LINCOLN, Maine — Construction of the area’s first man-made, public children’s fishing pond is about 98 percent finished, but junior anglers won’t be casting lines into it until at least the fall.
Town officials had expected to open the pond this spring but learned from a state biologist that it first must grow its own ecosystem, mainly algae and bacteria that fish feed on, otherwise any fish thrown into it would die within a few weeks, town Code Enforcement Supervisor Ruth Birtz said.
“This was not something that we were aware of,” Birtz said Thursday, “but the biologist has educated us.”
It will take from six to 12 months for the ecosystem to develop, Code Enforcement Officer Jerry Davis said.
The pond is in wetlands off River Road near the Veterans Affairs clinic and Lincoln Regional Airport, about five miles from the Interstate 95 ramps. The state will stock the pond initially with 300 14- to 16-inch trout twice during the first year, in the spring and fall, Davis said.
A park just for children also will be included, and the pond might be used for ice fishing or skating in winter, depending on its depth, Davis has said.
About 4.87 acres of the total parcel was donated to the town by the Edwards family and will be named after the late family patriarch, George Edwards. The town bought the rest of the land. It is a low-lying wetland.
Town officials agreed to use the land for the project because as wetlands it’s unlikely to have any other use, Birtz has said. State conservation officials have tested the water in the wetlands and concluded it would support the trout they intend to stock in the pond.
The project’s total cost is $48,015, Birtz said. Of that, $38,660 is a federal grant administered through the state Department of Land and Water Conservation. The rest came with Town Council approval from town stumpage revenues, she said.
Councilors “tried very hard not to use taxpayers’ money to fund the project, and they succeeded,” Birtz said.
As overseer of the project, Davis has worked with town Public Works Department crews to shape the landscape around the pond. Grass seeding will be done when weather permits, he said.
Davis also is working with state wildlife officials to remove several beavers that have been living in the area without harming the animals, he said.