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End of summer: Ballston Pond

Ballston Pond or Ballston Bog?
Ballston Pond or Ballston Bog?
James George

The Ballston Pond is as dry as it has been for years. Where there used to be more cattails than anything else, now there are more water plants and a few water mallows. The channel that was cleared for drainage to the storm pipe and onto the new inaccessible pond by the freeway south of the larger mass of what is now swamp. You see, when beavers were present, they created a dam and the water was contained at greater depth. Without the beavers, and without Arlington County completing the Ballston Pond project, nature is returning to wetland.

Swamp mallow
James George

The plastic remains in the pond that is now covered by plants. When the plants die with cold weather returning, all of the debris will be visible once again.

It seems that at present, the proper name for this location is Ballston Bog, not pond. It doesn’t contain peat moss as much as other decaying plant materials.

“ Watersheds can vary in size, from just a few square feet for a vernal pool or for thousands of square miles for huge watersheds such as the Chesapeake Bay. Recent environmental movements have focused their attention on watershed stewardship and restoration. Wetlands make up an integral part of watersheds no matter how large or small.”

Arlington Outdoors Examiner has witnessed bald eagles, coopers hawks, deer, raccoons, opossums, foxes, turtles, herons, a variety of ducks and geese, as well as chipmunks and field mice in the Ballston Pond. Beavers were here once but vanished due to human intervention several years ago.

“Common wetland plants and animals in Virginia


Red maple
Black willow
Swamp rose
Soft rush
Saltmarsh cordgrass
Salt meadow hay
Jewel weed
Lizard’s tail
Skunk Cabbage


Bald eagle
Red-bellied woodpecker
Great blue heron
Mallard duck
Spring Peeper
Eastern mud turtle
River otter
White-tailed deer”

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