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Pond committee activities:

July 15, 2007

Cattail problem tackled!

We have hired an Environmental Contractor, Gary Crawford, to take care of the cattail problem around the detention pond.
His company will be treating the cattails three times this year. This will allow more of the wildflowers and
pond grasses to take hold.


May, 2007

New Fountain.

We decided to temporarily retire our aerator and install a brand new 8 ft. fountain! Stop by the pond to check it out.
I'll post some photos in the gallery shortly.


April 14, 2005

Finally, the aerator is installed!

After the electricians and DTE did their part last week, the crew from "All About Ponds" installed the new aerator this past Saturday.

Thank you Shelly Babcock for supervising and coordinating this project!


April 6, 2005

2005 Fertilizer report

Dear neighbors,

We are sending out this report as a reminder in an ongoing effort to keep our neighborhood and our community informed about the importance of using the proper fertilizer for our lawns and protect our natural surroundings as well as our very own detention pond.

Spring is finally here and with it the season for lawn care and maintenance. Pretty soon (if not already) you’ll be out there checking the sprinklers, your mower, mulcher, edger and all the other contraptions that help us make our lawn look beautiful.

We would like to raise everyone’s awareness about the content of the fertilizer you use and especially focus on the phosphorous as the number one factor in the degradation and destruction of the ecosystem in and around our pond and our environment. Therefore, we cannot stress enough the importance of using non-phosphorous fertilizers.
If you buy your fertilizer from the local stores please pay attention to the “three number code” on the front of the bag. The presence of phosphorous will always be indicated by the number in the middle (e.g. 24- 0 –6). Even though fertilizers with a 1 or 2 are still considered low-phosphorous or lake-friendly, we recommend buying the non-phosphorous type as in the example above. We do not recommend buying fertilizers where the presence of phosphorous is indicated with a 3 or above. They promote the growth of algae and planktons in and on the surface of our pond, which causes a great imbalance in the ponds natural ecosystem. This is especially important because this year we’ll be introducing small fish (minnows) to the pond. Just a couple of years ago it was very difficult, if not impossible, to find these fertilizers around town, now all major stores carry them.

If you have a company taking care of your lawn, just ask them to exclude the phosphorous from their “mixtures”. We’ve consulted many lawn care specialists and they all say that there is enough phosphorous in the soil and that it is not a vital nutrient for the lawn. Furthermore, many cities like Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills already have ordinances against using fertilizers that contain phosphorous. Shouldn’t we look ahead and try to keep a clean and healthy environment?

This concerns every household in our subdivision. After over-watering your lawn or raining, the runoff carries the fertilizer down the street and through the storm drainage system into the pond.

The Pond Committee members as well as the board members have consistently included all issues concerning the pond in our meetings as an ongoing “Pond project”. Last year we even received the “Environmental Excellence Award 2004” from the city of Canton for the beautiful and natural look of the pond. We are extremely proud of this award.
This year, as part of the project, we are working on installing a new water fountain and introducing fish to the pond. We are doing everything in our power to naturally fight the algae and create an active self-contained ecosystem and at the same time keep it visually pleasing.

Please help us in maintaining a beautiful and healthy environment by using “NON PHOSPHORUS” fertilizer.

The Covington Square Subdivision Pond Committee

2005 Fertilizer ReportClick here to view or download the report as a PDF document


April 6, 2005

Special Pond Project report

Dear neighbors,

You are receiving this flyer because your back yard borders the pond area. Last year the pond committee brought the decision to create and maintain the so-called “green belt” around the pond and the area west of it. It varies from a few feet to several yards in certain spots. This area is very crucial in the fight against the algae forming in and on the surface of the pond during the summer and fall. It acts as a filter barrier that uses up the excess nitrates and phosphates from the fertilizers we use, which substances the algae need for their growth. We’ve also invested a lot of time and money from our subdivision dues to have this area populated with not just any wild grass but actual Michigan native wild flowers and plants as well as quite a few oak trees. Our plans are to have the entire area and the pond become a self-sustaining ecosystem that with a little bit of our help will also become a place that is visually pleasing and that you would gladly visit during your morning or afternoon walks or just enjoy from your back patios. This will enhance your property value and thus benefit the subdivision.

In order to achieve this and at the same time keep our subdivision dues as low as possible we ask of you that next time you have the lawn mower out set the blades at their highest position and cut the remainder of last year’s wild grass and flowers in this green belt, all the way down to the water edge. If you live in the area west of the pond we ask that you mow down two passes beyond the tree line. This is necessary only once and its purpose is to spread out the seeds and create a cover for the new growth. If the ground is too rough for your mower, at least weed-wack the grass to only 4 or 5 inches. If you have a company maintaining your lawn, please ask them to do the same.

We thank for your support and remember to always use non-phosphorous fertilizer. For the latest news and events around the pond please visit the “Pond Project” section of our website www.covingtonsquare.org .

The Covington Square Subdivision Pond Committee

2005 Fertilizer ReportClick here to view or download the report as a PDF document


September 7, 2004

Detention Pond Update

A web archive of the flyer recently delivered to your mailbox

Detention Pond Update September 2004 Detention Pond Update September 2004


August 11, 2004

Notes from Tilton's advisor Mrs. Kelly Kelly and our subdivision's president Mr. John Silagy on the development of the pond project.

Mr. John Silagy:
Kelly visited our pond again last week with a landscape ecologist to get an expert opinion. Below is the result of her visit and my original message to her about us planting more wetland plants. I will get more information about planting more flowers and maybe bushes on our own and when a good time to plant is as we do have some funds available for this. Shelly has indicated that she would be glad to oversee us planting some plants - once we get them. Also, I forgot to mention that Kelly and Bill did indicated that many of the dogwoods saplings in the center and west end didn't make it. So we can get rid of the dead ones, which we will do after the trench is dug later this month to eliminated standing water at the west end. Bill Serchak did indicate that every spring the Township gets samplings to plant in the parks and ponds throughout Canton, and will make them available to us next year. I appreciate all your comments and concerns as you all look at the pond everyday. I'll keep you posted. John p.s. On Monday, August 1st, Superior Environmental will be treating the purple loosestrife and anything else that is not good for our pond and floodplain. It should take them about 6 hours.

Mrs. Kelly Kelly:
Just another update. I visited the pond today again with Jane from our office who is a Landscape Ecologist. She identified numerous native plants that are just starting to come up in the buffer area. Yes, there are some weeds, but there are definately many more good plants coming up and it's very important to not mow at this time - many of the small plants may look like weeds, but will actually grow into pretty flowers. Also, she recommends just letting the buffer go until next April/early spring for the next mowing. Giving it time to grow taller and letting the roots get established is most important right now. As for the forebay area - in taking a closer look at the wetland vegetation coming up - alot of it is getting munched on by the ducks. Certainly if some of the seed is germinating under the water, the ducks may be eating some of that as well. We've had some wildlife enclosures installed in other wetland areas to keep ducks/geese from eating wetland plants, which may be something to think about right along the edge of the buffer. I'll follow up on info for you on the wildlife enclosures as well as seed mix and local nurseries this week.

Mr. John Silagy:
Overall, they are pleased with the progress. On the good side - the water in the pond is draining according to the design. All of the inlets near the pond ( north side, south side, east side ) are working good and the outflow is function well. The plants in the water are growing very well and spreading and the pond is home to many small fish, turtles, frogs ducks, herons and dragonflys. The grasses in the floodplaind and cattails are growing well. On the not-so-good side, the flowers surrounding the pond and forebay area are sparse, but are growing ( about 50 - 60% didn't comeback) . The algae is more prominent than expected, but Kelly and Bill said that is to be expected because of the type of weather we've had this spring and all of Canton's ponds are experiencing high levels of algae. Also, the purple loosestrife came back, but less than we had last year at this time. In summary they indicated that algae in the pond and forebays areas should be left alone. Homeowners should definitely use non-phosphorous fertilizer. Any chemical treatment of the pond to get rid of the algae would kill all of the wildlife and all of the water plants. As the waterplants spread, they will help fight of algae. They suspect that fertilizer with phosphorous is still being used by many of homeowners and is most likely adding to the algae. Also, the no mow zone should be continued. The grasses around the pond should not be cut until the fall and only with a weed wacker. This will allow fallen seeds to take. Bill did indicated that some plants around the pond are late bloomers and will continue to grow and spread more throughout the summer and fall. Cattails and high grasses should be allowed to grow were ever possible to help filter the pond. Kelley and Bill will be out again this falll to inspect the pond and surrounding plant life and then again next spring. If the plants haven't filled in more by springtime, then they will probably suggest that we replant in the barren areas. They reminded both Larry and myself that the plants in the pond and surrounding the pond are on a 3 - year process and we are just entering our second year - AND TO BE PATIENT!!. As a side note - Bill said that one pond in Canton that he inspected, and in which the homeowners put in a fountain, is having algae problems. So a fountain is not always a good solution.

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August 21, 2003

Covington Square Detention Pond Bulletin

Aquatic Vegetation Planting
Planting of aquatic plants in the detention pond is scheduled to occur the week of July 28, 2003. It will most likely occur on the 28th and/or the 29th . This will also include seeding around the pond. You are invited to observe or help if you are home during the day. Please contact John Jackson at 734-397-8985 if you will be helping.

No Mow Zone
Those living on the pond should not be cutting their lawns more than one mower width beyond the tree line surrounding the pond. This is a no-mow zone and must be maintain for the overall well being and appearance of the pond area.

Swimming & Rock Throwing
There should be no swimming in the pond under any circumstances. If you have children, please remind them not to throw rocks in the pond or the large standpipe drain. This will cause an increased maintenance expense.

Trees and additional shrubs will be planted in the area surrounding the pond. These trees will now be planted in the Fall to give them the greatest chance of survival.

Your Homeowner Association Committee is closely monitoring and managing expenses of this project. There will be additional work recommended/needed during the next budget year. However, it will not be nearly as much as this year. The additional expense is largely due to excessive amounts of dirt and debris in the outlet pipe, grading needed at the west end of the common area and the extensive silt originally in the pond that had to be hauled away. Canton Township has absorbed much but not all of the additional costs – largely made up of workers’ time.

Don’t forget to use No Phosphorous fertilizer. All lawn rain and sprinkler run off goes through the pond. For this reason, everyone in the subdivision is requested to use No Phosphorous fertilizer. This will help limit algae growth and minimize maintenance costs.

If you have questions or concerns about this project, please contact John Jackson at 734-397-8985 or John Silagy at 734-397-5574. Also, feel free to contact any of the homeowners on the committee:

Larry Ristovski, Yogi Patel, Gino Polidori, Shelly Babcock, Bob Wischer, Lisa Alspaugh

July Pond BulletinClick here to view or download the bulletin as a PDF document

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March 29, 2003

Covington Square Subdivision Pond Committee

Meeting Minutes

Present: Cathy Veri, John Silagy, Shelly Babcock, Yogi Patel, Gino Polidori, John Jackson

The following items were discussed:

Budget – we paid $1317.11 for the new 48” standpipe, split couplers and HDPE Dualwall pipe. We knew the cost was going to be $300 to $500 more than budget. This is because of the need for a bigger standpipe. We are still in good financial shape as we will not incur the $1000 pipe flushing expense. We decided that any savings needed would come from first from the bushes and then by reducing the number of trees planted this year. This could come into play if we incur substantial costs for equipment to plant trees.

Canton Township and Tilton info – John advised that Canton Township was to call him back on Friday, March 28. He did not receive a call. He feels they do not want to address the west end and so are avoiding calling him back. It was decided John J. would send an email to Tilton and Canton Township and advise we are getting our own estimate. He will invite any concerns that should be addressed. It is disappointing Tilton and Canton Township seemed to have changed plans on the west end due to the extent of work on the east end. It is the committee feeling we need to address the west end’s grade or we may jeopardize the vegetation on the west end. John Silagy will contact the Boy Scouts in the neighborhood who want to work on the project and see if we can have them clean up the cat tails on the west end. Yogi will get a couple of contractor quotes. We will do something to the grade on the west end to protect the vegetation.

Pondscape – Lisa could not be at the meeting. However, she provided John J. will an update on Saturday by phone. The plants are all selected and ready to order as soon as she is given the high sign. Lori Treder has sent RFQs for the trees and bushes. She thinks we can get very good prices due to the economy and the competition for this kind of work. She should have the estimates by 4/2. Gino will check with Plymouth Rentals on the cost of a Bobcat with a drill to plant trees and a front end loader. We may want to do the tree planting ourselves depending on cost. The committee feels the homeowners ought to plant the vegetation. It should help to build a sense of community. We will plan on doing the trees before the vegetation. It will make for less confusion as well reduce the risk of someone getting hurt. Cathy will do a “handout” for those living on the pond to help them understand the “no mow zone”. This will be a diagram showing where not to mow.

Volunteers – Shelly advised we have an ample number of volunteers provided all show up on 5/10. We may need help on a different day if we plant the trees ourselves.

Equipment – Gino is checking prices. Volunteers will be asked to bring rakes and shovels.

Communication – John J. will do a short article for the next subdivision newsletter. He will get to Cathy by 4/2.

Longer-term Maintenance – Yogi agreed to get the table showing the maintenance requirements to Larry to put on the website. Yogi confirmed he would perform the inspection functions for this year. It was agreed the Board needs to make the detention pond inspection and maintenance a standing committee appointed at the Annual Meeting each year.

Fertilizer – the committee commended Larry for his fine work on the fertilizer flyers to date. John S. will do a very simple reminder flyer regarding no phosphorous fertilizer by all homeowners. There seems to still be a lack of understanding that this applies to all homeowners and not just those on the pond.

We agreed to confirm the start time on 5/10. We recommend 9:00 AM.

The committee suggested the next meeting be on 4/19 to give us time to do any last minute details. After the meeting, it was determined this is the Saturday of Easter weekend. John J. will check availability and confirm or change.

x Click here to view or download the report as a PDF file

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March 14, 2003

Covington Square Subdivision Pond Committee

Fertilizer Report

Dear neighbors,

In an ongoing effort to keep our neighborhood and our community informed about the importance of using the proper fertilizer for our lawns, we’re sending out this report as a reminder and an addition to the previous one distributed earlier this year.

As the season for starting lawn care nears, we would like to raise everyone’s awareness about the content of the fertilizers we use and especially focus on the phosphorous as the number one factor in the degradation and destruction of the ecosystem in and around our pond. Therefore, we cannot stress enough the importance of using non-phosphorous fertilizers.

For those of you that buy fertilizer in bags from the store, please pay attention to the “three number code” on the bag. The content of phosphorous will always be the number in the middle (e.g. 24 – 0 – 6). Even though fertilizers with a 1 or 2 are still considered low-phosphorous and lake-friendly, we recommend buying the non-phosphorous type as in the example above. We've consulted many lawn care specialists and they all say that there is enough phosphorous in the soil and that it is not a vital nutrient for the lawn. Furthermore, many cities like Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills already have ordinances against using fertilizers that contain phosphorous. Shouldn't we look ahead and try to keep a clean and healthy environment?

The only non-phosphorous fertilizer that we found is made by LESCO and it’s called “Scenic Green”. The code is “25 – 0 – 11” and it can be found at the following stores:

Ace Hardware
33567 7 Mile Rd, Livonia
Ace Hardware
28715 Ford Rd, Garden City
13180 Wayne Rd. Livonia

If you prefer to hire a lawn care company, we asked around and are providing you with a list of companies that provide lawn care with non-phosphorous fertilizers. In fact, most of these companies mix their own blend and will be happy to exclude phosphorous from their formula.

All In One Lawn Inc.
Grow It Green
Diamond Lawn Service
Direct Lawn Care
Green Acres Landsc.
K & G Landsc.
Masters Green
Mr. Green Lawn Care
Scott’s LawnService
Turf Systems Inc.

If the company you hire is not on the list, please request that they do not use phosphorous in their fertilizer and ask them what they would do to protect and preserve our pond.

You can always find a copy of this and other reports in the “Pond Project” section of our very own subdivision website http://www.covingtonsquare.org

Covington Square Subdivision Pond Committee

Fertilizer Report 14March2003 Click here to view or download the report as a PDF file

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February 22, 2003

Covington Square Detention Pond Retrofit Project
Committee Meeting Minutes

Present: John Silagy, Gino Polidori, Lisa Alspaugh, Bob Wischer, John Jackson

Canton Township/Tilton Associates update

John Jackson reported that he spoke recently with Bill Serchak, Canton Township, and Chris Mueller, Tilton, about the project and specifically about the west end. They both say there is nothing functionally wrong with the west end that makes not doing anything this year and problem. Bill says Canton Township has spent almost three times what they expected. They are unable to spend time this year beyond doing the final grading. John asked Bill to come up with a couple of options with costs to do additional work on the west end next year if we decide to do so. Bill agreed to do this.

Pondscape sub-committee

Lisa and Bob gave a very positive update with a great deal of detail about the planting plans. Both met with Chris of Tilton and were very impressed with the plan, the plants selected and Tilton’s approach. The variety of seed mixes and plants will make for an excellent prairie habitat look around the pond. There are five different types of trees planned that should give a very nice variety of colors and looks. We discussed the purple loosestrife issue and agreed we need to aggressively attack it this year and next.

The plan includes some colorful annuals being planted to give color this year. It will take until next year for many of the plants to develop their full color.

Lisa reported on her conversation with Rick Plecha at Field School. His fifth graders will help on our project on May 10 and we will provide several volunteers to help them clean the Truesdale Drain and build a frog pond.

We also seem to be getting a great price on 2 1/2 to 3 inch trunk trees. Lisa will verify the cost. If it is as good as it seems, John J. will advise John S. and an offer to homeowners will be made to order and additional tree if they pay themselves.

We need to address the issue of the person at the southwest end who has a purple loosestrife garden. John Silagy will address this via the Board.

Lisa will get with Lori Treder and get an answer from Neher Prefect to see if they do weed control like we need in the pond area. If not, they will explore who can do it and the cost.


It was agreed to get a reminder to homeowners about the need to request/use low or no phosphorous fertilizer. There is a flyer going out in a few weeks with other info. We'll do this at the same time. John J. will get with Larry R. on new info.

Longer-term Maintenance

A print out of the Canton Township web pages on Detention Pond Maintenance was discussed. It does a good job of laying out what needs to be done to keep the pond in good shape. John J. will get the info to Yogi and ask for him to propose how we address this.

Volunteer enlistment

Shelley Babcock advises she has not started a formal volunteer list for 5/10. However, she says she has a number of people informally committed and will get going in a few weeks commitments.


John S. advises all is well. We can spend up to the $17,000. budgeted. The current plan appears OK.

Action Steps
1. Lisa meet with Lori Treder on fertilizer
2. Cathy and Lisa firm up tree price and advise John S. and John J.
3. John Jackson will check with Canton/Tilton on flushing of west end inlet pipe. He will also see what kind of commitment we can get for equipment to plant trees. He will also check on invoices ready to be paid.
4. Gino will check Plymouth Rental and other rental shops for cost of Bobcats and other equipment we could use to plant trees.
5. John J. will get with Larry on flyer to remind on fertilizer, etc.
6. Lisa will follow-up and confirm with Rick Plecha. John J. will put together a few Powerpoint slides to explain the history of the pond project.
7. John Silagy will let John J. know on the date the flyers will be distributed.

Next Meeting March 22, 2003, 9:30 AM, John Silagy’s home

Covington Square Detention Pond Retrofit 

Project Meeting Minutes February 22, 2003 Click here to view or download the minutes as a PDF file

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January 25, 2003

New photo gallery additions:

Check the January 25th photo gallery for the latest photos of the Canton Township Employees playing with the "big toys" and changing our landscape. You'll also see some of our pond committee members!


Pond Commitee Meeting:

Detention Pond Retrofit Project
Covington Square Homeowners Detention Pond Retrofit Committee
January 25, 2003 Meeting Minutes

• There were not additions or corrections to the December 28, 2002 meeting minutes

• Project progress discussion – Canton Township continues to work on the excavation of the existing pond area. They have hauled considerable amounts of silt/sediment. This was not anticipated in the original plan. The good news for Covington Square residents is there should not be a cost increase to them due to this. Bill Serchak, Canton Engineering Department, and Kelly Kelly, Tilton Inc. Consultants, both are very positive about the progress and pleased with the subdivision’s committee involvement. There are some developments needing to be addressed:
• There is a need to clean the exit pipe that leads to the Truesdale Creek. It has sediment of up to 12 inches in some places, which needs to be removed by a professional pipe cleaner. The probable cost is between $500 and $1000 which was not included in the original estimate. While we might be able to move it to next year for budget purposes, it probably makes the most sense to do it now. The committee agreed and will make necessary adjustments in the “optional” vegetation planting.
• There is also need to install a 48-inch standpipe versus the originally budgeted 36-inch pipe. It is thought this will have only a small impact on the budget.
• Canton Township Supervisor, Mike Karll, recommends and intends to install a duck valve in the exit pipe. This will help with backwash from the Truesdale creek.
We also discussed news coverage. Canton Township will contact appropriate newspapers. The potential story will be one of Township/community cooperation and/or the environment.
• Board Financial Update – Monica Baker, Covington Square H.O. Association Treasurer, was in attendance at the meeting and reported the subdivision’s $17,000 portion of the project cost estimate has been approved. Counted in the $17,000 expense item is approximately $7,000 carried over from 2002. If we need to make some payments for materials, we have that much available. The remainder of the amount should be available shortly after the February 28, 2003 deadline for payment of 2003 Association dues. The committee agreed invoices should be directed to John Jackson. He will approve if in line with estimates and items delivered. If there is a variation, the committee will be consulted. The invoice will be forwarded to Monica Baker for payment. It was suggested there be a standard line item in future budgets for pond upkeep and maintenance. John Silagy will take to the next Board meeting.
• Review plan drawings – the plan drawing was reviewed. It was agreed there needed to be additional questions asked of Canton Township and Tilton regarding the west end of the project – see Next Steps for specifics. The committee agreed the Pondscape would meet with Tilton to finalize the vegetation selections. This will occur on February 13 with the backup date being February 14. Lisa Alspaugh will confirm the date and time. Gino Polidori volunteered to be on the committee. Bob Wischer already volunteered. The sub-committee will come up with a final recommendation and bring that back to the committee. When Cathy Veri returns from vacation, we will follow-up to see what is known about tree cost and tree planting labor cost. Canton Township may be able to help with the price per tree as Crimboli won the Township bid for tree replacement. It was also suggested we should ask Crimboli or others if we can get a break on the price if we advertise them as the source for the trees and bushes.

January 25, 2003

• Fertilizer update- Larry Ristovski confirmed that Ace Hardware is the only area locations that confirm the sale of the low or no phosphorous fertilizer. John Jackson mentioned that Kelly Kelly says Tru-Green says they use this type of fertilizer. Larry will follow-up. The committee also agreed we need additional communication and reminders on the fertilizer issue-see next steps.
• Volunteers – Shelly Babcock will contact all homeowners on the pond in late February or early March to start getting volunteers to help with the planting. The planting date is now set. It is May 10, 2003. We will include information on the No-Mow Zone and fertilizer as a handout. John Jackson will talk to Lisa about this. Shelly Babcock will coordinate with Lisa on contact with Rick Plecha at Field School about some Fifth Graders helping or at least watching on the day of planting as they have a Truesdale Creek project.
• Website update- Larry Ristovski was complimented by all for his superb job of re-designing the subdivision’s website. Yogi Patel and Larry we thanked for the pictures that tell the story of the pond project.
• Communication- it was agreed there was ample communication to all homeowners to date and the plans should be sufficient. There was unanimous feeling a meeting to address concerns was not necessary. To date, there has been no responses or questions from the invitation in the fertilizer flyer, article in the subdivision newsletter or from the website.
• Significant dates-
• February 13 or 14 Vegetation selection with Tilton Inc.
• Approximately March 1 Distribution of next flyer and building of volunteer list
• February 22 Committee Meeting
• March 29 Committee Meeting
• April 26 Committee Meeting
• May 10 Planting of vegetation and trees in new pond
• Next steps
• John Jackson will discuss the following with Canton Township and Tilton and get back to the committee:
• How we can better address the west end grading
• Confirmation of cost estimates and any additions
• Seeding of the middle area of the project
• Lisa and Shelly will contact Rick Plecha and Field School re: his wishes to be involved in planting, etc.
• Lisa, Gino and Bob will meet with Tilton to pick out the vegetation and bring recommendation to committee.
• Cathy will get tree costs as well as planting and equipment costs
• John Silagy was discuss enforcement of the No-Mow Zone with the Board at the next meeting. We hope there is no problems but will develop and policy is any homeowner refuses to observe the No-Mow Zone.

Pond Commitee Meeting Minutes 25JAN03 Click here to view or download the minutes as a PDF file

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January 13, 2003

Fertilizer report:

The impact of lawn fertilizer on the retention pond

Dear Neighbors,
As we all know, preparation is underway and some work has already started on this year’s restoration and revitalization of our subdivision’s retention pond. Even though Canton Township, through grant programs, is covering almost 80% of the cost, our association is investing up to $17,000. One of the ways to protect our investment is using environmental friendly lawn fertilizer this year. Here are some questions we anticipate you may have about fertilizer and the pond.

What has fertilizer got to do with our retention pond?
Basically, lawn fertilizer consists of three main components: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Our interest is focused on the phosphorous. It has a very bad side effect for ponds, rivers and lakes – it supports the growth of algae and some other water plants and microorganisms that drastically reduce the presence of oxygen in the water, therefore destroying its ecosystem!

How can we avoid this side effect of fertilizer?
The first step is to start using non-phosphorous or low phosphorous fertilizers. If you fertilize the lawn yourself, you’ve probably noticed that in the front of the fertilizer bag there are three numbers, for example: 24 – 4 – 6. The number in the middle (in this example – 4) is the amount of phosphorous in the fertilizer. Non-phosphorous would have a 0 (zero) and low phosphorous would have a 1 or 2. Anything with a 3 or above (like 24- 4 -6) has too much phosphorous and is dangerous for our pond. If you’ve contracted a lawn care service, please ask them to use non-phosphorous fertilizer.

If I don’t live next to the pond, why should I be concerned about the type of fertilizer I use?
All storm drains in our subdivision end in one place – the pond. Anything that washes off in the storm drains ends in the same place. After fertilizing the lawn, not all of the components are absorbed in the soil. A portion of it travels with the unabsorbed water or rain and ends up in the storm drains. Any phosphorous will end up in the pond. If the pond becomes algae ridden and polluted again, it will result in further costs for all homeowners for additional maintenance.

Where can I get low or non-phosphorous fertilizer and how much does it cost?
Ace Hardware on 7 mile in Livonia (248-474-8700) and Ford Road in Garden City (734-425-6080) carry a specially designed non-phosphorous fertilizer for these same purposes. It is made by LESCO and it’s called Scenic Green (25-0-11), 40lbs bag for an estimated 15.99$ this spring. We highly recommend this fertilizer!
We’ve also checked with Home Depot, Lowe’s and Frank’s and unfortunately they do not carry any non-phosphorous fertilizer at this time. However, please ask for it as we’ve been told they may start carrying it. The best options were two brands:
Milorganite – Organic nitrogen (6-2-0), 40lbs bag for around 9$ at all stores
STA-GREEN – Time released nitrogen (29-2-5), 18lbs for around 5$ at Lowe’s

What else can I do to protect our pond?
• Tend to use fertilizers with slow release nitrogen
• Avoid using “weed & feed” all year round since they will add unnecessary pesticides to the water that enters the pond
• Never fertilize your lawn just before a severe rain or storm. Most of it can and will wash away
• After fertilizing please make sure that you sweep away any fertilizer from the driveway, walkway or any other cement areas from where it will be washed directly into the storm drain
• If you’ve contracted a lawn care service please ask them to adhere to these suggestions.

Please help keep our subdivision’s pond healthy and beautiful. Using the use of the right formula of fertilizer will save us money in the long run and provide for a much better looking pond.

If you have questions, please contact us by email at jacksonj46@aol.com

The Covington Square Subdivision’s Pond Committee


Partisipating retailersClick here for a list of other participating retailers. (Right-click and pick "Save Target As..")

List of fertilizersClick here for a list of fertilizers. Use lake and river friendly! (Right-click and pick "Save Target As..")


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December 28, 2002

Pond Comitee Meeting


• Review of Progress to date
• October 30, 2002 and December 18, 2002 meetings – John lead a discussion about the meetings. Those who attended one or both of those meetings agreed Tilton Associates and Canton Township are very cooperative. This project appears to be one Tilton and Canton Township expect to serve as an example for how to do a retention project retrofit the right way. Both are being very cooperative up to this point.

• Plan drawing – we reviewed the drawings provided to us at the December 18th meeting. For discussion purposes, we divided the diagram into three sections:
• Section A – the east end (existing retention pond)
• Section B – the west end
• Section C – the middle

• Plant types – the handout from the December 18th meeting was handed out. The pictures were viewed as representative types of flowers we can select and plant. Not all of the plants in the pictures are represented in the estimate. It was agreed the Landscaping sub-committee would be responsible for working with Tilton to select the types and numbers of plants we actually plant.

• Preliminary cost estimates – the cost estimate sheets were distributed to those who had not already received one. The project costs, per the sheet, are:
• Site Improvements $3,644 + $600-$1000 for outlet pipe = $4,644
• Site Re-vegetation $2,280
• Optional Improvements (e.g.-trees, shrubs, Prairie mix seed) $10,127
It was agreed that the Preliminary Cost Estimate provided by Tilton and Associates seemed reasonable. However, these amounts are for material costs only. John J. will clarify if there should be any additional expense anticipated for Covington Square for labor or outside services (e.g. surveying).

• Plan options – After the extensive budget discussions, a unanimous recommendation to the Board was agreed upon. The follow is the Committee’s recommendation to the Board:


1. For 2003, proceed with Section A (east end) of the plan as outlined in the Site Improvements and Site Re-vegetation cost estimation sections. Also, complete the tree and shrub Optional Improvements outlined for Section A. This would be done to avoid erosion and other problems associated with disturbing the area again in the future to do planting.

2. Proceed with planting of additional trees and shrubs in Section B (west end) that can be accomplished within the $17,051 cost estimate.

3. Take no action, other than herbicide if required, in Section C (middle) in 2003.

• Sub-committees – the Committee agreed to form sub-committees to provide attention to specific areas and to allow other homeowners to participate on the project. The following sub-committees were formed with leadership and membership as indicated. For those not at the meeting, their involvement will be contingent upon their agreement to serve. If other sub-committees are called for, we will furnish those as the need arises.

• Pondscape - responsible for working with Tilton Inc. to select plants and vegetation for the pond. Also responsible for scheduling and supervising the planting on the sub-division’s behalf.
Leader – Lisa Alspach
Member – Lori Treder, ______________, _____________

• Volunteers – responsible for recruiting and mobilizing volunteers for planting and any other parts of the project requiring homeowner involvement
Leader – Shelly Babcock
Member - _____________, _______________

• Communications – responsible for keeping homeowners informed of the project’s status, requirements of them. Also, this group may be responsible for publicizing our efforts to the community through newspapers, cable news, etc. if it is deemed worthwhile.
Leader – Cathy Veri
Member- Larry Ristovski (website), John Silagy, John Jackson, _____________

• Longer-term Maintenance – responsible for determining issues for maintaining the pond from year-to-year, identifications of vendors to provide needed services (we agreed the subdivision lawn service would do any maintenance to the pond area), certifications needed and for capturing the responsibilities in a document for future use.
Leader – Yogi Patel
Member- _________________ (if needed)

• Truesdale Project Coordination – responsible for contacting Field Elementary School and determining interest in coordinating their efforts with ours. Then, advising Committee and Board of any needed recommendations for action.
Leader – Lisa Alspach
Member - ________________

• Project Coordination – responsible for coordinating efforts with Canton Township, Tilton and Covington Square homeowners
Leader – John Jackson
Member – John Silagy

• Next steps
• Communication –
• John Jackson will provide a copy of this meeting minutes and any other requested information to Cathy for the February 1st mailing to homeowners about dues, etc.
• Cathy will contact Brian Baker to see if he’d like some assistance with the website as Larry Ristovski is quite versed in website development and maintenance. They will make sure the website is updated.
• The sub-committee will decide if and when it may be a good idea to consider a newspaper article or other publicity.
• Insurance question – Cathy will get an answer about the impact of the pond being over 5 feet deep on our insurance rates. The proposed pond plans call for it to be six feet deep in the deepest point.
• Tree planting cost – Cathy Veri will ask Lori Treder to check with Crimboli and others regarding cost to plant trees. (This relates to #4 in next bullet)

• Next steps (continued)
• Canton Township/Tilton questions – John Jackson will contact Canton Township/Tilton to obtain answers to the following questions:
1. As the Preliminary Cost Estimate provided December 18th is for material costs only, are there other costs we need to consider if we provide people to do the planting in the Spring?
2. Has Canton Township already done or do they plan to flush the existing drains in order to clean them of mud, plant life, etc.? If so, will there be a cost to Covington Square homeowners?
3. Is establishing property lines for No-Mow Zones covered in Tilton’s Cost Estimates? If not, will Tilton or Canton Township help us establish and mark the No-Mow Zones/property lines? If not already included and if they will, will there be a charge for this? If they won’t, will they recommend someone? Can they recommend a good way to semi-permanently mark the No-Mow Zone beyond the temporary method using spray paint?
4. When can the Pondscape sub-committee meet with Tilton to pick out the plants?
5. Will we have any help with the tree planting? Our concern is the weight of the trees and the amount of work to dig holes by hand. If no help will be provided, is there an estimated cost per planted tree?
• Fertilizer – Larry Ristovski will check with local stores on the recommended fertilizers with low phosphorus. He will do this in preparation of our need to get an early notice to homeowners before they sign lawn-fertilizing contracts for 2003. He will also check out commercial companies for the best deals after the first of the year.
• Meetings – We will schedule regular meetings beginning in January. Cathy will check with the library on the availability of a room at the library for 10:00 AM to noon on the last Saturday of each month. In additional, she will check on the availability of a room for a meeting for homeowners to ask questions, explain the plan, their responsibilities, etc. This will be scheduled for a weeknight in February so we can have Kelly Kelly or Chris Mueller, from Tilton, may attend.


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December 18, 2002

Meeting with Canton Township

They proposed the following pond layout: (right-click and pick "Save Target As...")


x x


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November 3, 2002

Retention Pond Retrofit Project Progress Report

The committee made up of Covington Square homeowners that was commissioned to oversee the retrofitting project at the October 15, 2002 Association Meeting wishes to report the following:

· The project is underway. The Pond Committee met with Canton Township officials and Tilton Associates, the consulting firm.

· Draining of the existing pond will begin as soon as Canton Township can free up equipment and a crew. Once this is done, which should be no later than early December ’02, the existing drainpipes, from the manholes to the pond, will be flushed. The exit drain on the east end of the pond will be relocated a short distance to the north to improve drainage. Excavation will likely begin in Feb/March.

· The pond will be slightly smaller and a more natural habitat. There will be “no-mow” zones on the banks of the pond. The consultant’s sketches should be available soon at covingtonsquare.org Check them out. It will still be usable for ice-skating and playing hockey in the winter (except ‘02-’03 when under construction).

· As explained at the 10/15/02 Association meeting, the project will be funded largely by a grant from Wayne County and many services provided by Canton Township. The subdivision will need to pay approximately 20% of the costs and provide assistance in planting vegetation in the Spring of ’03. Based on initial projections, the total cost of the project to the subdivision will likely not exceed $15,000 as discussed at the 10/15/02 Association meeting. This number is subject to adjustment when a more detailed cost estimate is received in early December ’02.

· Money budgeted this year will be used to defray the overall cost of the project. Once again, we will have better costs in December ’02.

· An Association dues increase should be anticipated for 2003 to cover the costs of this project. A best guess at this time is that our dues will likely not exceed the amount mentioned at the 10/15/02 Association meeting – the mid-$200 range. The budget will be finalized after the first of the year when all projected costs are known.

· It is being recommended we budget in the future for pond maintenance. While the amount is not yet known, it does not appear to be a large annual amount. There is a need, however, to take care of undesirable plant removal, replacement of plants that die, etc.

· We are being told we need to avoid phosphate containing lawn fertilizers to have a healthy retention pond. Initial information on no/low phosphate fertilizers and companies is posted at covingtonsquare.org

· If you have specific questions about the retention pond retrofit project or want to know more about the project, we expect to have another informational meeting after the first of the year. In the meantime, please feel free to contact the project chairperson for Covington Square, John Jackson, at jacksonj46@aol.com He will bring appropriate matters to the Pond Committee’s or Board’s attention.


Covington Square Subdivision Association

Pond Committee

P.O.Box 871082

Canton, MI 48187

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