Our ponds are part of a delicate ecosystem. Because The Wharf is located at one of the highest points in Reston, the ponds are not runoff ponds like other Reston lakes. Water is provided by fresh water wells that are turned on for a few hours each day to compensate for water lost from evaporation.

Technically, The Wharf ponds are warm-water fish ponds. They are stocked with bluegill sunfish and large-mouth bass. Sunfish eat mosquito larvae and bass control the sunfish population.

The west pond is lined with Volclay® SG-40; the east and outflow ponds are lined with BENTOMAT®. Both liners use bentonite clay to minimize seepage. A creek separates the east and west ponds. It is the only area where water from both ponds may mix. Water from an outflow pond feeds a waterfall and recycles through the system. This runoff system prevents our homes from flooding during periods of heavy rain.

The Wharf uses a variety of methods to move water around the ponds in order to help the fish to breathe and to reduce the growth of algae. A series of coves contain waterfalls or fountains that cascade over a pile of rocks. These rocks conceal some of the electrical outlets that allow various water features to operate. Riprap helps to strengthen the clay walls of the pond and control soil erosion. River rock controls erosion but is more visually appealing than the grey rock. By helping to keep the water moving, the waterfall and fountains add to the visual beauty of the community.

The ponds experience approximately two algae blooms a year. Filamentous algae grows on the pond bottom. We control its growth by adding an organic, non-toxic dye used by the U.S. Park Service that gives the water a dark blue hue to prevent sunlight from penetrating into the water.