New organization created to conserve aquatic life, Ag Pond

An empty water bottle lies on the edge of the Ag pond. A new organization's mission is to clean the walkways and water.

The Conservation of Aquatic Life and the Ag Pond is an organization established to preserve, restore and develop the Ag Pond. The group wants to restore the pond for waterfowl and aquatic life that live in and around the pond. They are currently looking for members.

“The goal of the organization is to create a beautiful, healthy and clean environment for the area of and around the Ag Pond,” President Wester Couch, a freshman marketing major from Houston, said.

The organization plans on cleaning the Ag Pond waters, as well as the walkways. They also want to put recycling bins out around the area, install proper food dispensers and create solar powered walkways. Along with all of the cleaning, they will also be planting flowers and grass.

“We created CALAP because we noticed two issues,” Vice President Brian Coolman, a freshman entrepreneurship major from Frisco, said.

“The first being that the Ag Pond is an obvious eyesore. The water is dirty. There are leaves and stuff everywhere, trash in and out of the water. It smells bad. In general, it is not a thriving ecosystem as a whole. It most certainly has parts of the ecosystem thriving than a harmonious environment where everything is clean and healthy. The second reason is the fact that we saw no action being taken and no foreseeable action. There are organizations out there that have cleaning the Ag Pond in their list of goals, but none that have it at the top of the list. That is what the main driving factor for CALAP is. Direct action now. No waiting, no voting, just a bunch of super awesome people getting their hands dirty for a better cause.”

Students and faculty noticed that the pond was not a safe environment for wildlife.

“Previously, ducks were dying in large numbers,” Dr. Franta Majs, director of the Soil, Plant, and Water Analysis Lab, said. “I suspect a number of different factors such as water eutrophication and release of toxic substances accumulated in the sediment related to water stratification.”

The Ag Pond used to be an important aspect in the Ag department.

“The Ag Pond at one time was the watering pond for the SFA dairy farm cow herd,” Dr. Dale Perritt, professor emeritus of the Department of Agriculture, said.

“The dairy milking parlor was located approximately where Homer Bryce Stadium is currently. The pond catches the overflow during heavy rain events and disburses the water through the two spillways into Lanana Creek. The ducks, at one time, had their wings clipped so they could not fly away. The pond used to be very shallow, and the ROTC members were often seen marching in single file across the pond with their simulated rifles above their heads. It was dredged in the 80s to try and slow down the seepage into the football stadium.”

The organization’s first mission will be picking up trash, raking leaves and cleaning up any duck feces. After the basic cleaning, they will be going into research and development. They have advisers that are specialized in the roles of aquatic life, waterfowl and agriculture. They will be doing research on the current conditions of their respective fields to then propose solutions to be put into play that will help attempt to help solve any issues presented. The organization will also be working with other organizations to collaborate and help with CALAP’s efforts to clean and renew the area.

“CALAP as an organization is out to make a change by doing what is needed,” said Coolman. “We are not focused on putting people or other organizations down in the name of environmental change. We are merely here to be a positive group and a positive name for the campus and the environment.”

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