We are reaching out to our community today with an urgent update regarding the duck ponds at Lake Merritt. Our beloved waterfowl ponds that have been enjoyed by generations of Oaklanders and their visitors are in dire need of repair and restoration. Currently, the duck ponds are facing critical structural issues, and the filtration systems have been inoperable for years. Further, because the ponds are quite shallow, when a high volume of birds concentrate in them and defecate, without the water circulating and being filtered, hazardous levels of fecal matter build up in the ponds becoming a vector for avian-borne diseases that are harmful to the birds and potentially people.
The duck ponds for generations have attracted a mosaic of birds, from Canada geese to Black-crowned night herons (the City of Oakland’s official bird). The ponds have been a cherished part of our community, providing a haven for our migratory and resident birds, as well as a place to gather, learn, and experience accessible opportunities to explore nature for families and nature enthusiasts alike for decades. However, this celebrated haven for Lake Merritt’s wildlife is now in jeopardy, threatening the health and well-being of our feathered friends.
Rotary Nature Center staff is currently working with OPW and other external organizations to solve this issue, and until we get a full assessment of the duck ponds we plan to leave the ponds dry until further notice. If you are interested in helping support our efforts to restore and revitalize the duck pond and bird yard area please reach out to Rotary Nature staff with your ideas by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.