Fountain City Duckpond: Engineering Solution to a Biological Problem?

I drafted an e-mail to Kasey Krouse, the City of Knoxville’s Urban Forester, concerning a possible alternative to a costly $250,000 remediation that could be better approached (in my opinion) with bio-remediation. I cc’d Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero on that e-mail, which is reproduced below. I’ve added images for general interest. 


I read with interest a recent news piece concerning costly renovations of the Fountain City Duck point.

I confess I don’t know all the details, but the approach to fixing the problem appears to be an engineering solution to a biological problem.

Given your background, I assume you are familiar with the concept of bioremediation, wherein the natural respiratory action of trees and root systems filters and cleanses water.

You are also knowledgeable about the plant species that benefit wildlife and are appropriate for bioremediation.

For these reasons, I thought to write to you as someone within city government I know will understand where I’m coming from.

Rather than attempt a costly engineering fix, I propose it would be more cost effective and beneficial to attempt a bio-remediation approach.

For example, to shade the water and out-compete the algae for nutrients, plant river birch, willow, and perhaps bald cypress. Plant arrow arum and pickerel weed, which in fact is native to Tennessee and benefits pollinators such as bees. Pollinators are important to the urban food initiative and are suffering from habitat loss.

Pickerel Weed

Arrowhead, a native Tennessee aquatic plant.

River birch.

This approach would be a worthwhile urban forestry endeavor and promote watershed restoration and water quality through biological remediation.

I’m CC’ing Mayor Rogero on this and hope you will be able to lobby for a “green” infrastructure solution to whomever will listen.

Thank you for all you do for the city. I enjoy the street trees in Parkridge every evening when I walk my dog.




About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on July 24, 2014, in Civic Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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