July 27, 2005
About two weeks ago, my daughter Kay and I went on a “field trip” to Green Falls Pond which is located in Voluntown, CT. I had been to Green Falls about ten years ago and remembered it as being a beautiful place with relatively clean water and lush, private woods. I decided to revisit Green Falls to see if it was indeed as I had remembered it being and this time with the intention of learning more about the area.
Green Falls Pond, which also goes by the name of Green Falls Reservoir, is located in Pachaug State Forest. As Kay and I walked one of the many dirt trails leading to the pond, we saw that the forest supports an abundance of wildlife. During our four hour stay, we saw frogs and toads, a large black snake (neither of us too overjoyed with that surprise), turtles, chipmunks, squirrels, a variety of small birds and other small critters we could hear rustling in the woods as we quietly passed through.
During our walk, I noticed a variety of trees, brush, grasses, mosses and fungi and now that I know a little more about ecosystems, I was able to appreciate the abundant life that was being supported by the fallen leaves and twigs, as well as the many rotting logs and other dead plant life we saw. Much to Kay’s annoyance, I repeatedly stopped to point out such things as humus in rotting logs and the decomposition going on beneath the natural litter of leaves and twigs. We also passed an area where there was evidence of a dwelling and the remains of a stonewall boundary and land that had probably been cleared for agricultural purposes and now where secondary succession was well underway.
From what I remembered, the water quality of Green Falls Pond seemed, to the inexperienced eye anyway, as fairly good. As we approached the pond, we saw that it was quite clear and many small fish about the size of Pumpkin Seeds, which I discovered after doing some research, were actually of the Sunfish variety, swam right up to our toes as we dangled our feet off the dam and into the water. Through online research that was provided by The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, I have learned more about the quality of the water at Green Falls.
According to the profiles, water clarity is said to be quite good, ranging from depths of 17 to 24 feet, while water depth varies between 3 and 26 feet. The pH level of Green Falls is on the low end, ranging from 4.5 to 5.4, which is less than ideal for game fish. Green Falls lands in a category that is considered “acid threatened,” because of its low alkalinity.
The CT DEP classifies Green Falls as mesotrophic and the water quality is said to have moderate nutritional concentrations. The amount of dissolved oxygen in the pond varies according to the season. During springtime, the amount of dissolved oxygen is uniform, but later during the summer months; the dissolved oxygen cannot reach deepest areas of the pond. Green Falls is a man-made reservoir with a dam on the south shore responsible for its formation. Behind the dam the land plummets at a fairly severe angle to the river below. The surface area of Green Falls Pond covers approximately 49 acres and is about 312 feet above sea level.
An aquatic vegetation survey was done in August of 1994 that found thick aquatic vegetation along the shoreline and shallow cove areas. The principal submergent
vegetation, which is vegetation that has grows entirely beneath the surface of the water, were bladderwort and water-milfoil.
The shoreline itself was sprinkled with bur-reed, pickerelweed, meadow beauty, pipewort, arrowleaf and goldenpert. This, again, to the untrained eye appeared to be scatterings of weeds, some with colorful blooms.
Obviously, one of the reasons for the fairly good quality of Green Falls Pond is that it prohibits the use of motorized boats or internal combustion engines as they are called. The reservoir is stocked by the CT DEP with brook and brown trout, as well as large mouthed bass and sunfish. While Kay and I were there, we watched a few people unsuccessfully cast their lines again and again for the above mentioned fish and found that most this area was good for swimming and picnicking, not fishing.
It was good to see that the water and surrounding Pauchaug forest seemed to be holding up fairly well against the impact of people who regularly visit. We were pleased to see that there was not a lot of litter, although someone had abandoned a helium balloon which had gotten caught at the edge of the pond in some branches and I felt obligated to retrieve and dispose of it when we got home.
All in all the experience, our “field trip” was a pleasant one that also gave me an opportunity to see if any of what I’ve been reading about has actually sunk in and I can say with some degree of confidence that it has.
Submitted to and posted by Anthony Benoit
July 28, 2005
The views expressed are those of the author listed at the start of the article.