Wildlife Trust Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill, Bridge Foot, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 1XH
Tel: 01773 881188 Fax: 01773 821826
E-mail: enquiries@derbyshirewt.co.uk

Sunnydale Park Pond

Sunnydale Park Pond



Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
East Mill
Bridgefoot
Belper
Derbyshire
DE56 1XH
A report for the Wild About Ponds Project
Prepared by Trevor Taylor
Local Wildlife Sites Officer (Planning)
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

August 2012

Protecting Wildlife for the future

Regisered charity no. 222212
DWT is a company registered in England and Wales
with the Company Number 715675

Sunnydale Park Pond

Background

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust was commissioned to survey the pond as part of the Wild About Ponds Project and provide management recommendations based upon the findings of the survey. It would also enable a comparison of results against survey data obtained as part of the 2004/5 Derby City Pond Survey and to inform the production of the Sunnydale Park LNR Management Plan 2010-2015 produced by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Map 1 shows the location of the pond which is situated within Sunnydale Park LNR, a designed urban park covering an area of approximately 13.2 ha of important open green space within the residential areas of Littleover and Normaton to the south-west of Derby City.

The entire park was designated as a Local Wildlife Site (DE034) in 1990 under the Habitat Mosaic selection guideline Mh1 and later declared as a Local Nature Reserve in April 2005.

The pond is located along the line of the Cuttle Brook and was created as part of the City's flood alleviation scheme. It now forms an integral ecological and visual component of the site with access available to the entire perimeter of the pond.

The site is under the ownership of Derby City Council and the City Council Parks Department is responsible for site management. It also falls within the area covered by The Friends of Littleover Parks, a group actively involved in protecting and improving the parks of Littleover.

In recent years, surveys and pond dipping events had identified a noticeable decline in the invertebrate activity and general ecological quality of the pond, largely as a result of heavy silt deposition due its on-line nature. As a consequence, the site was identified to be the subject of a comprehensive de-silting exercise as a major part of the Wild About Ponds Project which was successfully undertaken in early February 2012. The current survey would establish a baseline for the ecological quality of the pond following the completion of the de-silting.

Following a successful funding bid by the Friends of Littleover Parks, a new dipping platform is planned to be installed on the bank of the pond near to the Cuttle Brook inflow in early 2013 to replace the previous wooden platform, which over the years had fallen into a noticeable state of disrepair and was removed to facilitate the dredging operation.

Survey objectives

The aim of the survey was to gather ecological information using the PSYM methodology in order to determine the current overall ecological quality of the pond.

Methodology

The survey followed the standard survey methodology known as PSYM developed by Pond Action (now Pond Conservation) and the Environment Agency. PSYM, the Predictive System for Multimetrics, (pronounced sim) was developed to provide a standard method for assessing the biological qualities of still waters in England and Wales.

The method uses a number of aquatic plant and invertebrate measures (known as metrics) which are combined together and fed into a computer model, along with basic environmental and location data, to obtain a single value which represents the waterbody's overall quality status.

The recommended time of year for carrying out PSYM pond surveys is during June, July and August. The pond was surveyed during June and August 2012.

The following information was gathered for the pond:

Calculating the pond metrics

The data collected from the surveys are used to calculate three plant metrics and three invertebrate metrics.

1. Number of submerged and emergent plant species

This is simply the number of submerged plant species plus the number of emergent plant species. The calculation does not include the number of floating-leaved species present. This is because the pond data suggest that the number of floating-leaved plants occurring at a site does not decline significantly with increasing degradation. The metric is therefore improved by omitting this plant group.

2. Trophic Ranking Score (TRS)

TRS is a measure of the average trophic rank for the pond. This is calculated by assigning each plant species with a trophic score based on its affinity to waters of a particular nutrient status. The trophic scores vary between 2.5 (dystrophic, i.e. very nutrient poor conditions) and eutrophic, i.e. nutrient rich conditions).

Unfortunately, not all plants have trophic scores. This situation has arisen because the current TRS values for standing waters (Palmer et al., 1992) are based only on analysis of lake data, and many plant species which are common in ponds occurred at too low a frequency in lakes to give them a score. Also, some plant species exhibit little nutrient preference.

The TRS value for a site is calculated as follows:

  1. The trophic scores from each plant species present at the site are summed together.
  2. summed score is divided by the total number of plant species which have a trophic ranking score to give the TRS.
3. Uncommon Species Index

Uncommon species are those which have a rarity score of 2 or more. The number of these species is simply summed to give the number of uncommon species.

Uncommon species refers to species which can be best described as "local", "nationally scarce" or "Red Data Book". The rarity status values for Scarce and Red Data Book species are based on existing definitions derived from the Red data Books and other authorities. The definition of "local" has been used to define species which are not uniformly common and widespread in Britain: with plants this refers specifically to species recorded from between 100 and 700 10 x 10 km squares in England, Wales and Scotland.

4. Average Score per Taxon (ASPT)

The ASPT is calculated by summing the BMWP scores for all taxa present at the site and dividing by the total number of BMWP taxa present.

BMWP (Biological Monitoring Working Party) scores are assigned to taxa depending on their known tolerance to organic pollution, a higher score indicating lower tolerance. The scores were defined by Maitland in 1977.

5. Number of dragonfly and alderfly families.

This metric is the sum of the number of dragonfly (Odonata) and alderfly (Megaloptera) families.

6. Number of beetle families

This metric is the sum of the number of beetle (Coleoptera) families present at the site. The metric has a relationship with bank quality as well as water quality.

Results

The pond was surveyed using the PSYM methodology enabling an assessment of its biological quality to be made together with a comparison with other ponds in the area.

The PSYM scores are placed in four categories which reflect the ecological quality of the pond:

0-25% is very poor, 26-50% is poor, 51-75% is fair, and 76-100% is good

Site and sample details

Grid reference: SK 33864 33365

Site Name: Sunnydale Park Pond

Location: Normanton/Littleover, Derby

Owner/site access details: Derby City Council

Survey Date: 3rd August 2012Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)
Roger Miller

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)66m aslpH:8.30
Shade: % pond overhung:8%% emergent plant cover3%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):1Pond area (m2)1627m2
% of pond margin grazed:0

Pond base: categories into one of three groups; 1=0%-32%, 2=33%-66%, 3=67%-100%

Clay/silt:3Sand, gravel, cobbles:1Bed rock:1
Peat1Other1

Emergent plantsRarity ScoreTrophic Ranking Score
 
Acorus calamus, Sweet-flag1-
Apium nodiflorum, Fool's-watercress110
Caltha palustris, Marsh-marigold17
Carex acutiformis, Lesser Pond-sedge110
Epilobium hirsutum, Great Willowherb1-
Galium palustre, Marsh Bedstraw1-
Glyceria maxima, Reed Sweet-grass110
Hypericum tetrapterum, Square-stalked St John's-wort1-
Impatiens glandulifera, Indian Balsam1-
Iris psuedoacorus, Yellow Iris1-
Juncus inflexus, Hard Rush1-
Lotus pedunculatus, Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil1-
Mentha aquatica, Water Mint17.3
Myosotis scorpioides, Water forget-me-not19
Ranunculus sceleratus, Celery-leaved Buttercup110
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Water-cress110
Sparganium erectum, Branched Bur-reed18.5
Typha latifolia, Bulrush18.5
Veronica beccabunga, Brooklime110
Submerged plantsRarity ScoreTrophic Ranking Score
 
Callitriche platycarpa, Various-leaved Water-starwort2-

Number of emergent and submerged species - 20
Number of uncommon species (with a rarity score of 2 or more) - 1

Trophic Ranking Score - 9.12


Macroinvertebrates

Group 4 taxa (BMWP: 6)
Coenagriidae - Damselfly

Group 5 taxa (BMWP: 5)
Gerridae Water bug (water skater)
CorixidaeWater bug
Haliplidae Water beetle (crawling)

Group 7 taxa (BMWP: 3)
Lymnaeiidae - Snail
Physidae Snail
Planorbidae Ramshorn snail
Sphaeridae Pea mussel

Group 8 taxa (BMWP: 2)
Chironomidae Fly (non-biting midge)

Total No. Of taxa9
Total BMWP Score35
ASPT3.9
No. OM taxa1
No. Coleopt taxa1

Index of Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score %) = 50. As such the pond would be considered to be in poor ecological condition. This represents the same ecological condition when compared with the survey results obtained in 2009.

It has to be acknowledged that the recent survey was undertaken in a relatively short space of time following the completion of the dredging works and, as such, no significant improvement in the ecological condition of the pond should be expected. On the contrary, the maintenance of a stable, albeit poor, condition should be regarded as a positive and encouraging outcome.

A conductivity test to measure the total quantity of chemicals dissolved in the water returned a reading of 750µS/cm. This figure indicates that the pond is suffering from some degree of contamination. Where conductivity is 500-1000 + µS/cm this is usually a sign of some kind of pollution and a perfectly clean water pond would have a figure of 100µS/cm or less. It does however represent a slight improvement in water quality since 2010 when a reading of 880µS/cm was returned.

Survey Results

As a background to the current survey results, a survey carried out in 2005 as part of the Derby City Pond Survey identified the pond to be in fair condition with a PSYM score of 72%. During the 2005 survey, the presence of the highly invasive non-native aquatic plant species Floating Pennywort Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, was noted in the pond. The plant was subject to several removal attempts by physical means before resorting to the application of herbicide in 2007. Whilst the herbicide application successfully eradicated the Floating Pennywort it also had significant impacts upon the other aquatic plant species present at the site and was likely to be responsible for the loss of the uncommon Water Dock from the site. During this period, it was clear that the significant amount of silt accumulation was also having a negative impact upon the invertebrate activity associated with the pond with pond dipping events recording very low numbers of invertebrates. A survey of the pond carried out in 2010 to inform the production of the Sunnydale Park LNR Management Plan 2010-2015 returned a PSYM score of 50%, confirming that the quality of the pond had declined over recent years and was now considered to be in "poor" ecological condition, largely as a result of the combination of increased silt levels and the decline in aquatic plant diversity following herbicide application.

During the 2005 survey, three uncommon plant species were recorded including Water Dock, Rumex hydropalathum, Rigid Hornwort, Ceratophyllum demersum, and Common Water-crowfoot, Ranunculus aquatilis. Unfortunately, none of these species were recorded during the 2010 and 2012 surveys and it is likely that they were lost from the site as a result of the combination of herbicide application and increased silt deposition.

In 2010, a conductivity reading of the water returned a figure of 880µS/cm indicating that the pond was suffering from a certain amount of contamination. It is anticipated that the contamination is the result of pollutants present in the silt entering the pond by way of the Cuttle Brook flowing through urban areas before entering the Park.

Sunnydale Park

In early February 2012, the pond was "drained down" to facilitate silt removal which was successfully completed by mid-February. During the operation it was not considered impractical to selectively retain small areas of emergent marginal vegetation but it was anticipated that new growth would occur from the remnants of the rootstocks which would inevitably remain in the soil. In addition, the re-planting of some removed marginal vegetation was carried out by TCV during April 2012.

Sunnydale Park

A re-survey of the pond carried out in 2012, following the completion of de-silting works, identified the continued frequent presence of Sweet-flag, Acorus calamus, Branched Bur-reed, Sparagnium erectum, Yellow Iris, Iris pseudoacorus, Great Willowherb, Epilobiumhirsutum, and Lesser Pond-sedge, Carex acutiformis, along with occasional Water forget-me-not, Myosotis aquatica, Water-cress, Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Water Mint, Mentha aquatica, and Square-stalked St John's-wort, Hypericum tetrapterum while Marsh-marigold, Caltha palustris, Celery-leaved Buttercup, Ranunculus scleratus, and the Derbyshire Red Data Book plant, Various-leaved Water-starwort,Callitriche platycarpa, were recorded in limited quantity.

Theinvasive non-native Indian Balsam, Impatiens glandulifera, was recorded from several places around the perimeter. Indian Balsam is included in Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act which makes it an offence under Section 14 to "plant or cause it to grow in the wild".

It was noted that re-growth of Branched Bur-reed had occurred in the centre of the pond following the dredging operation, possibly as a result of disturbance of the seed bank in the pond base or the distribution of root fragments during dredging. The re-growth was removed by hand with the use of a boat during autumn/winter 2012 before significant growth was allowed to establish.

The pond regularly attracts a number of Mallard and a resident pair of Moorhen successfully raise at least one brood each year.

Historic records indicate that Smooth Newt and Common Toad were introduced to the pond in the late 1980's as part of a translocation exercise from the Raleigh Depot tank in Sinfin. Apart from a single Smooth Newt larva recorded in 2005, there have been no recent records for this species from the site.

A torchlight survey on 23rd April 2013 recorded three adult Common Toads calling from the margins of the pond. Frogspawn was also recorded from both the main pond and a newly created shallow pond on the west side of the Cuttle Brook during 2013.

The pond supports a thriving population of Three-spined Stickleback.

Overall, the pond has maintained a stable condition over recent years and following the completion of the de-silting operation, although it is recognised that the condition has declined since 2004.

The pond should recover and improve in condition over the next few years. The undertaking of regular PSYM surveys will form a useful tool in monitoring the effects of the dredging work.

Management recommendations

It is unlikely that any major management of the emergent vegetation will be required over the next 3 to 5 year period, with the exception of the Indian Balsam control.







Additional background information


Sunnydale Park

2009

Site and sample details

Site Name: Sunnydale Park Pond

Grid reference: SK 33864 33365

Survey Date: 13th August 2009

Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)57m aslpH:7.92
Shade: % pond overhung:5%% emergent plant cover5%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):1Pond area (m2)1627m2
% of pond margin grazed:0

Pond base: categories into one of three groups; 1=0%-32%, 2=33%-66%, 3=67%-100%

Clay/silt:3Sand, gravel, cobbles:1Bed rock:1
Peat1Other1

Emergent plants Rarity Score Trophic Ranking Score
 
Acorus calamus, Sweet-flag1-
Alisma plantago-aquatica, Water-plantain19
Apium nodiflorum, Fool's-watercress110
Caltha palustris, Marsh-marigold17
Carex acutiformis, Lesser Pond-sedge110
Epilobium hirsutum, Great Willowherb1-
Glyceria maxima, Reed Sweet-grass110
Hypericum tetrapterum, Square-stalked St John's-wort1-
Impatiens glandulifera, Indian Balsam1-
Iris psuedoacorus, Yellow Iris1-
Juncus articulatus, Jointed Rush1-
Juncus effusus, Soft Rush1-
Juncus inflexus, Hard Rush1-
Lythrum salicaria, Purple-loosetstrife1-
Mentha aquatica, Water Mint17.3
Mimulus guttatus, Monkey flower1-
Myosotis scorpioides, Water forget-me-not19
Ranunculus sceleratus, Celery-leaved Buttercup110
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Water-cress110
Sparganium erectum, Branched Bur-reed18.5
Solanum dulcamara, Bittersweet110
Typha latifo;ia, Bulrush18.5
Veronica beccabunga, Brooklime110
 
Floating-leaved plants
 
Lemna minor, Common Duckweed19
 
Submerged plants
 
Callitriche platycarpa, Various-leaved Water-starwort2-

Number of emergent and submerged species - 24
Number of uncommon species (with a rarity score of 2 or more) - 1

Trophic Ranking Score - 9.16


Macroinvertebrates

Group 4 taxa (BMWP: 6)
Coenagriidae - Damselfly

Group 5 taxa (BMWP: 5)
Pleidae Water bug
Corixidae Water bug

Group 6 taxa (BMWP: 4)
Baetidae Mayfly

Group 7 taxa (BMWP: 3)
Hydrobiidae - Snail
Physidae Snail
Planorbidae Ramshorn snail

Group 8 taxa (BMWP: 2)
Chironomidae Fly (non-biting midge)

Total No. Of taxa8
Total BMWP Score31
ASPT3.9
No. OM taxa1
No. Coleopt taxa0

Index of Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score %) = 50. As such the pond would now be considered to be in poor ecological condition.


Sunnydale Park

2005

Site and sample details

Site Name: Sunnydale Park Pond

Grid reference: SK 33864 33365

Survey Date: 16th August 2005

Surveyors: Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)

Environmental Data

Altitude: (m)57m aslpH:8.52
Shade: % pond overhung:1%% emergent plant cover15%
Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):1Pond area (m2)1627m2
% of pond margin grazed:0

Pond base: categories into one of three groups; 1=0%-32%, 2=33%-66%, 3=67%-100%

Clay/silt:3Sand, gravel, cobbles:1Bed rock:1
Peat1Other1

Emergent plants Rarity Score Trophic Ranking Score
 
Acorus calamus, Sweet-flag1-
Caltha palustris, Marsh-marigold17
Carex acutiformis, Lesser Pond-sedge110
Epilobium hirsutum, Great Willowherb1-
Hypericum tetrapterum, Square-stalked St John's wort1-
Impatiens glandulifera, Indian Balsam1-
Iris psuedoacorus, Yellow Iris1-
Juncus articulatus, Jointed Rush1-
Juncus effusus, Soft Rush1-
Juncus inflexus, Hard Rush1-
Lythrum salicaria, Purple-loosetstrife/td>1-
Mentha aquatica, Water Mint17.3
Mimulus guttatus, Monkeyflower1-
Myosotis scorpioides, Water forget-me-not19
Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, Water-cress110
Rumex hydrolapathum, Water Dock210
Solanum dulcamara, Bittersweet110
Sparganium erectum, Branched Bur-reed18.5
Typha latifolia, Bulrush18.5
Veronica beccabunga, Brooklime110
Floating-leaved plantsRarity Score Trophic Ranking Score
 
Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, Floating Pennywort1-
Lemna minor, Common Duckweed19
 
Submerged plants
 
Ceratophyllum demersum, Rigid Hornwort210
Ranunculus aquatilis, Common Water-crowfoot210

Number of emergent and submerged species - 22
Number of uncommon species (with a rarity score of 2 or more) - 3

Trophic Ranking Score - 9.18


Macroinvertebrates

Group 4 taxa (BMWP: 6)
Coenagriidae - Damselfly

Group 5 taxa (BMWP: 5)
Gerridae Pond Skater
Notonectidae Greater water boatman backswimmer
Haliplidae Water beetle (Crawling)
Hydrophilidae Water beetle (Scavenger)

Group 6 taxa (BMWP: 4)
Baetidae Mayfly

Group 7 taxa (BMWP: 3)
Planorbidae Ramshorn snail
Asellidae Crustacean Water slater

Group 9 taxa (BMWP: 1)
Oligochaeta True worm

Total No. Of taxa9
Total BMWP Score37
ASPT4.1
No. OM taxa1
No. Coleopt taxa2

Index of Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score %) = 72. As such the pond would be considered to be in fair ecological condition.

Sunnydale Park Map