Friday 29 June 2012
Ponds were the focus of a Commons Project training workshop led by local ecologist and pond expert, Rod d’Ayala, in June. Participants, who came from all over the Chilterns, spent the day discovering how little is generally understood about ponds. The ‘chocolate box’ version can be far cry from the thriving freshwater habitats many local groups endeavour to preserve on their common.
Some ponds naturally dry out from time to time, and yet may harbour rare species. The number one priority for a healthy pond is clean water. Rainwater starts out clean, but can become polluted once it reaches the ground. Overhanging trees such as willow may cause a build up of sludge from rotting leaves. Ducks and fish can also cause pollution, especially if there are too many of them. Contamination can be caused by run-off from other sources, such as agricultural chemicals or garden waste. With sensitive management, local wildlife can make the most of the variety of habitat provided by the ponds.
To prove the point, a sample of water scooped from Stradwell Pond (on Nettlebed Common) was found to contain a small number of aquatic invertebrates. This time last year there were none present so this is a promising sign that last winter’s restoration work has paid off and this pond is slowly coming back to life.