We are lucky to have a great range of habitats at our Kingston Hill campus, and the one that most of the KU regular conservation volunteers will be familiar with is the pond.
Unbelievably, the pond has never had a blog post dedicated to it, and so here is a little history of our pond conservation project...
Back in 2008, the pond was surrounded on most sides by 10ft tall, dense Rhododendron ponticum, a harmful non-native invasive species. It was also completely choked with sedge, which left the pond with no open water, and little diversity of emergent vegetation.
|Can you spot the pond? In this photo from 2008 you can see that it has almost disappeared!|
Three years and five pond conservation volunteer events later, the pond has improved dramatically. A good sized area of the pond is now permanent open water, which will benefit the breeding newts and dragonfly which inhabit it. The margins of the pond remain vegetated with plant life that has become far more diverse than it was before, thanks to the removal of a good proportion of the sedge.
|The pond as of December 2011 - much improved!|
The hard work to remove the sedge and Rhododendron roots has all been undertaken by volunteers, without whom the pond would still be in a poor state.
Pond conservation work is really important. Ponds are often man-made in damp areas to collect excess water, or to water livestock. Modern day landowners have less of a requirement for ponds nowadays, and modern drainage systems and farming make traditional ponds obsolete. That means that old ponds become neglected, and start to naturally fill with sediment and vegetation, eventually becoming part of the landscape again. And so without conservation management, all ponds would eventually disappear. This would be a huge loss, as ponds are a very valuable wildlife habitat, giving rise to a huge diversity of plants, insects, amphibians and birds.
The last pond event was run with BTCV who bought along all the tools and waders needed, plus plenty of experienced volunteers; and The Green Team, our landscape contractors who helped us to get all of the pond green waste to the composter.
Huge thanks to all of the many volunteers who have helped out over the years!
|December 2011 - Cutting sedge roots out of the pond|
|February 2010 - Pulling Rhododendron roots from around the edges of the pond|