Duck Pond Springs

The Duck Pond, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. Photo by Stephen B. Glass.

The “Duck Pond”, also known as Gorham Spring,  is usually thought of as being fed by one large spring outflow but actually consists of upwelling groundwater that emerges at five points beneath the stone wall at the intersection of Spring Trail and Nakoma Road.

The Duck Pond's south spring braid. Photo by Stephen B. Glass.

The Duck Pond's major north spring braid. Photo by Stephen B. Glass.

The Duck Pond is so-called because of the large flock of mallards and domestically  released water flow that overwinter in its year round warm water.  However, according to Madison residents who grew up in the neighborhood, the Duck Pond was not always a large water body.   Instead, according to these sources, the pond was gradually created by the joint actions of flocks of resident waterfowl and humans.

Madison residents took to feeding the mallards.   The resident flocks scrambled up out of the stream to feed on bread crumbs tossed to them by well-meaning Madisonians.   Each trip up and down the banks of the narrow spring-fed stream eroded it just a bit until a pond was created.  The change was gradual but inexorable; barely noticeable from year-to-year but long-time and native Madison citizens remember the days when the spring flow was a stream meandering its way to Lake Wingra.

Spring flow at the Duck Pond emerging beneath a stone wall. The wall design and construction is attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo by Stephen B. Glass

About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist, Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (#0093 SER) and writer living in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Groundwater, Lake Wingra, Springs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Duck Pond Springs

  1. John says:

    There are more than the 5 points at which water flows into the Spring Trail Pond.


    • Steve Glass says:

      Hi John, Thanks for your interest in the springs. If you have noticed additional inflows to the Spring Trail Pond, it would be great to know about those. Could you post a photo showing the locations?

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