Since our Autumn 2013 publication, and as we still have no grant work open, we have continued to record core activities of the DCPWA volunteers.
On a lovely sunny day, Derek Golson (local Pond Warden) and 12 local residents set about their fourth consecutive year clearing the Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and pond, in accordance with a management plan written by DWT. For the first time, there appeared to be as many tasks around the pond as there was in it. After taping off the rare water starwort, branched burr-reed and yellow loosestrife, the tasks included removing glyceria from the pond centre (waders were called for), thinning out the typha, thinning out the fringe glyceria banks, removing the bramble runners, cutting back the willow, removing small laurels and ash trees, and washing down the lifebelt holder and protective metal fence.
Before - Emergent Reeds & Brambles
During the glyceria thinning exercise, those with waders were treated to the sight of a frog on a lily pad (Paul McCartney’s frog song!), whilst three Water Scorpion appeared. The latter had now been found, after going missing during the summer’s formal pond survey.
The clearance work on both ponds situated on Chaddesden Park was undertaken by a TCV team, funded by DCC Parks. Similar work was planned for October of last year, but an early ice covering on the ponds led to its postponement. We were, therefore, grateful for a warmer day this year as the ponds were in need of serious.
Helen Wright and George Daly, resident Pond Wardens, were joined by 10 volunteers from TCV. Typha in both ponds was targeted for removal. About 75% was removed from the Marsh Pond and approximately 60 - 70% from the Main Pond. Care was taken to protect the area of Orange Foxtail in the Main Pond. Other overgrown areas of plants were also removed - namely Greater Spearwort in the Marsh Pond.
The walkway between the two ponds was also redefined and an area of exposed liner covered. Areas of grass at the edge of the pond were also removed where they were beginning to dry out shallow water. The work was completed in about 3 ½ hours and thanks are extended to TCV for their help and DCC Parks for the funding.
This is how the Turtle pond in Allestree Park looks on a lovely sunny day. It is now one of our most popular ponds for 'Pond Dipping', as the water level is fairly constant and there is an abundant supply of interesting pond life. It does, however, get choked with pond weed and other vegetation if left to its own devices, so a regular Autumn clean up is necessary.
Allestree Park Turtle Pond - On a Good Day
Pat Sear (local Pond Warden) planned to do this on 21st October 2013, leaving the removed vegetation on the edge overnight , then clearing it next day with the help of the Park Ranger. These things have to be fixed in advance to get the available helpers and equipment booked. No-one told the weather!
George Daly and Helen Wright (Pond Wardens for Chaddesden Park) had also offered to help, together with Debbie (local Park Ranger) and Stephen Plant (FOAP). The event was also advertised for anyone else to come along.
The day began as a monsoon; they had never seen rain like it. Helen and George were excused from venturing out, but Pat thought she would go down, armed with rakes, in case anyone was mad enough to turn out. There is always one mad person and Steve Plant was that person. Not wishing to look like quitters, we set to. An hour and a half later we had amassed a creditable pile of weed, which was in danger of being washed back in by the continuing torrent. We were absolutely soaked, but amazingly cheerful because we had cracked it.
Poor Debbie had not believed anyone would be mad enough to turn out and was busy doing jobs inside. She was an absolute star the following day when she single-handedly barrowed all the debris to the compost heap to save us going back. Thank you Debbie.
There are no pictures recording this heroic feat, Pat valued her camera too much!!!
The DCPWA Committee had decided to offer the "free" TCV day provided through the DCC Parks Department scheme to clearing both the old and new ponds at Dale Road Park in Spondon. The old pond was showing signs of the re-appearance of two invasive plants in the form of crassula and parrots feather. These had been digger-removed some years ago and, despite valiant attempts by Mike Bardill (our local Pond Warden) to keep it in check, the parrots feather was starting to take hold again. The new pond was beginning to get over-run with typha.
So, a small team from TCV were assigned to undertake the work on a sunny, but very cold day.
New Pond - Typha being Thinned
Old Pond - Parrot’s Feather Removal
Our PINE project had developed a syllabus for after-school pond-related workshops. The Autumn 2013 edition of the DCPWA Newsletter explained that eight infant and primary schools had participated in the first session on 12th September 2013, which involved training teachers to run their own workshops. As one school had been unable to attend at the last moment, DCPWA agreed to run an abbreviated re-run (or Take 2), but by the time we had scheduled it another two schools had shown an interest. So, on 14th November 2013, Maggie Cooper led a re-run for the Royal School for the Deaf, Markeaton Primary and Howitt Primary at Parkview School in Oakwood. The second, and final, workshop on amphibians will take place on 6th March 2014.
Following a DCPWA survey of the three ponds at Derwent Green Gym Wildlife Site on 30th August 2013, Pauline Mycock (local Pond Warden) created a Management Plan based upon some of our recommendations. Local volunteers then set about clearing one of the ponds of its
heavily overgrown emergent vegetation on 15th November 2013. It is planned to undertake a formal PSYM survey of the three ponds in Summer 2014, from which the Management Plan can be updated.
Howitt Community Primary School is based in Heanor and is a member of our PINE project. Following their attendance at our PINE Train the Trainer (Take 2) workshop, DCPWA were invited to review the design of their pond and wildlife area, with the objective of making it more user-friendly for pond-dipping and an education resource.
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson paid a visit on 12th December 2013, which concluded with recommendations to reconfigure the protective fencing and create a cantilever dipping platform. The butyl-lined pond would also benefit by the addition of some more potted aquatic plants to attract an improved variation of breeding invertebrates.
The site visit is a good example of DCPWA starting to spread its wings into wider Derbyshire.
DCPWA members discussed and agreed the Events Programme for 2014 at the last members evening held at the University of Derby on 12th December 2013. The programme is as follows:
These meetings are held at the Kedleston Road campus of the University of Derby.
The Spondon Village Improvement Committee held their annual awards ceremony on 9th October 2013, and DCPWA were given a Certificate of Appreciation for their valuable contribution to Spondon in Bloom 2013. The DCPWA work covered the creation of a new pond at Dale Road Park, together with the elimination of two highly-invasive plants in the old pond. Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson attended the event on behalf of DCPWA.
The Derby Green Space Forum took place a the University of Derby on 18th November 2013. Derek Golson gave a presentation on the Wild About Ponds project and how it has significantly contributed towards the biodiversity targets for ponds within Derby City. He also outlined how the results of annual pond surveys undertaken by Pond Wardens had illustrated that, in most cases, pond restorations had improved its biodiversity scores.
The Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Partnership Forum took place at Matlock County Hall on 30th November 2013. This event took on a different role for DCPWA; rather than attending workshops, this year we actually gave some! Derek Golson led two workshops on Pond Surveying, using the PSYM methodology practiced and taught to our Pond Wardens by Trevor Taylor of DWT. Derek also gave a presentation on the Wild About Ponds project.
Contact Derek Golson (Chairman) or Maggie Cooper (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 2013 is now nearly complete and covers our quarterly meeting for Pond Wardens, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining DCPWA.
A permanent venue for future meetings has been agreed by courtesy of the University of Derby (our kind thanks go to Peter Walker). Meetings will continue to commence at 19:00 hours and further details can be found on the DCPWA web site, which is located at www.dcpwa.org.uk.