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Posted on: December 19, 2022

Coconino County Parks and Recreation Completes Upgrades to Pond at Archuleta County Park

new pond

The improvements allowed for enlarging the pond space and adding a boardwalk, which makes the pond easier to access and enjoy, and an ultraviolet light system to reduce algae, so the pond will have improved visibility beneath the water’s surface.

Thanks to a heritage grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), upgrades to the pond at Elizabeth “Liz” C. Archuleta County Park are complete and it is now open to the public. The grant allowed Coconino County Parks and Recreation to make the necessary improvements to create a place for the public to visit and watch wildlife. The original pond was small, contained considerable algae, and was difficult for the public to access. 

“The Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Grant has allowed Coconino County Parks and Recreation to restore and enhance the pond as a source of wildlife watching, environmental conservation, and outdoor education, which may be enjoyed for generations to come,” Parks and Recreation Director Cynthia Nemeth said of the project.

The improvements allowed for enlarging the pond space and adding a boardwalk, which makes the pond easier to access and enjoy. The grant also included a waterfall and an ultraviolet light system to reduce algae, so the pond will have improved visibility beneath the water’s surface. Educators from the on-site Willow Bend Environmental Education Center can use the pond for educational programming as well. 

"The restored and enhanced pond is such a wonderful addition to the gardens and the Education Center,” added Willow Bend Executive Director Moran Henn. “We see people enjoying the pond almost every day. Families with kids eating lunch on the deck, individuals sitting quietly by the water, couples out on a sunset walk, artists painting, citizen scientists counting birds, and of course, hundreds of students visiting Willow Bend for field trips, learning about water conservation. The pond is a source of joy, beauty, and education for County residents and visitors."

In a dry region, a body of water of any size attracts wildlife, and the pond is a small ecosystem unto itself. Migratory and resident birds are drawn to it for bathing and drinking. Deer and raccoons also frequent the pond; at dusk, bats may be seen drinking from the pond and feeding on the many insects that are attracted to the water. Dragonfly nymphs live in the water for several months of the year and emerge from the pond as adults. Dragonflies help manage insect populations and are an important part of the ecosystem. 

Around the pond, visitors will find plant life that relies on its source of water. These include cottonwood trees, aquatic plants, and riparian plants that grow on the banks. In dry regions, water is an oasis of life that visitors may enjoy. It also teaches visitors of the importance of water in Arizona and its value to humans and the environment. 

Information about the pond and the other attractions at Elizabeth “Liz” C. Archuleta County Park may be found at https://coconino.az.gov/692/Elizabeth-Liz-C-Archuleta-County-Park  

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