Janesville72°

Divers beautify Kiwanis Pond

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 29, 2011
— Sometime back, someone threw a wheelchair into Kiwanis Pond.

When, or why, we may never know. But we know it was there because scuba divers Dave and Jake Canik pulled it out on Saturday.


The Caniks were among local divers who scoured the pond’s bottom and shoreline for trash during their seventh annual cleanup day.


The land around Kiwanis Pond features a mowed lawn and trees. It’s serene, green and except for the goose feces, nice to look at. But the water hides trash, either windblown or human-thrown.


The wheelchair, draped with fishing line, was the most unusual item that came out of the water Saturday.


The rest of the junk fit neatly into the mesh bags the divers carried.


The most common items were aluminum cans, plastic bottles and golf balls—Blackhawk Golf Course is within golf club-throwing distance of the pond.


In fact, divers one year found an almost complete set of clubs in the pond, said dive instructor Bruce DeGarmo.


DeGarmo said divers in past years have found televisions, computer gear and car batteries.


“Some people use this as a dump,” DeGarmo said. “I just find that hard to fathom.”


Most of the trash was fairly modern, but a couple of pop-top beer cans were found. Pop-tops haven’t been used since the 1980s.


Also collected were fishing lures, a plastic Taco Bell container and lots of bait containers. One such container found by diver Shain Preston was labeled: “Please do not litter.”


“Yeah, like, they listened,” Preston said sarcastically.


One item that divers could not handle is a reclining armchair that’s in about 10 feet of water under a tree trunk, Preston said. Speculation was that ice fishers left it behind.


The cleanup is affiliated with the national Project Aware Foundation, an environmentally minded divers group.


DeGarmo said divers don’t clean up lake bottoms just one day a year. Whenever they see trash down there, they pick it up.


Which is a good thing, because without the divers’ help, fishers could soon be hooking more crap than crappies at Kiwanis Pond.


PIT TO POND

Some facts about Kiwanis Pond from city of Janesville Parks Director Tom Presny and other sources:


History: The city of Janesville acquired it in 1962 from the owner, who had operated it as a gravel quarry known as Atlas Pit. It was first called Blackhawk Pond. It was renamed in 1987 when the Janesville Kiwanis Club adopted it. The club has donated or built the fishing pier, picnic pavilion and paving for the access road and parking lot.
Size: 10.25 acres, surrounded by 11.88 acres of public land. Maximum depth: 37 feet, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Landlocked: One city storm sewer empties into the pond. It has no outlet.
Fish: The DNR used to stock it regularly with rainbow trout, but that occurs irregularly now. The pond remains a popular fishing hole that yields largemouth bass, walleyes, crappies, bluegills and perch.
Pier-less: The fishing pier that Kiwanis built in 1993 has seen better days. The floods of 2008 raised the pond’s level. The level has not dropped very much since then. The high water damaged the wooden pier, so it’s barricaded and off limits. Good news: The Federal Emergency Management Agency allocated $29,000 for the pier’s repair or replacement. That work is scheduled for this summer.

—Frank Schultz



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