Loudy-Simpson Park pond has undergone a dramatic transformation during the past several months.
“Last year that pond was only about a foot and a half deep,” said Roy Tipton, director of Moffat County Development services.
Now, though it’s not full of water yet, it’s between 10 and 12 feet deep. A perfect depth for healthy fish and clean water.
The pond, which has served recreational and irrigation purposes, was dredged throughout the winter.
Anson Excavating pulled out about 40,000 yards of silt from the pond, Tipton said. Moffat County Road and Bridge Department hauled away another 38,000 yards of gravel and placed boulders in the bed of the pond for fish habitat, said Linda DeRose, manager for the department.
The silt will be used for the field near the park, and the gravel could be used for county road projects.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to use some of that out at Shadow Mountain,” DeRose said.
Road and Bridge completed the last bit of work at the end of February, she said.
Now all that’s left is filling up the gaping hole with water. That will take about a month, Tipton said. Soon after, the county will consult with the Department of Wildlife and start introducing fish. That means the pond should be open for fishing by summer.
The project, approved by the Board of Moffat County Commissioners in September 2013, remained within the $300,000 budget.
Randy Looper, board member for the annual Balloon Festival that takes place at Loudy-Simpson Park, said the new pond will improve the quality of existing events. Loudy-Simpson is the central location for several functions that bring out-of-towners to the community, and having a healthy pond in the park will bring a new element to those events, he said.
“I think it’s going to be a huge positive,” Looper said. “There are things that we can pursue, particularly with bringing in demonstrations and working with the kids — as far as fishing.”
The Balloon Festival board had tried to incorporate DOW fishing demonstrations before, Looper said, but those demonstrations were difficult to organize due to the poor quality of the pond.
Additionally, homecoming floating events are held on the pond each year.
“Last couple years, there’s been various issues dealing with the pond and the homecoming,” Looper said.
Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers has long been enthusiastic about the dredging.
“I wish all county projects went as well as this one did,” he said. “I’m so pleased with our county employees. It was amazing to watch.”
It is a win-win situation because the silt and gravel pulled out of the pond will be used in further county projects, and the pond’s facelift will bring a new level of recreation to the area while improving irrigation for the park, Mathers said.
In the past, algae and other plant life would mess up irrigation, but that shouldn’t be an issue anymore, Tipton added.
“It would clog up our pump intakes, and we’d have to clean it out everyday. We won’t have those problems anymore,” he said.
The dredging was a long time coming, Tipton said, but now the pond should be a great spot for years to come.
“If we didn’t do the pond, (it) would end up being nothing, the way the silt was coming in there,” he said. “You got 90 years of silt there that we took out. It’s a huge improvement to that park, and it should be special for a long time.”
The pond had been of little value before, Mathers said.
“If you fished out here and threw your line out, your line would only be six inches in the water,” he said.
But now it can be a site for everyone to enjoy in the county year-round, even a spot that could be used for ice fishing, Mathers said.
“This should be a great fishery,” he said. “What a great project. I might bring my grandkids out and go fishing. It’d be nice and close to town and it’s a pretty park.”
Contact Erin Fenner 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.