Green Water at Greenwood Park - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Green Water at Greenwood Park

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Addie Olson


A layer of invasive plant growth covers the pond out at Greenwood Park. The Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department is using a grant they received earlier this year to get rid of it.

"It's a beautiful area and the first thing you see is green scum," said Des Moines resident Trinh Coulter.

It turns the heads of runners, bikers and seasoned nature photographers.

Many of them have the same question:

"My first impression was, 'What is that green scum in the water?," said first-time park-goer Marlie Wilson.

That scum covering Greenwood Pond is duckweed.

"It's not toxic, it's not bad for you, it's not anything that the public has to be worried about, it's just a layer of plant growth on the pond," said Jen Fletcher of Des Moines Parks and Recreation.

Duckweed may just be an eyesore, but that's enough to keep people out of the park and away from the green water.

"I used to see people with their dogs that would run and jump in the water and some people would look for frogs and that type of thing and you don't see people around the pond as much as you used to," said Christopher Maharry of Des Moines.

Maharry has taken pictures out at this park for years. He said the rest of the park makes for great scenery, but he wants to see the green gone.

"This is a beautiful park and I think more people would truly recreate here if we didn't have green scum," Maharry said.

The city agrees. Machinery sits in what will soon be new retention basins. Those basins will filter out storm water before it flows into the pond, inhibiting the growth of scum.

"We know everybody loves to use it, we know this is a problem, we're doing everything we can within our budgetary constraints to get it fixed," Fletcher said.

The city will dredge the pond in the second and final phase of getting rid of the duckweed. Fletcher said that will be complete next summer.

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