This letter is written in response to a recent letter to the editor Aug. 11 (“Turtle trouble at Douglas Park,” Aug. 11). The purpose of this letter is to clarify some key information regarding the Douglas Park pond.

The pond is not a victim of budget cuts, but rather a product of a natural habitat that it was never intended to host. Through the years, patrons have introduced a variety of creatures, such as the turtles, to the pond without authorization. And a wild duck population has migrated from other areas to nest at the pond.

The duck and turtle populations contribute organic matter that effects water clarity and provides nutrients for algae growth. During the summer, as temperatures rise, the pond is prone to consistent algae outbreaks. The pond is maintained twice a week, which includes but is not limited to skimming the pond surface of debris and testing the water quality. Algae is removed, but due to the combination of the animals and warmer temperature, it often returns quickly. In addition to weekly maintenance, each year the pond is closed and receives a deep cleaning, which will occur by early October. This deep cleaning includes replacing the water and scrubbing the bottom to remove all organic matter.

However, this does not mean we will simply let nature take its course or continue to follow current maintenance practices without reassessing how we care for the pond. We have already identified further opportunities to enhance the monitoring and maintenance of the pond and will implement those immediately to help keep up with the pond’s current habitat.

Hector Kistemann
Public Landscape Manager
City of Santa Monica