A pick-me-up for Pinkhill Meadow 2016
24th October 2016
Pinkhill Meadow, a key part of our research into ponds, and an important site for Oxfordshire’s wildlife, is getting some well-deserved love and attention thanks to a grant of nearly £10,000.
The ponds on Pinkhill Meadow were created in 1990 to demonstrate how well-designed ponds can quickly become very rich wildlife habitats, and dramatically boost the freshwater wildlife of an area. The pond wildlife is so good, it is a Flagship Pond site – one of the best pond sites in the country. However, scrub and reeds have since spread across the site, and it’s time to do some housekeeping.
The money, from Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) and their funding partner Grundon Waste Management, has helped us to carry out another round of surveys, carefully analysing the comings and goings of the many plants and invertebrates this summer. It also means we can clear a portion of the 25 years’ worth of unchecked growth of scrub and reeds, and create new open habitats for the plants and animals that need those conditions.
The plan was always to graze Pinkhill Meadow, to keep a mosaic of open areas and gentle disturbance that so many freshwater species prefer. Now, thanks to the site owners Thames Water investing in fencing, we can get grazing animals on site. What’s going to be most fascinating is seeing how the mix of plants and invertebrates changes over the next few years and decades.
A critical aspect of our work on Pinkhill Meadow is the repeated, detailed surveys we carry out. Not only has it allowed us to demonstrate the value of creating clean water ponds for wildlife, and that the value persists, but it also means we can gather evidence of the impact of site management. This kind of data is woefully lacking for ponds.
Pinkhill Meadow is just one of 70 fantastic pond sites across England and Wales we are supporting through our Flagship Ponds project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Central to the long-term success of this work is involvement of the local community. We are helping site owners develop effective monitoring and management plans, and training local people in survey skills so they can find out what species are present, and monitor changes in pond health over future years.
Can you help us at Pinkhill Meadow? Next year there will be opportunities for volunteers to monitor key species and water quality, and to help with practical reserve management tasks. Please contact People, Ponds & Water officer Pete firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.