— By Andrew Huppert
Like all of the freshwater ponds found along the Severn River, Arden Pond is man-made. Arden Pond was created when the mining pits were dug to extract the glass sand near the river’s edge (see the Arden History page). Since the time of its formation, Arden Pond has been surrounded by steep, wooded hillsides on most of its edges, but the lower (river) side of the pond is an impoundment created by the damming of a lowland corridor. The dam is what now supports the roadway to Beach One.
NATURE OF THE POND
Arden Pond’s water is characteristically stained by the acidic nature of the fallen leaves from the surrounding wooded hillsides. Due to the fine-grained sandy soil (and residual glass sand), the water usually appears muddy, but is able to support a variety of plant and aquatic life. The fragrant white water lily, bladderwort, and watershield are the most common plants to be found. Eastern chain pickerel dominates the fish species found in the pond, but largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish have been caught as well. The most common plants that a visitor would find on its water’s edge are swamp loosestrife, broadleaved arrowhead, water pennywort, tearthumbs, and smartweed.
The ecological value of Arden Pond is immeasurable as it provides a beacon of solitude for the many shy creatures in our neighborhood. Because most of the pond’s border is inaccessible, dense shrubbery has become overgrown and now provides a haven for small birds in the area. Many a birder has been able to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher, little green heron, wood duck, and every once in a while, a bald eagle! Some of the many creatures that call the pond home include muskrats, painted turtles, snapping turtles, bullfrogs, and greenfrogs.
Stormwater runoff is the number one supplier of the water that replenished Arden Pond. Its proximity to the Severn River, as well as its depth in comparison to the river, allows it to retain most of what it receives. However, it should be noted that while the stormwater brings life to Arden Pond, it also carries deposits from erosion taking place in the neighborhood above. Unfortunately, over time, this process has contributed to the flattening of the bottom of the pond as it fills in.