos to create a retention pond. The problem is the land had hundreds of trees & shrubs growing on it and was used by wildlife (deer, etc.) for grazing & bedding down. At any rate once the land was flooded with storm run-off all of the vegetation died. We're talking A LOT of dead trees & shrubs. It looks horrible! Eventually, this material will begin to decompose & rot, bringing all kinds of additional problems. What kinds of solutions are available to help resolve this mess? The developer claims that there is nothing he has to do.

Livingston County Michigan

2 Responses

Hello and thank you for using eXtension with your condo retention pond question. Retention and detention ponds by their construction are not natural ponds. They are created solely for the purpose of managing stormwater runoff. They are required by law for any new developments of this type.
While they often naturalize over time and the residents often come to love the nature and wildness that it brings to them, they are still retention ponds and fall under those rules. I am sorry but your developer is correct. There is nothing he has to do once meeting the letter of the law.

I suggest taking a different approach in asking your developer to embrace the pond and promote vegetation appropriate for this new ecosystem. Introduce your association to the book "Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy for some guidance in why this is important. it is possible that some of that vegetation will survive is they are water loving. Think of it as a newly flooded "beaver pond" and watch as the land adapts to its new circumstances. What new wildlife move in? New birds, etc. Add a wood duck nesting box to it.
Sorry there is no magic wand to make a new pond immediately beautiful. in 3-5 years it will stabilize and become more like a natural wetland.

Thank you VERY much for your reply to my question! You provide both clarity to the source of the problem, as well as assistance in find solutions to remedies for the problem. Best wishes.