Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

08-12-12 : Pond management day

Donning wellies, waders and rubber gloves, a group of 15 students, staff and local residents joined in with the 2012 pond event, run with the help of TCV!

The first task of the day was to increase the amount of open water in the pond. When we first started working in the pond, there was hardly any open water left at all - the vegetation (Common or Black Sedge - Carex nigra) had taken over the space and needed cutting back. After some trial and error over the years, we found that the most effective way of dealing with the sedge is to cut away the root mat that is sitting on the bottom of the concrete lined pond. 

Sasha and Naailah getting to grips with the sedge roots
Tom and Chris cutting away - its much easier to work in pairs!

Root cutting is an important but messy and soggy job, and not everyone likes doing it. Luckily there were plenty of other tasks to complete around the pond. The most popular was Rhododendron stump bashing! The pond used to be surrounded by tall and dense Rhododendron ponticum. It was cut down about 3 years ago, and ever since then we have been removing the stumps by hand. We managed to remove six stumps on the day, including one absolutely massive one...

Tricia cutting away Rhodo shoots before she attacks the stump
Amy and Tricia extracting the Rhodo stumps from around the pond's edge
The gigantic (& heavy!) Rhodo stump

At the end of the day we were left with a much happier looking pond. We managed to extend the amount of open water, whilst still leaving plenty of emergent vegetation which will be used as shelter by the newts, frogs, dragonflies and other creatures which call the pond home. 

Biodiversity spot of the day goes to the stump bashing team who spotted a small mammal scurrying through the sedge near to where they were working. It moved too fast for us to be able to identify it properly, or get a photograph of it, but we think it may have been a field vole or perhaps even a water shrew. 

A big thank you to all of the volunteers who came along to help on the day, and TCV for providing equipment and leadership.

Do you want to take part in the next biodiversity action group event? Join us for a day of Rhododendron chopping on Saturday 26th January. Sign up to thmailing list to find out more.

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