City workers haul off some of the final loads of items that were found buried beneath the murky waters of Hafen Pond after Mesquite Parks and Recreation workers drained the swamp. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Nobody knew everything that lied beneath the murky waters until Mesquite Park and Recreation workers drained Hafen Pond and discovered many hidden objects in the swampy muck that was left behind. Once drained, workers found something akin to an artificial reef left behind in the muddy waters along with an abundance of aquatic life.

It’s been many years since the pond was drained and cleaned so there’s no telling just how long some of the items that were found were hidden in the water. Among some of the items pulled were bicycles, tricycles and skateboards. There were truckloads full of items that residents discarded over the years including some firearms which were turned into MPD for investigation.

Depending on the type of waste that is dumped into the pond, certain negative environmental impacts could be taking place, ironically some of the items provide a habitat for the aquatic creatures that live there, but none are particularly welcome.

Items such as fuel containers and paint cans can have negative chemical and biological impact on the water.  Even organic waste can interfere with the establishment of plants, affect the reproductive behavior of fish and turtles and as it decomposes can deplete the oxygen levels in the water slowly suffocating the wildlife. Plastics can be ingested and cause strangulation. Other materials that can produce toxic results include used oil filters, pressure-treated lumber and batteries.

It appears that the turtles aren’t having a problem reproducing despite all the efforts of the residents who use Hafen Pond as a dumping ground. Although turtles do not care for their young, this picture looks like it could be a baby sunning itself next to its mother. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Despite the efforts of some careless individuals using it as a dumping ground, life does go on in Hafen Pond as evidenced by the dozens of turtles that were sunning themselves on the banks in the warm afternoon or swimming on the surface of the water and the thousands of baby trout and catfish that collected and fed off of insects all around the perimeter.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife and Mesquite Parks and Recreation work together to keep Hafen Pond stocked with fish. Twice a year the NDOW brings in 150 pounds of fish; catfish are stocked in the spring and trout in the fall.

It would have been impossible to tell if there were much bigger fish hiding beneath the surface as the pond was currently being refilled.

There’s no doubt that in a couple of years, there will be some prime fishing in Hafen Pond once those thousands of little fish get bigger providing, they have a safe and clean environment to grow.