Sustainability Corner: Riderwood’s ponds

By Mickey Thaxton
Associate Executive Director

One of the first features visitors to our community notice as they arrive are the two small ponds located near the main gatehouse; in fact, you may have noticed that they’re also featured on our website, on our promotional materials, and as the backdrop to our new television set. These ponds are more than just picturesque. They serve a practical function and are an important part of Riderwood’s 120+ acre ecosystem. There are three man-made ponds on campus; two are located by the main gate off Gracefield Road, and the third is located behind Town Center.

Crucially, retention basins and storm-water ponds act as overflow containment for county drainage systems and help improve water quality in adjacent waterways. Sediment in the runoff from our hardscapes settles in the waters of Riderwood’s ponds, and chemicals, such as lawn fertilizers, are consumed by naturally occurring aquatic vegetation. As a result of natural processes, cleaner water slowly drains from the ponds into the water table. Although it may seem like a proverbial “drop in the bucket,” our ponds also indirectly contribute to the general health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

In order to maintain the efficacy of our ponds they are periodically treated to keep algae at bay, and encourage the growth of plants that help filter the runoff that collects in them. The gazebo and Town Center ponds have long supported life such as Kio fish, goldfish–which Riderwood introduced to help control mosquito larvae– painted turtles, red-eared turtles, as well as waterfowl and other birds.

Our ponds are a prominent, attractive feature of our community. In order to preserve them and their fragile ecosystems, we ask that residents treat them with care – they are valuable resources that contribute to positive effects far beyond our 120 acres.



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