Creating One Million Ponds in the UK
People rarely look twice at a pond. They aren’t really admired the way rivers and lakes are because they are small in size and many times stagnant and still. But what many people may not realize is that although small they hold great significance in the animal kingdom. In fact, they are just as vital to the ecosystem as rivers and lakes.
But sadly, nearly 95 percent of the ponds left in the UK are plagued with pollution from fertilizers, agricultural runoff, and city waste. But help is on the way as a charity called The One Million Ponds project plans to reverse a century of pond loss to ensure that once again the UK has one million countryside ponds.
The Conservation group says that ponds offer more species diversity per square meter than any other type of habitat. Existing pond habitats in the UK are so unhealthy that there has been considerable evidence of wildlife decline throughout the region. Therefore, the most important element of this project is that the ponds are full of clean water. According to the charity, the easiest and most effective way to rectify this problem is not to clean up the old ones but to create entirely fresh ones.
Dr. Jeremy Briggs is leading the way for One Million Ponds and said that the project was far less ambitious than it initially sounded. He told the BBC news, “There are already half-a-million ponds in the UK – that means we only have to create another half-a-million.” Various types of wildlife coexist in the shallow bogs of the UK including many species of larvae, dragonflies, shrimp, snails, amphibians and reptiles.
The cost of creating a pond is cheap and the labor is easy making it one of the best most affordable ways people can help freshwater wildlife- especially in the wake of climate change and relentless pollution.
Phase 1 of the project started in 2008 and ended in 2012 with a success of creating 1000 ponds across England and Wales. They have also provided technical advice for organizations on how to create their own ponds.
So far the ponds are already being colonized and are providing a home for many endangered species such as the Tassel Stonewort, Great Crested Newt, Shining Ram’s-horn, Norfolk Hawker Dragonfly and Grass-poly. Phase 2 of the project has just launched this month and has a goal to create 30,000 ponds over the next 7 years.
Dr Pete Brotherton, Head of Biodiversity at Natural England said:
“Ponds are fantastic little biodiversity hot spots. They are key habitats for more than 10% of England’s priority species and they also provide important links across England’s fragmented landscapes, helping species to cope with climate change. We’ve been strong supporters of the Million Ponds Project – pond creation provides a practical and cost-effective way of restoring nature, and we look forward to working with Pond Conservation to make Phase 2 a success.”
Although ponds in the UK have been on a downward spiral in the last century, they are clearly being redeemed thanks largely to the Biffa Award who funded a major portion of the project. The One Million Ponds project is gladly accepting donations and welcomes helping hands to to help support their ongoing efforts. To get involved with One Million Ponds follow this link to their website – PondConservation.org.uk
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