Dorset Ponds Project

Ponds are classed as waterbodies between 1 square metre to 2 hectares in area, which hold water for at least 4 months of the year and can be very shallow. 

They can be extremely diverse habitats containing even more invertebrates than rivers. One third of countryside ponds have disappeared since the 1940s and 80% of lowland ponds are now in poor or very poor condition.

In 2007 ponds were finally recognised as a UK Priority Habitat and a Pond Habitat Action Plan prepared.

To address this, Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and charities such as Pond Conservation, Froglife and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation are encouraging the creation of clean water ponds.

Purbeck Important Ponds Project (PIPP)

The first phase of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Purbeck Important Ponds Project (PIPP) was developed to address targets in the draft Pond Habitat Action Plan and ran from January 2009 to February 2011, supported by Biffaward, Dorset AONB and the Environment Agency. The district of Purbeck was known to contain many ponds of high wildlife value, and a great opportunity existed for rebuilding biodiversity in the area by creating a network of new ponds within priority areas and/or restoring existing ponds. The project achievements include:

  • A GIS Pond Inventory layer detailing 1090 ponds and their preliminary Priority Habitat Status now held by Dorset Environmental Records Centre.
  • 38 ponds surveyed to species level for macroinvertebrates and plants; 33 of these contained Dorset Notable, Red Data Book, BAP or Nationally Scarce species and the area around Povington and Creech has been identified as a possible Important Area for Ponds.
  • 44 ponds created or restored in Purbeck including 5 at demonstration sites.
  • The great crested newt metapopulation in the Langton Matravers area reassessed and new breeding ponds identified.  Practical work concentrated in this area to reconnect and improve the network of ponds here.
  • 70+ other pond advice visits or surveys for great crested newts
  • Landowners, local groups and partners were involved in the project through 20 workshops, talks, walks and demonstration events, as well as participating in 20 practical volunteer days.  Over 300 volunteer days were contributed to the project

The Purbeck ponds work is being continued into 2012, and a similar project is in North Dorset district in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation developed.  North Dorset contains numerous ponds and a nationally important network of breeding great crested newt ponds.  Taxa such as odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) are under-recorded in North Dorset, so DWT will also be working with the Dorset Dragonfly Group to address this.

For further information on pond creation and management

The Freshwater Habitats Trust website at www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk contains excellent  leaflets on pond management as well as the Million Ponds Project toolkit for clean water pond creation.

Or contact, Amy Corton (Assistant Conservation Officer) DWT, Brooklands Farm, Forston, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7AA. Telephone: 01305 264620

This project is focussed on ponds in the countryside, but wildlife ponds in garden ponds are important too. DWT also runs a Wildlife Friendly Garden Award.

This project is also supported by: 

AONB

Biffaward

Environment Agency

Pond Surveying by Rachel Janes 

Emperor dragonfly by Jane Adams

Clearing pond by Rachel Janes

Excavating Pond by Rachel Jane

 

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