Since our Spring/Summer 2008 publication, the DCPWA group has visited the Chartley Moss NNR, undertaken annual pond surveys at Mickleover Meadows, Porters Lane (Oakwood), Earl of Harrington Fisheries and the Elvaston Park estate, and completed routine maintenance activities on the ponds at Mickleover Meadows, Elvaston Lane, Porters Lane (Oakwood) and Chaddesden Wood. We also provided consultative advice to Derby Grammar School on the development of their education pond. We are now working with the Friends of Allestree Park to overcome problems with bank erosion, and planning for new ponds at Dale Road (Spondon) and Chaddesden Wood. The DCPWA were represented at the Lowland Derbyshire LBAP Forum held in Pleasley on 11th October 2008, the DANES Insect Show at Broomfield College on 8th November 2008 and, finally, at the WildDerby Friends meeting on 24th November 2008. A proforma for a Pond Management Plan, to help support funding applications, has been jointly produced by our Pond Conservation and WildDerby representatives. Our new web site (www.dcpwa.org.uk) is now at an advanced stage of development and we are hopeful it will be live very early in 2009.
Some of the Pond Wardens have been putting the survey training provided earlier in the year into practice. Formally recorded surveys have been completed at Mickleover Meadows and Porters Lane (Oakwood), whilst regular monitoring visits have been made to the Earl of Harrington Fisheries ponds.
The "Pond PSYM Fieldsheet" was used to record evidence of macrolnvertebrate at the Porters Lane pond survey conducted on 30th August 2008. The survey, which entailed 3 minutes on each meso-habitat, yielded Dragonfly Nymph, Freshwater Shrimp, Flatworm, Water Measurer, Water Skater, Lesser Water Boatman, Water Beetle, Pond Snail, Ramshorn Snail, Pea Mussel, Leech and Worm. The amphibians included numerous young Smooth Newts and a young Frog. The Average Score Per Taxon (ASPT) index was 4.33; an 18% improvement on the score of 3.66 recorded back in 2005 when the DCC Pond Survey was undertaken. It has to be assumed that the execution of the pond management plan derived for this pond has contributed to the higher ASPT index. The survey information has now been formally recorded on the Pond Conservation National Pond Inventory database
Removing Fallen Tree Branches
Hibernating Smooth Newts
The DCPWA were also invited to undertake surveys on the ponds within the Elvaston Nature Reserve, as part of their nature recording programme. Whilst just outside the Derby City boundary and not on the DCPWA Pond List, we thought it would provide more surveying experience. The survey was conducted on three man-made ponds bordering onto Greatrix Field, fed by a transitory stream, on 22nd August 2008.
The Mickleover Meadows pond survey was undertaken on 17th September 2008. This pond is completely shaded by surrounding trees, the majority of which are Ash, but there are also Sycamore, Hawthorn and Blackthorn. Plants growing around the edge included arum maculatum ( lords and ladies), geranium robertinium (herb robert) and willow herb. The pond had a partial covering of plant growth, the most prolific species being callitriche vulgaris (water starwort) along with a small amount of duckweed. Sampling the water was based on the two meso-habitats; the clear surface water and that covered with plant growth. Although the first clearwater dip yielded very little, just a few daphnia, a couple of cyclops and a small worm, the wardens were thrilled that our pond was viable. The second area with the starwort and duckweed present was much better, and water slater (or hoglouse), cyclops, lots of daphnia and a small leech were found.
The Elvaston Lane pond, which borders the grounds of Elvaston Castle, has seen a large increase in the number of bull-rushes over the past year. Our newly appointed Pond Warden has taken on the onerous task of slowly removing them, and she does this by regular family visits every week or two. The improvements are now being noticed, albeit there are plenty of the "beasties" still to remove. We are hoping that these improvements increase the probability of the return of a protected species, and we hope to include images in the next Newsletter.
The DCPWA work in close conjunction with the Committee of the Earl of Harrington Fisheries, whose ponds are situated on Haslams Lane (close to the Derby Rugby Club grounds). The North Pond boasted the highest PSYM score of 89% when the DCC Pond Survey was conducted back in 2004/5, primarily based on its flora contents. The flora is particularly spectacular, and an extract of some images from a regular findings report produced by our resident Pond Warden are shown below. This visit in July 2008 identified plenty of dragonflies and damselflies amongst the pond-side reeds, whilst the flora included a suspected
"Spring Squill", more commonly seen in the western parts of England. Pond lilies included a glorious deep pink variety - probably introduced by one of the anglers!
Exotic naturalised Water Lily - South Pond
Silverweed - South Pond
Allestree Lake, which is popular with families, dog walkers and fishermen alike, is currently suffering from a bit from neglect. The Friends of Allestree Park (FOAP) and the Park Rangers are the "eyes and ears" and flag up problems when they arise. Each year, working parties including DCPWA clear debris from the end of the lake and remove invasive Giant Balsam from the edge and surroundings. There are, however, greater concerns. There are several areas of lake-side erosion caused by ducks and geese, pedestrians and fishermen which are unsightly and hazardous. FOAP would like to restore these areas using small timber stake revestments and back filling with rubble to provide a flat safe surface and at the same time planting lakeside edge plants to enhance the appearance and improve the lake ecology. It is hoped to obtain funding and advice for this. These are obviously long term aims dependant on funding and support, and as pond wardens we have an interest in what happens and how it is managed.
The number of Pond Wardens remains steady at 23, who have now been assigned to 42 different ponds. Of the 23 Public Ponds in the City boundary, only Markeaton Lake, Markeaton Wood, Mundy Car Park and Arboretum Park await wardens. So, if anybody is interested in taking responsibility for one of these please contact the Secretary. Even when these ponds are assigned, there are still another 34 Private Ponds awaiting wardens.
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 quarterly Pond Warden meetings for 2009 will be held on 26th March, 18th June, 24th September and 17th December, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining the DCPWA. All meetings will be held in the Council Offices in Corporation Street, Derby and commence at 19:00 hours. It would be great to hear from you or see you there.