montrio pond

Montrio Pond is a natural spring-fed vernal pond on the grounds of the Pinelake Co-op, where STEPS for Kids (Steps) is based.  It is named Montrio in memory of a small boy who lived at Pinelake and loved the pond, and died in a traffic accident.  The entry and exit to Montrio were disrupted by development, and the pond began to grow.  The neighbors upstream complained repeatedly of standing water in their yards.  The pond devoured one chain link fence and was creeping up on the replacement by the time Steps began to work on the problem.  Jerry Hancock from the City looked up the original plans and took us over hill and dale and through the brambles to the point where the overflow water was supposed to be flowing into South Maple Park.  That big pipe was clogged with man-made and natural debris.

The Pinelake Co-op had the pipe cleared, and the concrete outtake conduit updated to meet Ann Arbor water department requirements for approval as a vernal pond, and Pinelake began saving thousands of dollars a year in water bills.

Once Montrio’s water level was stabilized, Steps and the kids moved on to the next stage: planting native plants both inside and outside the fence to clean the water which flowed into the pond from the roofs of twelve large buildings, the roads, and parking places for about 130 families.

We are planning to replace another section of turf grass on the third piece of Montrio’s bank next spring.  Already we are seeing good things: swans, and a crane!  But the pond is not yet healthy.  The rise in the water level eroded and undercut the banks, and they now have to be re-stabilized before more shore is lost.  This long-term project cannot wait too long without threatening the survival of this lovely pond!   Please join us to save one of Ann Arbor’s pre-settlement ponds, one that had many native flowers along its banks inside the fence, even before Steps began replacing turf grass.  Thank you!


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