Protecting Wildlife for the futureRegisered charity no. 222212
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust was commissioned to survey the pond located within West Park Meadow Local Nature Reserve, Spondon, Derby as part of the Wild About Ponds Project in order to provide management recommendations based upon the findings of the survey. It would also enable a comparison of survey results against data obtained as part of the 2004/5 Derby City Pond Survey.
West Park Meadow was designated as a Local Wildlife Site DE045 in 1990 and declared as a Local Nature Reserve on 18th November 1998. The site is marked on the |Derby City Wildlife Alert Map.
The pond is located in the south-east corner of the Local Nature Reserve (See Map 1) and is surrounded by a mixture of habitats including secondary broad-leaved woodland, semi-improved neutral grassland, scrub, including bramble, and a section of tall unmanaged native hedgerow.
The site is under the ownership of Derby City Council and the City Council Parks Department is responsible for site management. A Management Advisory Group, which is part of the Spondon Community Association, is actively involved in the management of the site, including the pond.
Access is available throughout the site by means of a network of formal and informal paths and a well-used public footpath runs along the top of the southern bank of the pond.
The pond is shown on Ordnance Survey First Edition maps dated 1882 and would therefore appear to be of some local historic interest as a medieval fish pond.
Records indicate that the dam wall of the pond was breached in 1988 and drained of water. Investigations in 1994/5 indicated that there was an inflow from a field drain in the NW corner of the pond. In 1995/6 the County Council dredged the pond, reconstructed the dam and re-built the overflow to a brick rubble soakaway.
The pond has enormous potential as an educational resource and is regularly used for pond-dipping events.
Members of Spondon Community Association, sometimes in association with BTCV and Derby City Pond Wardens Association, undertake annual management activities on the pond, including the removal of litter, debris and excess aquatic vegetation.
Above: West Park Meadow Pond - 2010
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.
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 2010 and updated visits have been conducted during June 2011.
The following information was gathered for the pond:
The data collected from the surveys are used to calculate three plant metrics and three invertebrate metrics.
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.
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:
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.
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.
This metric is the sum of the number of dragonfly (Odonata) and alderfly (Megaloptera) 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.
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.
Grid reference: SK 39337 36116
Site Name: West Park Meadow Pond
Location: Spondon, Derby
Owner/site access details: Derby City Council
|Survey Date: 10th June 2010||Surveyors:||Trevor Taylor (Derbyshire Wildlife Trust)|
|Altitude: (m)||74m asl||pH:||10.22|
|Shade: % pond overhung:||5%||% emergent plant cover||15%|
|Inflow (absent = 0, present = 1):||0||Pond area (m2)||1092m2|
|% of pond margin grazed:||0|
Pond base: categories into one of three groups; 1=0%-32%, 2=33%-66%, 3=67%-100%)
|Clay/silt:||3||Sand, gravel, cobbles:||1||Bed rock:||1|
|Emergent plants||Rarity Score||Trophic Ranking Score|
|Alopecurus geniculatus, Marsh Foxtail||1||-|
|Epilobium hirsutum, Great Willowherb||1||-|
|Glyceria maxima, Reed Sweet-grass||1||10|
|Iris pseudoacorus, Yellow Iris||1||-|
|Juncus inflexus, Hard Rush||1||-|
|Myosotis scorpioides, Water Forget-me-not||1||9|
|Ranunculus lingua, Greater Spearwort||2|
|Ranunculus sceleratus, Celery-leaved Buttercup||1||10|
|Solanum dulcamara, Bittersweet||1||10|
|Floating leaved plants|
|Lemna minor, Common Duckweed||1||9|
|Lemna trisulca, Ivy-leaved Duckweed||1||10|
|Nymphaea spp, Waterlily||1|
|Potamogeton natans, Broad-leaved Pondweed||1||-|
|Ceratophyllum demersum, Rigid Hornwort||2||10|
|Elodea nuttallii, Nuttall’s Waterweed||1||10|
|Potamogeton crispus, Curled Pondweed||1||10|
|Ranunculus aquatilis, Common Water-crowfoot||2||10|
Number of emergent and submerged species - 13
Number of uncommon species (with a rarity score of 2 or more) - 3
Trophic Ranking Score - 9.80
|Group 2 taxa (BMWP: 8)|
|Calopterygidae (Demoiselles) Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)|
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
|Group 3 taxa (BMWP: 7)|
|Limnephilidae - Caddis fly (cased)|
|Group 4 taxa (BMWP: 6)|
|Gammaridae - Crustacean (Shrimp)|
|Coenagriidae - Damselfly Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)|
|Group 5 taxa (BMWP: 5)|
|Planariidae - Flatworm|
|Notonectidae - Water bug (Greater Water boatman)|
|Gerridae - Water bug (Water skater)|
|Pleidae - Water bug (Lesser Water boatman)|
|Corixidae - Water bug (Water boatman)|
|Hydrophilidae - Water beetle (scavenger)|
|Group 6 taxa (BMWP: 4)|
|Baetidae - Mayfly|
|Group 7 taxa (BMWP: 3)|
|Planorbidae - Ramshorn Snail|
|Lymnaeidae - Snail|
|Physidae - Snail, Physa acuta|
|Sphaeriidae - Pea Mussel|
|Glossiphonidae - Leech|
|Asellidae - Crustacean (Water slater)|
|Group 9 taxa (BMWP: 1)|
|Oligochaetae - True Worm|
|Total No. of taxa||19|
|Total BMWP Score||88|
|No. of OM taxa||3|
|No. of Coleopt. taxa||1|
Index of Biotic Integrity (PSYM Score %) = 72. As such the pond would be considered to be in fair ecological condition.
This represents a noticeable improvement in the ecological condition of the pond since 2004 when a survey undertaken as part of the Derby City Pond Survey returned a PSYM score of 61%.
A conductivity test to measure the total quantity of chemicals dissolved in the water returned a reading of 200µS/cm. This figure indicates that the pond is reasonably clean and free from pollution. 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.
In addition to providing a prominent habitat feature within the Local Nature Reserve, the pond supports a good range of aquatic plant, macroinvertebrate and amphibian species. A broad band of emergent vegetation comprised largely of Reed Sweet-grass, Glyceria maxima, with occasional Yellow Iris, Iris pseudoacorus, and Water Forget-me-not, Myosotis scorpioides, is prominent around the pond margins particularly on the northern bank. A few plants of the uncommon Greater Spearwort, Ranunculus lingua, are also present. (see right)
Of particular note is the presence of a well-established population of Common Water-crowfoot, Ranunculus aquatilis, in the margin of the western side of the pond and the occurrence of the submerged aquatic plant Rigid Hornwort, Ceratophyllum demersum which is abundant throughout.
Nuttall’s Waterweed, Elodea nuttallii, is another submerged aquatic species which is present in abundance.
Despite observations of the presence of Water Fern and Curly Waterweed in 2009, no evidence of these two invasive non-native species was found during the survey visits carried out in 2010 and 2011. There is the possibility that the previous two consecutive harsh winters have eradicated the plants.
The pond is known to support Common Frog, Smooth Newt and Common Toad with frog tadpoles and smooth newt larvae being regularly caught during pond dipping sessions. The adjacent hedgerow and areas of bramble provide suitable terrestrial foraging and hibernating habitat for amphibians. On a number of occasions, it has been necessary to rescue amphibians which have become trapped in the overflow chamber but measures have recently been put in place to try and minimise the danger.
A pair of moorhen have nested within the band of emergent vegetation along the northern bank for a number of years, successfully raising several broods each year.
The pond is known to support a population of Three-spined Stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus.
A certain amount of litter and debris was noted in the pond including objects such as a football, bicycle, plastic bottles etc together with an accumulation of blanketweed.
The removal of litter and debris is carried out on an annual basis and was combined with the removal of an amount of submerged vegetation during autumn 2010 with help from members of the Derby City Pond Warden Association.