Pond reopened, geese blamed for spreading bacteria - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Pond reopened, geese blamed for spreading bacteria

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GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Swimmers can once again dive back into Lake Ponder at Crowley's Ridge State Park.

The lake was closed since June 7 because the water tested unsafely high for E. Coli.  

Park employees say a family of geese that had settled on the lake was to blame for the increase in bacteria.

Following four clear water samples, the Greene County Health Department has declared the popular swimming area safe to reopen.

Heather Runyan, the park interpreter, says the staff members have now had to take extra precautions to stop the birds from returning.

"What we did is we did use pyrotechnics provided by the Wildlife Services from the USDA," Runyan says. "We pretty much scared the geese off."

The pyrotechnics proved successful because the geese have now sought shelter across the road at Walcott Lake, which is acceptable since no one can swim there anyway.

"We also added chlorine [to Lake Ponder] to make sure the bacteria was gone," she adds.

Park employees have also spread bird repellent in the grass around the lake to detract the geese from coming back.

Now that the staff has taken these precautions, Runyan says they will need to concentrate on recouping the revenue that's been lost.

"June in general is usually a pretty good month for us revenue-wise, so we do have some hope to make that up but it was a big hit," Runyan says. "Not only did we lose the revenue for swimming, we also lost revenue in cabins, camping and pavilions because people canceled reservations because part of the reason they were coming was to swim."

Lake Ponder will be open for swimming Monday through Thursday, from noon until 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. for the rest of the summer.

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