Joseph D. Grant County Park has over 30 small ponds, mostly created to provide water for cattle but now provide important habitat for California red-legged frogs, California tiger salamanders, Western pond turtles, newts, Western toads, Pacific tree frogs, and non-native bullfrogs. They also provide drinking water for wildlife and habitat for many species of birds and aquatic insects.
During the severe droughts between 2012 and 2015, many ponds went dry before many of the amphibian tadpoles had a chance to become adults. We need to find a way to ensure that these ponds continue to provide habitat and water for our wildlife into the future.
For the next few years, Santa Clara County Parks will be conducting evaluations of thirteen ponds to see how much water comes from rainfall, from springs, and from runoff in order to possibly re-design the ponds. You might see staff gauges and monitoring wells in the middle of the ponds with t-posts surrounded by barbed wire. This is to keep cattle from knocking over the instruments. If you see any equipment that has fallen over, please text a message to 408-568-9603.
After the evaluation period, scientists from Balance Hydrologics will be making recommendations and designs so that our ponds hold water longer to ensure the future of our amphibians.