Since our Summer 2010 publication, the DCPWA group has been undertaking more implementation tasks within its three-year Wild About Ponds project. These have included a Groundwork-hosted ponds awareness day at Da Vinci College, BTCV and Groundwork restoration days at the Alvaston Education Pond, work to site a new wildlife pond at Alvaston Park, and further pond survey and pond management plan reporting by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Finally, the project was subject to an article in the local Derby Telegraph paper.
DCPWA has continued to undertake its core activities in parallel with the WAP project. These have included public pond-dipping days at Allestree Park and West Park Meadow LNR, representation at the launch of the Mickleover Meadows LNR, the Alvaston Park Families Day and Oakwood Gala, helping host the Big Day Out activities at Sunnydale Park and removal of submerged plants at West Park Meadow in Spondon.
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 on the DCPWA web site (www.dcpwa.org.uk).
Sam Maw, from Groundwork Derby & Derbyshire, reports on a ponds awareness day held at Da Vinci College, which involved the local school between the hours of 09:10 and 15:00, to be followed by members of the public from 15:30 to 17:30.
Students helping to clear one of the ponds
Students studying a reserve map
The Da Vinci Newt Pond Reserve is an oasis of calm in the centre of the estate that joins Chaddesden to Oakwood. In years past, the two ponds that remain on the site were just two of many in a large wet meadow that extended over the whole of what is now the Oakwood estate. Managing the Newt Pond reserve is a complex job as it involves the management of not just the ponds themselves, but all the associated mosaic of different habitats. The students helped to remove saplings of willow and sycamore from the ponds edges and coppiced the larger willows to increase light to the ponds. Some students enjoyed getting muddy removing reedmace from the pond dipping area and others dug deep to remove the roots of blackthorn and hawthorn that are poised ready to take over the meadow. The first morning group of students were treated to the spectacle of 40 or more psychedelic Burnet Moths taking their inaugural flights from their chrysalis - wow!
The awareness day involved 46 students, six teachers, six members of the public who live in houses adjacent to the college, and finally our two local Pond Wardens; Vanessa Amaral- Rogers and Allison Martin. Vanessa and Allison have agreed to be further involved with the college in the new school year, to run an after school Wild About Ponds Club - watch this space!!
The local city paper, the Derby Telegraph, featured an article on the WAP Project on 27th July 2010. Entitled "Vanishing ponds are to make comeback in city", the quarter-page article provided some background to the project and why ponds are important, mentioned all the agencies involved in its delivery, work that had already been completed and where the five new ponds were planned. A picture of the one of the two new ponds created at Elm Wood LNR was also included. The article can be found at www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Vanishing-ponds-make-comeback-city/article-2458171-detail/article.html for a limited period.
The Education Pond, sited along Green Lane in Alvaston, has been on the list of DCPWA ponds since its inception in 2006, but finding its land owner has been difficult to say the least. The pond was created some years ago, as part of a number of balancing ponds when the new Alvaston bypass was created. Investigations by Derek Golson identified the Highways Agency as being responsible for the ongoing maintenance of five ponds around the bypass, and the Environmental Manager of AOne+ has agreed to be our Pond Warden for these.
However, nobody accepted the same responsibility for the Education Pond; so called because it was built with a wooden dipping platform for "education" purposes. Email perseverance with the Highways Agency finally led us to Andy Pillow of Smiths Gore, who are a rural property real estate adviser headquartered in Peterborough. An on-site meeting of all agencies involved on 11th June finally agreed the ongoing responsibilities, with DCPWA taking on the pond and Smiths Gore the rest of the site. It also scoped the work to be undertaken under the WAP project.
Work was undertaken on 11/12th August, and involved clearing dense vegetation in two parts of the pond to promote spaces of open water; one immediately in front of the dipping platform (by Groundwork and the public) and the other at the northern end (by BTCV and its volunteers). Frogs and a water scorpion were found on the first day. The spoil was left for a week before it was moved to an existing bund area on 19th August. Work later in the year will involve BTCV re- siting some tree saplings deemed too close to the western edge of the pond.
I am pleased to report that recent rain has now filled both areas, and they are holding water.
Groundwork-led Public Team
BTCV-led Volunteers Team
A significant amount of planning work has been required to identify a suitable location for the new pond at Alvaston Park, as the original proposal was found to involve local mains services. Groundwork are in the process of finalising an agreement with the local junior school (Lakeside Primary) to site the pond within their grounds. Groundwork are also encouraging the school to create a nature trail. The proposed pond will be 10m by 8m, and 1.2 metres deep at the deepest point.
Groundwork and DCPWA will also continue to explore another site for a "wildlife pond" accessible to the public from Alvaston Park. Whilst the plan for this site has slipped, we are still hopeful that work will be completed this year.
Planning for this site has finally resolved ownership issues between Miller Homes and Derby City Council. A feasibility assessment on the use of a mechanical digger to remove the invasive grasses has also been completed. This has permitted work to be scheduled in the next period. As the site is in the middle of a modern housing development, Groundwork will be circulating flyers to local residents to advise them on why and when we will be doing the work. DCPWA have also recruited a new Pond Warden for the site to assist Groundwork in this activity, who will also ensure that the rare Pink Water Speedwell is protected during the work.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have now completed all of the amphibian, invertebrate and plant surveys for this year. Management Reports are now in preparation for the ponds at Chellaston Brickworks, Allestree Park, Da Vinci College, Education (Alvaston), Porters Lane (Oakwood), Radbourne Gate (Mickleover), Sinfin Golf, Sinfin Moor, West Park Meadow (Spondon), Chaddesden Park and Chaddesden Sidings.
Clark Field, our pond warden for West Park Meadow, provided the following report. The event was organised by the cubs in Spondon, who were covering work for their nature badges. The group of 30 cubs and helpers were split into two groups to look at trees and shrubs and ponds. Each group did both. Whilst pond dipping we covered the OPAL survey requirements as well as general observations of life around, on and in the pond. Many of the cubs saw for the first time newt nymphs, young frogs and tadpoles, leeches, snails, water boatmen, small fish, etc. An enjoyable evening for all and a good learning event.
Cubs eyeing their catch
Pond dipping at West Park Meadow, Spondon
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson resourced the DCPWA gazebo for the day. In addition to the usual DCPWA literature, there were pond-dipping catches from the lake on display and the outline plans for the new wildlife pond to be dug as part of the Wild About Ponds project. Despite the lake being full of fish, dips realised mayfly nymph, freshwater shrimp, water boatmen, water hoglice, red worm and leech.
Claire Spencer and Alastair Christie, our pond wardens for the Derwent Valley Angling Club ponds, undertook another of their periodic visits on 23rd June and the following is an extract from their report.
The South Pond yielded large numbers of damselflies, mainly common blues, some of which were mating on the wing. There were also banded agrions. There were also quite a few dragonflies around, notably spotted libellulas and brown aeshnas. Water plants seen were the fringed water lily, the white and yellow water lily, as well as the marsh yellow grass and marsh bedstraw. The pH reading was 6.0 and all 12 OPAL rings could be seen, implying clear water.
Water Lillies (South Pond)
Marsh Bedstraw (South Pond)
The North Pond was selected for the OPAL pond survey, and Lesser and Greater water boatmen, cased caddisfly larva, dragonfly larva, alderfly larva, mayfly larva, various water beetles, freshwater shrimps, pond snail, ramshorn snail, water slaters, daphnia and Cyclops were identified. The pH reading was 5.0 and, again, all 12 OPAL rings could be seen. Whilst some algae was still present, levels were down on last year. The OPAL score was 48, implying a "very healthy" pond.
Vince Gunn, Philip Ollerenshaw, Maggie Cooper, Derek Golson and Pat Sear (our local PW) represented DCPWA at the official opening of the tenth city LNR. A guided tour of the site took in the three ponds, including the new one dug only last year as part of the Wild Week on Ponds programme.
DWT talk at the "new" pond
FoMM talk at the "old" pond
Derek Golson shared the DCPWA gazebo with David Winslow (Friends of Chaddesden Wood) at this revived event. A lot of public interest was shown in both groups' activities, and a long list of new helpers for future task days in the wood was created.
DCPWA provided the volunteer resources (Pat Sear, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson) for this popular children's summer holiday event. Led by Groundwork, DCPWA helped children and parents with activities, which included parachute games, mini-beast hunts and, of course, pond- dipping. Whilst numbers were down on last year, the spare time was taken to clear the pond of rubbish.
Vince Gunn, Philip Ollerenshaw, Maggie Cooper, Derek Golson, Pat Sear, Vanessa Amaral- Rogers, Allison Martin, Mike Bardill, Claire Spencer and Sue Wesson provided the Pond Warden expertise during a public pond-dipping event at the West Park Meadow LNR pond in Spondon on a warm and sunny Sunday.
Whilst public numbers attending were slightly disappointing (at under 25), the young children enjoyed catching water scorpion, tadpoles, smooth newts, lesser and greater water boatmen, leech, pond and ramshorn snails, water beetle, red worm, pea mussel, mayfly lavae and some stickleback fish. Brown Hawker and Common Darters were flying over the pond.
Whilst the public numbers were low, DCPWA formed an escape party to rescue common frogs (x9), a toad and a smooth newt from the pond overflow chamber, after which modifications were effected to avoid any repeat.
Clarke Field, Mike Bardill, Philip Ollerenshaw, Maggie Cooper, Derek Golson, Pat Sear, Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Nigel Barker (and partner Sue), George Daly and new Pond Warden recruit, Kelvin Lawrence, formed a substantial DCPWA presence to clear over 30% of the rigid hornwort and broad-leafed pondweed in the pond. DCPWA led the day and were helped in no uncertain fashion by a similar numbers of helpers from the Spondon Community Association (SCA).
Before - Surface weed in abundance at far end
During - What a hive of activity!
DCPWA provided the specialised drag and hand rakes for the day, whilst SCA provided a boat (from the Park Rangers) to get to the material the waders could not. In addition to the pond plants, a supermarket trolley, a bicycle and a car bumper were also recovered!
After - Bank of removed vegetation
After - Good areas of clear water
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson have given a presentation on the function of DCPWA to a general meeting of the Friends of Littleover Parks. The group encapsulates the Sunnydale Park and Heatherton ponds in its geography, for which we had passive Pond Wardens for both sites. Good feedback was received and DCPWA were lucky enough to recruit new Pond Wardens for both ponds.
Maggie's next door neighbour found the following trapped on the inside on her patio doors! Our DWT consultant identified it as a immature male Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). The same neighbour had taken a good close-up image of a female on her patio the year before.
Southern Hawker (Immature Male)
Southern Hawker (Female)
DCPWA have used some of its valuable funds to purchase three lightweight pond nets. These were identified as being required following the problems some of the smaller children were
experiencing during our public pond-dipping events, where our existing pond nets were proving too heavy and unwieldy for them. George Daly, our Pond Warden for Chaddesden Park, has put his welding expertise to good work in creating another two grappling hooks and cable for us. These have already been put to good use in the clearance work on West Park Meadow. A full list of the tools available can be found on our web site under the Ponds List.
New Pond Wardens have been recruited for Radbourne Gate (Kelvin Lawrence), Sunnydale Park (Mandy Packham) and Heatherton (John Griffin). This helps fill some critical gaps for the forthcoming WAP schedule for both Radbourne Gate and Sunnydale Park. Welcome aboard!
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 2010 has been agreed, which includes our quarterly meeting for Pond Wardens, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining the DCPWA. All meetings will be held in the Council Offices along Corporation Street, Derby and 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.