Ponds have become part of our vision of the rural landscape. This was not always so. While buried ice blocks and geological dips did form natural ponds and lakes in the land, these were probably relatively few and far between. Time and the accumulation of natural debris have filled in many of them. Beaver were the great pond creators once they returned after glaciation, but the colonial fur trade meant that they were largely extinct in our area by 1700. Early mills also built ponds along creek flows. Isolated ponds were rarer until agriculture and, more recently, landscape fashion began to spread them. For example, we estimate that the number of ponds in the five-square mile area around Hawthorne Valley Farm has jumped from less than five to over thirty in the past 60 years. We ask, what life do you find in these proliferating ponds and how is a pond’s value to nature influenced by the way it’s managed?

Pond Report: The summary of our study of biodiversity and management effects in nearly 100 openland ponds in Columbia County.

Ponds in the Paper: A three-part series of newspaper articles summarizing our pond work.

Ponds: Our web page linking to these and other resources.