It is probably the greatest natural attraction at Highland Park...and it's all dried up! The duck pond in Highland Park is undergoing some work to restore it back to its original size. Thirty years of erosion, ducks, debris, and other matter getting into the pond has filled it up and sent the pond towards its edges. Now, Parks and Recreation officials want to fix it to avoid flooding problems around the pond.
Mark Naylor, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, says, "It's draining good enough now that we can get in and work on it, and as soon as we can get some large quantities of dirt hauled in, we'll start reclaiming the edges getting it ready to go again. We hope by the end of October this thing will finished and back full of water, and the ducks will be happy again."
Naylor wants to stress that no ducks have died because the pond has been drained. In fact, about half of the ducks have been moved to other locations while the pond is undergoing its renovation.
"What we've done is we've contacted Wildlife and Fisheries and we've contacted the United States Department of Agriculture, and USDA came out last week and got about half the ducks, and they were scheduled this week get the other half. Something came up and they're coming back next week," Naylor tells us. "They're taking them to some lakes that they know people have wanted ducks."
Even if all of the ducks currently at Highland Park end up relocated by the USDA, the pond will be the home to new ducks in the spring.
Naylor describes the plans to repopulate the pond. "What we will do is order ducks in the spring. We've kinda had an overpopulation of Muskogee ducks. This will allow us to come back in and get some of the ducks if we head out here and kinda start over. We were up to almost 100 ducks, which is quite a few for this little pond."
In the meantime, the ducks have been enjoying the Alligator Pond and the creek on the back side of Highland Park.