Project News

April 14, 2017 -  Starting the week of April 17, United Engineering will begin mobilizing their equipment on site to prepare for drainage of the pond. As the pond is slowly drained, turtles and fish will be carefully captured and processed by AquaBio biologists.
April 10, 2017 - Once United Engineering begins the draining process the week of April 17, AquaBio will continue to oversee the removal and relocation of the fish and turtles. AquaBio will capture, identify, and sort by size every turtle that is collected. Ornamental fish (e.g. koi and goldfish) will be adopted out to new homes. AquaBio will be receiving instructions from Fish and Wildlife throughout the project to handle the game fish (e.g. bluegill, sunfish, small mouth bass) to ensure the best management practices are followed. 
April 9, 2017-We are pleased to report that AquaBio has found housing for all the ducks and geese who will be placed in their forever homes by the end of the month while the turtles will be relocated to the Orange County Turtle and Tortoise Club. Domestic game fish will be housed onsite and kept in aerated tanks until AquaBio receives final instructions from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
April 2, 2017 - Until construction begins at a later date April, AquaBio personnel will continue to visit the park regularly to feed the animals. They have also created “feeding stations” to ensure that the animals have access to healthy food in between visits. Once construction begins, the fish, waterfowl and turtles will be sorted, evaluated and relocated in accordance with guidelines established by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Specifically, all waterfowl will be safely transported to the Pacific Waterfowl Rescue, a non-profit organization focused on rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming domestic ducks and geese. Turtles will be relocated to the Orange County Turtle and Tortoise Club. AquaBio is still awaiting specific instructions from CDFW related to the relocation of fish.  
Mid-March - A secondary fence was installed and will be used to corral the birds to simplify relocation. While the feeding and habitation have been occurring, AquaBio has been in contact with various non-profits who will be aiding in the re-adoption of these animals.Pacific Waterfowl Rescue has agreed to take on the domestic birds and work on finding them forever homes. 

A picture of the facilities with views of open space where the birds can roam free as well as a couple of their covered shelters for the birds to sleep at night (pictured right).

Pacific Waterfowl Rescue

Pacific Waterfowl Rescue
March 13, 2017 - Village Pond Park is closed to the public. Fencing around the perimeter of the park was installed. AquaBio and a Lake Forest resident volunteer regularly visit the park to feed the animals to ensure a consistent and proper diet. This also served the purpose of familiarizing the birds with AquaBio staff to facilitate the collection and transport of the animals. 

March 7, 2017 - City Council approved a $2.1 million construction contract to United Engineering & Construction to complete the Village Pond Park Improvement project. With the approval of the contract, the site will be fenced off on March 13, at which time the park will be closed to the public. Shortly thereafter, construction will begin. The construction is expected to take nine months with re-opening of the park in early 2018.  An article featured in the Orange County Register detailed some of the pending improvements. 
February 7, 2017 - Recent rain events have caused the pond to overflow at Village Pond Park. Since Federal and State water quality laws prohibit the pond water from being discharged into the City’s storm drain system, the City will continue to monitor the water level while it subsides naturally in the coming weeks. In addition, signs are posted throughout the park advising the public that the sidewalk is temporarily closed. 
 
The City anticipates awarding a contract to the most qualified and competitive firm in March, at which time, the selected contractor will coordinate closure of the park and begin pumping water into the sanitary sewer for treatment by the El Toro Water District. 
 
The City has hired Aquabio Environmental Technologies (“Aquabio”) for wildlife relocation services. The firm has extensive experience in similar projects, and a fully-trained, licensed, and certified staff to manage sensitive wildlife relocation efforts. Aquabio is currently working with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) to obtain a permit to relocate wildlife. Prior to permit issuance, CDFW has required Aquabio to “seine” the lake in order to gather information regarding the number and types of aquatic species present in the lake. The process of seining uses large nets to draw in and inventory a sample of aquatic species in the lake. Based on this sampling, CDFW will provide specific instructions regarding the relocation of each species that will become the basis for a permit to relocate the wildlife. According to Aquabio, conditions around the pond must be dry for approximately one week before seining can occur. Aquabio expects to seine the lake within the next few weeks, weather permitting.