What’s up with the Lily Pond in Golden Gate Park?

I’ve lived about two blocks from Golden Gate Park for nearly nine years, and for most of those nine years I’ve been a daily or even twice-daily visitor to the park. My dog and I have a few regular routes through the eastern end of the park, one of which takes us by the Lily Pond, which used to be beautiful.

But now, it’s a duckweed-choked, African clawed frog-infested pool of ick.

I talked to one of the gardeners about it over the weekend, who told me that the state government is involved in trying to figure out a way to eradicate the clawed frogs. The gardener told me that these suckers are mean; they eat small birds, fish, each other, bugs, and whatever else they can find. They can survive total starvation for a year, they burrow into the dirt until it rains, and they can live through almost any wound that doesn’t kill them right away.

The crummy thing is that the frogs have been there for almost a decade, and nothing has been done so far. Actually, according to an SFGate article from 2004, the state Department of Fish & Game was mere hours away from starting to pump the pond dry in 2003 in order to dig up the bottom to get rid of the frogs, but they cancelled the project just before the scheduled start time.

And we all know what the state budget is like now. Where will the money come from to get rid of these badass frogs?

At the same time, the duckweed is getting thicker and thicker. I see tourists walking by every day pinching their noses (it’s kind of stinky around the pond), and sometimes people throw stuff in to see if it’s actually water or if it’s just a goopy green flat surface.

It’s a sad state of affairs over at the Lily Pond. Here’s to hoping that it can be returned to its former beauty, minus some killer frogs, very soon.

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