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Controversy Surrounds Construction to Remove Livermore Ponds

Several Livermore residents accuse the city of burying ducks and other wildlife during construction work to remove a couple of ponds in the Springtown neighborhood.

The ponds are currently closed off to the public while city crews work to bring in dirt to fill them up. The ponds have yet to be drained and city officials said they are waiting to move the wildlife to a new home before they do.

"All of a sudden it's under threat," resident Roger Logan said of the ponds in Springtown. "It's already a landmark. I mean, I first got here in 1980. I remember the pond and the ducks and the geese."

The city plans to remove the pond and replace 85 acres of land along with it with a splash park, bicycle track and community garden.

On social media there is an outcry of people accusing the city of killing the wildlife during construction. There is also a petition against the construction with more than 1,000 signatures.

"Probably the biggest misconception we see right now is the city has filled in one of the ponds and that we're here killing the ducks," said Darren Greenwood with Livermore's Public Works Department.

The city said a golf course used to occupy the area, but closed down in 2015. City officials argue the ducks and geese are unhealthy because of the food people give them. The wildlife also get hit by cars when they travel onto the main road.

"In the city, we took the step to find a rescue organization that would take all the birds -- we found a place for the turtles," Greenwood said. "So, basically, we've taken great steps to make sure we're following all the regulations and that no animals are harmed unless they have to be euthanized per the regulations, like the fish."

The city also said it needs to put $26 million on the bill to redo the space and still need to find the money for it -- a slow moving process.

"Then I'm thinking, well, then what's the hurry for getting rid of the duck ponds?" Logan asked. "Because this may be the way we have to leave everything for a while."

The city does not know when the entire project will be done. It plans to replace the ponds with temporary tables and benches in the meantime.

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