The PondNet monitoring network for great crested newts, is an annual survey of 131 randomly selected 1 km grid squares spread throughout England. The 380 ponds which are encompassed by this network, are surveyed by volunteers and project officers using eDNA (environmental DNA). The presence of great crested newts is detected during laboratory analysis of a water sample, which is collected using a standardised methodology from each pond in May and June.
Thanks to funding from Defra, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and with support from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the Amphibian and Reptile Groups, this is the first ever national eDNA survey WORLDWIDE!
We have now completed 5 years of survey (2015-2019), visiting the same ponds annually to build a picture of status and change. Whilst this is still a relatively short timescale, we can begin to report with greater certainty on the current status of great crested newts in England.
We have summarised the results from individual sites for the south, central and northern PondNet regions. These can be found by clicking the links below: