If you’ve taken a walk in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park recently, you may have noticed something out of the ordinary: The park’s pond is almost completely empty.
On Monday morning, dozens of ducks and geese had congregated around the narrow, shallow stream now at the bottom of the pond bed. Some were swimming, but most were just standing on one foot in the water and icy mud.
The pond was drained in order to repair a gate that regulates its water levels, Luke Allen, community outreach manager for Salt Lake City’s Public Lands Department, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Workers started draining the body of water on Nov. 1, and it has been slowly draining for the past three weeks, Allen said. But the pond won’t be in this state for long.
Once the repairs are completed around the end of December, Allen said the plan is to allow Red Butte Creek to fill the pond once again. In the meantime, the stream in the bottom of the bed will be allowed to keep flowing.
As for the animals that frequent the body of water, Allen said the Division of Wildlife Resources isn’t worried.
The wild birds will likely find a new temporary water source, Allen said. And the only fish that they are aware of in the pond are invasive carp, “which we don’t want in there anyways.”
A spokesperson for the Division of Wildlife Resources confirmed that the agency had approved draining the pond in November, potentially killing some fish.
Carp are “not a very beneficial fish,” DWR spokesperson Faith Heaton Jolley said, noting that they “cause a lot of damage to aquatic vegetation in fishery habitat and they decrease the water quality in waterbodies.”
Unlike the pond in Sugar House Park, which Allen said is drained every year, the last time the Liberty Park pond was drained was five or six years ago.
The Liberty Park pond used to be drained more frequently, he said, because people would walk out onto the ice in the winter and fall through. Signs at the park instruct people to stay off any ice.
Once the gate is fixed and water is allowed to flow back into the pond, it will take a couple of weeks to completely refill, officials said.