Pond at Sugar House Park undergoes habitat improvement project

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SALT LAKE CITY –The pond at Sugar House Park is one of the most iconic attractions in any public park in Utah, and it takes a lot of work to clean the pond in order to protect the birds who call it home.

Members of the United Way and school groups came together recently to help with the cleanup project.

Richard Nowak, Avian Sanctuary and Protection of Utah, said they are working to protect wildlife.

"We're doing a bird habitat improvement project,” he said. “There's many things that are left in the grass, like bread ties, rubber bands, cigarette butts, bottle caps— and the birds may eat these, and it can be hazardous to their health."

Nowak said they used long rakes, shovels and poles to pick up the items and pull them from the shoreline. Nowak said they also do other things to protect the bird’s habitat.

"We've also been doing water tests here in the park,” he said. “So we're trying to assess the quality of water. Last year many birds died in this park. Our goal is to try to improve the conditions for these birds, so we don't have any die offs, and as of yet this year there have been no fatalities."

And Nowak said some residents are making the problem worse by abandoning pets at the park.

"This is a domesticated bird,” he said. “It's been abandoned in the park. This is one of the types of birds that we pick up quite often is ducks, geese and chickens that people have just left along our rivers and parkways."