Montgomery County’s Pandapas Pond to be closed temporarily next month
By Mary Hardbarger | The Roanoke Times
The Forest Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to begin work on the pond in early September. The pond will be closed Sept. 14 to Sept. 28 to the public, depending on weather conditions.
Trails closest to the pond will also be closed due to the work, but other trails on the property will remain open.
The project comes after years of sediment build-up in the pond, a popular destination for fishers and families.
According to Jesse Overcash, wildlife biologist, this will be the first time the pond has been dredged.
“We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” he said.
When sediment builds up, water becomes shallower and warmer, hurting the habitats for some species, such as the rainbow trout the pond is stocked with, Overcash said. Warmer water also creates an environment where invasive plants can thrive.
Overcash said the pond is very shallow in some parts, which “reduces the ability, especially for kids, to have meaningful fishing.” The shallowest parts of the pond are less than two feet, Cash estimated.
The dredging process will require the lowering of the pond level 5 to 6 feet prior to excavation. Once the water level is lowered, the exposed shoreline will need to dry before the dredging begins. After the drying process, the pond will close to the public while heavy equipment removes the soil. The sediment will be taken to a spot a few miles away on National Forest land to dry, Overcash said.
The project is being funded by National Forest Wildlife and Fish habitat improvement money, Overcash said.
Future improvements to the pond also include the installation of a new fishing pier and improvements to the pond’s banks.