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Lebanon fills in pond near airport
Jun 26, 2006 12:00 am
June 14, 2006 – The geese are gone.
So are the fish and turtles, at least most of them.
And most importantly, so is the pond that attracted geese to a site close enough to Lebanon Municipal Airport to create a safety hazard for pilots.
Lebanon employees were rapidly filling what once was a 125,000-gallon pond with rock and dirt Monday. The 80 fish there have been moved to a pond owned by a Wilson County farmer, Lebanon Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines said.
The geese, meanwhile – about five adult and two baby geese – are now at their new home on a pond at CBRL Group Inc., the parent company of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.
"It's been an event, to say the least," Baines said.
Airport Fixed Base Operator Jim Lawson said he hopes filling in the pond will keep the geese away.
"It'll be a lot safer," Lawson said. "Hopefully with the environment, they'll just move on. … They came on the runway … it just became a hazard."
However, questions still remain about whether the pond was spring-fed. A small area closed off with police tape still retained water, and Baines admitted he simply doesn't know yet if the water they are seeing there originated from a natural spring.
"We're just watching to make sure there's not a spring out there," Baines said. "If it ends up there is a true spring in there … we're going to monitor that for a few days."
He said the city was considering building a fountain or some other feature should a spring exist.
The city contracted Terry Hodge, who operates a company called Hodge Investment Properties, to move the fish and drain the pond. His company specializes in constructing ponds and stocking them, Hodge said.
His company drained the pond into Spring Creek over a period of 12 hours and relocated the fish using an aerated tank after consulting with officials from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Hodge said.
"(The city) didn't know how to handle the fish and didn't really have a way to pump the water," Hodge said. "They took great precautions to make sure we knew what we were going to do with the fish."
He said he tested the water for contaminants and examined the fish looking for any illnesses, but found little of either.
"The water in the pond tested better than Spring Creek water to tell you the truth." Hodge said.
Among the fish were two flathead catfish, about 20 blue channel catfish and 30 to 40 younger largemouth bass, Hodge said.
And although he declined to name the recipient of the fish, Hodge said the pond was one he had treated and was easily as clean as the one they had departed.
"The city took great precaution that they got in a safe, clean environment," Hodge said. "… They just know we handle fish and would do the right thing."
The city had been waiting on authorization from the Tennessee National Guard to drain pond as it sits on the Maj. Gen. Carl D. Wallace National Guard Armory premises – near one of the airport's runways. This written permission arrived at city hall last week.
The flying fowl have caused pilots headaches as several midair collisions have occurred.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.