Since our Winter 2010 publication, more tasks within our Wild About Ponds project have been completed. These have included hand-digging and lining a new pond at The Arboretum, management work on the Sinfin Golf Course pond, hand-digging new ponds at Alvaston Park and Derby Moor School, and further Pond Management Plan reporting.
DCPWA has continued to undertake its core activities in parallel with the WAP project. These have involved liner repairs at Broomfield with Derby College, representation at a Spondon Community Association event, lobbying for Wild Derby retention, support of digging "Million Ponds Project" ponds at Sinfin Moor, clearing glyceria and typha at Sinfin Moor and reedbed creation at Allestree Park lake.
Work on this project was formally launched in March 2010, and has now moved well into its implementation phase involving the key partners (Wild Derby, DCPWA, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, BTCV and Groundwork Derby), in the three year programme funded by SITA and Derby City Council. More information on the project, including the latest project plan, can be found on the dedicated WAP Project page of the DCPWA web site (www.dcpwa.org.uk).
>Information on the site were first included in our Autumn 2010 publication. BTCV led work to hand-dig a new "wildlife" pond, adjacent to the existing pond, on 11/12th January. A group of 12 BTCV volunteers and local DCC Park Rangers, led by Steve Wright, completed work on a shallow for a new pond, and removed significant amounts of typha from the existing pond to create open water. BTCV returned to site with sand, liner and topsoil on 15th February to complete the new pond.
Excavating the new pond
Lined, filled and profiled
Clearing the old pond
Old pond with clear water
DCC, DWT and BTCV surveyed the pond on 7th January, to discuss the management recommendations of removing and pruning back a number of bankside willow trees, particularly along the southern bank, to minimise the amount of leaf litter entering the pond. The management work, comprising removing a vast amount of willow trees and hawthorn along the pond edges, and self-set willows within the pond itself, was carried out by BTCV on 18/19th January, after a Health & Safety briefing from the golf course management team. The pond was cleared of rubbish the following day, and a final day was spent on 9th February to clear the litter by the bottom end of the pond, near the outfall.
Clearing willow trees - during
Clearing willow trees - after
Groundwork have been instrumental in unblocking some of the obstacles on this site and reported that the alternative site for a "wildlife pond" located in the spinney has now been approved by the Friends of Alvaston Park. The site of the pond has the potential to become a local wildlife site for the park, accessible to members of the public. The local junior school (Lakeside Primary) have also agreed to undertake some tree planting at the same time. Work to create a scrape was completed by BTCV on 3rd and 8th February, and it is hoped that the scrape will hold water without the need for a liner. Our local Pond Warden (Philip Ollerenshaw) will be tracking progress over the forthcoming year.
Groundwork have reported that health and safety issues, and ongoing maintenance cost concerns continue with the proposed junior school pond. A way forward is still awaited. However, Groundwork did take over 50 reception school children from the local Lakeside school for a tour of the spinney pond dig on the second day's work, when lots of conversations about ponds, wetlands and creatures took place.
Start of work in the spinney
Pond nearing completion
Work at Derby Moor School was completed under BTCV guidance, and included creating a natural clay-puddled scrape, hawthorn clearance and new picket fence and gate. The latter was required as a health and safety condition of being sited on school grounds.
Finished scrape holding water
Groundwork have undertaken further work with students from the Kingsmead School (Pupil Referral Unit) and St Benedicts Princes Trust group. BTCV staff supplemented this work on 10th March, all aimed at further bank erosion and improved biodiversity habitats.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have completed all of the amphibian, invertebrate and plant surveys for 2010, and the first formal issues of resulting Management Reports began in the last period. Further reports for Sinfin Golf Course, Chaddesden Sidings and Da Vinci College were made in
this period, and these have been forwarded to the relevant DCPWA Pond Warden and Chairman of the local Friends Group (where applicable).
The report for Sinfin Golf Course reflected a good Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score) of 72%; a massive 44% improvement on its score for 2004/5. The major contributor to the PSYM increase was the increase in the range of aquatic invertebrates associated with the pond, particularly the number of damselflies and water beetles, which in part can be attributed to the unmanaged grassland on the northern bank.
The report for Chaddesden Sidings (aka Derby Junction), which is a private site owned by Network Rail and managed by Lafarge, showed that one of the three ponds (Pond 2) had been infilled, whilst another (Pond 3) had been significantly reduced in size. In the 2004/5 surveys, Ponds 1 and 3 had been identified as being two of the highest quality ponds in Derby City with both attaining a PSYM score of 83%, placing them as two of only three ponds in Derby City to fall in the "good" condition category. However, the 2010 surveys showed a serious decline in PSYM scores for Ponds 1 and 3 to 56% and 61% respectively, with the loss of stonewort in Pond 3 most noticeable. The site has no Pond Warden, primarily due to it being private. Given the serious decline, the report recommended a dialogue with the land owner be opened to discuss the biodiversity concerns. This took place on 4th March and the WAP Management Report recommendations will now provide an input to the Land Strategy for the site.
The report for the two ponds at Da Vinci College reflects that the PSYM scores have not improved since the 2004/5 surveys, with both being classified as being in poor condition. Management recommendations include the removal of Branched Bur-reed and Bulrush at the East Pond, whilst the West Pond would benefit from the removal of some emergent vegetation (Branched Bur-reed, Yellow Iris and Typha), taking care to avoid the areas containing Common Water-crowfoot.
Similar reports for the ponds at Chellaston Brickworks, Allestree Park, Education (Alvaston), Porters Lane (Oakwood), West Park Meadow (Spondon) and Chaddesden Park are nearing completion. An interesting footnote from DWT was that the average PSYM score in Derby City is higher than a recent Peak District pond survey, which returned a highest PSYM score of 67%.
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson, of DCPWA, met with Diana Smith, of Derby College, on a wet and windy 5th January 2011, to survey the two ponds earmarked for restoration by a group of overseas college students. The work included carrying out a risk assessment and sizing the two new liners required. A project plan was subsequently issued by DCPWA and agreed by all parties. Broomfield Hall funded the liners and sand, BTCV loaned us most of the tools and DCPWA led the work, whilst Derby College provided the labour.
On the 15th February 2011, a group of 19 Derby College students from the Lexis programme took part in an action day to restore two ponds at the Broomfield College campus. The students had been studying the effects on biodiversity of habitat loss as part of their Environmental Awareness course at college and also the work of local action groups and had chosen Derby City Pond Warden Association as a group they would really like to support. The students are all aged 16-19 years old and study English as a second language. As a class, they represent eight
different nationalities - seven being Polish, six from Pakistan and India, two Latvians and the others from China, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Mongolia. They were supported on the day by two lecturers, Diana Smith and Rowan Tidbury. Six members of DCPWA (Anne Morgan, Pat Sear, Helen Wright, Nigel Barker, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson) led the work day.
Wildlife Garden Pond requiring New Liner
Wildlife Garden Pond with New Liner
All the students participated enthusiastically on the action day and had a fantastic sense of achievement once the work was completed. They had also organised a sponsored spell prior to the day to fundraise for DCPWA and were successful and proud to donate £120 to the cause. They are now all looking forward to returning to the sites later in the year to see the development of the ponds as they establish. Mention should also be made of Jeremy Carter at Broomfield Hall, who kindly agreed to the work taking place in the first instance, and funded the liners and sand materials purchased by DCPWA from a local builders merchant.
Woodland Pond requiring New Liner
Woodland Pond with New Liner
DCPWA and Friends of Sinfin Moor pooled resources to help clear areas of typha and glyceria from the main pond on the site, as part of the Pond Management Plan recommendations. Work was led by our local Pond Warden (Nigel Barker) who prior to work being undertaken, cleared the planned work schedule with Trevor Taylor of DWT. DCPWA provided manpower in the form of Nigel Barker, Pat Sear and Philip Ollerenshaw, DWT in the form of Trevor, whilst the Friends of Sinfin Moor provided valuable barrowing resources and drinks.
Before clearance work started
When work was done.
Wild Derby were successful in securing funds from Biffaward last year to dig a number of ponds at Sinfin Moor and Woodlands School, as part of the Million Ponds Project (MPP). Work has now been completed at both sites. Under management guidance from Chris Monk of Pond Conservation, the final ponds were dug by digger at Sinfin Moor NR on 16th February. A guided walk of the site, including members of the public, Friends of Sinfin Moor NR and DCPWA, witnessed the work in hand and this was followed by a celebratory cutting of the cake by Beverley Rhodes. Derby City has now contributed over 10 ponds to the MPP scheme.
"Dave the Digger" at Sinfin Moor
Work on another pond
Members of Derby City Council Parks department have successfully cleared a blockage with the overflow on the new pond, which now prevents any overflow running onto the adjacent pathway. They also recovered two fence blocks from the new pond! BTCV have also created a new ditch between old and new ponds to prevent a re-occurrence should it get blocked again.
On a very windy morning at the beginning of March, Pat Sear donned the DCPWA waders and, armed with the grappling hook and rake, cleared a mass of tree debris from the bottom corner of Allestree Lake. It is hoped to create a phragmites reed bed in this corner to improve a stagnant corner and create a habitat for amphibians and small freshwater creatures. As a start, Pat planted between 50 and 100 small reeds on 10th March in the hope that they establish.
Debris removed from Allestree Park lake
Phragmites Reed Bed
DCPWA have been prominent in lobbying Derby City Council to retain Wild Derby and its sole officer (Beverley Rhodes), despite general pressures on funding. DCPWA sent an email to all 51 Councillors on 15th January, outlining the Wild Derby achievements and the adverse impact its loss would have on the future of DCPWA and the Wild About Ponds project. A number of Pond Wardens attended a Full Council Meeting on 19th January to support a Liberal Democrat motion to retain the Wild Derby budget. The motion was finally heard after a five hour wait, but our patience was rewarded with the motion being carried by a significant majority from all three mainstream political parties.
Subsequently, the promised meeting with Cllr Homes (Council Cabinet member for Environment and Deputy Leader) took place at Derby University on 1st February, when over 30 volunteer representatives raised their concerns. This was followed by an input to the Budget Consultation process by 4th February. A final decision on its retention was made at the Cabinet Meeting on 2nd March, with the excellent outcome that funding had now been secured for the next two years and, as such, the earlier decision to axe Wild Derby had been reversed.
We all now look forward to a settled couple of years, getting back to our core objectives of making Derby City even greener!
Mike Bardill, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson represented DCPWA at the Dale Road Park project exhibition, held at Spondon Village Hall on 15th January 2011. The event was being held by the Spondon Community Association to promote the ideas for the refurbishment of thepark in general. The DCPWA displays centred on the completed work for the new pond on the park.
Derek Golson has been successful in obtaining a Natural England licence to survey and monitor Great Crested Newts for the year commencing 17th January 2011.
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson were interviewed by Andy Potter of Radio Derby on 18th January 2011, as part of a DCPWA feature on ponds. The interview was held around Porters Lane pond and can be found on the BBC iPlayer, for a limited time period only, at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00d0phj.
The theme of this year's (and the last of three) OPAL funding application was "Sharing your Skills". Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson, kindly assisted by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers and Trevor Taylor, submitted their application at the end of January. Their proposal was based on running public education courses on ponds and their habitats at three age levels, and on 18th March 2011 they received the fantastic news that they had been granted the full amount of £2,330. Further information to follow in the next newsletter.
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson represented DCPWA at the Wellies & Waterproofs event held at Broomfield Hall on 20th March 2011. Whilst public visitor numbers were relatively low, there was still some interest and an opportunity to network with other exhibitors.
Amy James has become our latest Pond Warden, following a visit to our stand at the Volunteering Fair held at the University of Derby in November 2010. Amy has elected to support Anne Morgan in her role of looking after Markeaton Lake. Welcome aboard, Amy! On a similar theme, Kelvin Lawrence is now supporting Nigel Barker with the Sinfin Moor ponds, given that the number of ponds on the site has now run into double figures!
Notice any changes to the quality of this Newsletter from previous issues? If you do, please get in touch with us. We have had to change printers, as the one employed for last year attempted to increase our prices by over 30%! Our budget was unable to accommodate that, so Glenwood Printing was approached and are now producing them for this year; back at the original budget level.
Contact Derek Golson (DCPWA Chairman) or Maggie Cooper (DCPWA Secretary) on 01332- 830657, or by email at d c p w a @ aol.com, if you want further details on adopting a pond. Our programme for 2011 has now been agreed, which includes our quarterly meeting for Pond Wardens, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining DCPWA. A new and permanent venue for our meetings is being sought, following the closure of our usual Derby City Council facilities for refurbishment, and details will be posted on our web site when agreed. Meetings will, however, continue to commence at 19:00 hours. It would be great to hear from you or see you there. Further details can be found on the DCPWA web site, which is located at www.dcpwa.org.uk.