A project that helped reverse algae growth in Hopkins Pond in Haddonfield has won an award from the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions.
The project was done by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Camden County and Camden County Soil Conservation District, with assistance from Haddonfield Memorial High School students.
The five acres of Hopkins Pond experiences intense blue-green algae blooms during warm weather due to excessive nutrient runoff from local lawns, recreational fields and other sources, according to Julie Beddingfield, chairwoman of the Haddonfield Environmental Commission.
Hopkins Park was fitted with a Hydro Logic “Airlift” diffuse air aeration system last spring to increase circulation and dissolved oxygen in the pond. In addition, artificial floating wetlands were installed as a unique way to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in a water body by using natural microbial action and aquatic vegetation that might be grown in a land-based, constructed wetland, and extending it into deeper waters. While commercially available floating wetlands are very expensive and unlikely to be purchased without substantial grants or municipal or corporate funds; this project used a lower-cost, do-it-yourself wetland engineered with less expensive materials and native wetland plants.
Environmental Sciences faculty and students from Haddonfield Memorial High School helped collect water quality data and assisted in habitat monitoring. As a result of this work, the pond water column is mixing well, and zooplankton have had a period of explosive population growth that will provide food to fish in the pond. Hopkins Pond did not experience a blue-green algae bloom this past summer, unlike other local ponds.
ANJEC Executive Director Sandy Batty said she was impressed at the quality and originality of the winning projects and the impact they will have in protecting natural resources in New Jersey communities. A special awards committee comprised of ANJEC Trustees and staff members selected winners based on their exceptional environmental efforts. ANJEC has been presenting the coveted annual awards since the mid-1970s.