Five environmental benefits of a pond

Many pond owners enjoy the beauty and interest their water garden adds to their home landscape—not to mention the relaxing, soothing sounds of streams and waterfalls. But owning a pond is also beneficial to the environment. Here’s how:

1. Water conservation
Lawns and soil-based plants require watering. Lots and lots of watering. In fact, regular lawn watering uses 750-1,500 gallons of water each month.(Source: Water Conservation Tips - Conversely, ponds can be re-filled with rainwater, virtually watering themselves. Plus, once a pond is initially filled, owners need to “top off” the pond only occasionally, or perform an occasional water change. Ponds also offer a self-sustaining cycle of hydration that keeps plants alive without having to water them. Additionally, pond water can be used to water other plants throughout the yard—simply dip a watering can into the pond to care for other soil-based plants around your house. Finally, if you experience a lower-than-normal season of rainfall, you can always position drainpipes from your rooftop to empty directly into your pond, so it acts as a natural reservoir. All of this water conservation ultimately offers a side benefit: lower utility costs, especially in the months with hotter-than-usual temperatures.

2. Less mowing, fewer pollutants
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each weekend about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. A traditional gas-powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars, each being driven 12,000 miles. Garden equipment engines—which also emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides—produce up to 5% of the nation's air pollution. Lastly, over 17 million gallons of gas are spilled each year refueling lawn and garden equipment—that’s more oil than the Exxon Valdez spilled in the Gulf of Alaska.

3. Fewer pesticides and fertilizers
Pesticides and fertilizers for the lawn can be harmful, creating runoff that ends up in our water supply. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 35 percent of lawn fertilizers applied ever reach the grass plant. The rest ends up in our air or seeps into groundwater. During a typical year, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. But adding a pond or water garden to your backyard not only can save you money on fertilizer––the sludge collected by your pond filter (which is filled with nutrients from fish droppings, excess fish food, and decaying leaves) is a natural fertilizer that can be used to feed your landscape.
4. Supports local wildlife
While ponds have always been a haven for beautiful fish, such as Koi and goldfish, they also attract and provide a sanctuary of breeding for indigenous wildlife in your neighborhood, like dragonflies, frogs, and birds. Baby frogs and toads (known as tadpoles) are generally a desirable pond inhabitant for their algae-eating habits. Adult toads are also beneficial to the garden for their aid in controlling insects.

5. Creates environmental awareness
Getting kids involved and thinking about nature early in life encourages them to continue their interest in the environment throughout adulthood. Planning, building, and maintaining a pond or water garden can teach children how a complete, natural ecosystem works. It can also help them understand the responsibility we all have for caring for our environment, which can ignite their interest in creating a better future for our planet.
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