Freshwater Habitats Trust’s £140k fundraising campaign

Freshwater Habitats Trust’s £140k fundraising campaign to protect UK’s finest ponds: £140,000 is urgently needed to protect endangered plants and animals, and restore wildlife habitats in England and Wales, Freshwater Habitats Trust has said.

The conservation charity, which is working with a range of partners to look after 70 of the best pond sites in the country, is hoping to raise the shortfall with a fundraising campaign running this month (February).

Flagship Pond site Strensall Common is home to the tiny aquatic fern Pillwort and many other special pond plants and animals. Photo: Anne Heathcote/Freshwater Habitats Trust

Flagship Pond site Strensall Common is home to the tiny aquatic fern Pillwort and many other special pond plants and animals. Photo: Anne Heathcote/Freshwater Habitats Trust

Freshwater Habitats Trust is already working with local communities and organisations to ensure these Flagship Ponds have someone to watch over them and look out for problems. But surveys of the ponds have revealed threats to the wildlife, with urgent work needed to keep these 70 unique pond sites special, and bring species back from the brink.

Project officers have urged the public to support the campaign so that work can be carried out this year, keeping rare wildlife safe like the Glutinous Snail now found in a single location.

Project Officer Pete shows volunteers how to use testing kits to monitor water pollution levels on Cothill Fen Flagship Pond site, one of the finest freshwater sites in southern England. Photo credit: Judy Webb

Project officer Pete Case shows volunteers how to use testing kits to monitor water pollution levels on Cothill Fen Flagship Pond site, one of the finest freshwater sites in southern England. Photo: Judy Webb

Dr Naomi Ewald, Manager of the Flagship Ponds project, said: “The UK is blessed with an amazing array of freshwater sites, plants and animals. Flagship Ponds are the best of the best and are home to some of our rarest freshwater wildlife.

“As time goes by, there are more threats to Flagship Ponds. They have, so far, escaped the fate of many other ponds: water pollution, drainage and damaging changes that drive out all but the most tough plants and animals. But Flagship Ponds are not immune, and they need help now.

“Animals like the delicate Glutinous Snail disappeared from its favoured ponds across the country and now lives in just one place, Llyn Tegid. But even there it is at risk.

“The fascinating Medicinal Leech is another declining species. Happily, thanks to the efforts of site managers and volunteers we’re working with, we now know what it needs to thrive, and can look after its ponds better.

“We know what we need to do. The last piece of the puzzle is the funds to put the plans into action.”

Adder's-tongue Spearwort lives on just two sites

Adder’s-tongue Spearwort is a rare little buttercup that hangs on at just two sites. At Inglestone Common, seed was collected from the last few plants and grown on so many new plants could be put back in the ponds. Now the site needs help to make sure the buttercup has a secure future there. Photo: South Gloucestershire Council

The £140,000 appeal will enable Flagship Pond project officers and volunteers to improve ponds and protect them from harm, creating safe havens for some of the UK’s rarest plants and animals. That’s an average of £2,000 for of each pond sites across England and Wales.

The appeal, which is the first time Freshwater Habitats Trust has reached out to the public for assistance with protecting these special places, will run for the next few weeks.

To donate visit www.freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/flagship/flagship-pond-appeal.

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