Flagship Ponds Update: Rawcliffe Meadows 2019

3rd September 2019

Our Northern Project Officer, Anne has been out and about this summer visiting Flagship Pond sites in Yorkshire to catch up with volunteers and seeing how the ponds, and their inhabitants, are getting on.

Rawcliffe Meadows, one of our smallest Flagship Pond sites on the outskirts of York, is home to the beautiful, but very rare wetland plant Tubular Water-dropwort (Oenanthe fistulosa). This elegant perennial with clusters of white flowers held in umbels at the end of long stalks, occurs in ponds but also in a very wide range of other wetland habitats including wet meadows with open low intensity grazing. This two hectare man-made wetland, created about 35 years ago when local flood defenses were upgraded provided the perfect haven for the plant which has sadly declined since the 1950’s in the UK because of drainage, eutrophication, weed control and conversion from pasture to arable land.

Anne met up Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows volunteer, Pete who has been monitoring the population of Tubular Water-dropwort for the last five years. Great to report that its doing very well and spreading across the site from pond to pond. As well as a profusion of frothy white flowers, a closer look at ground level revealed tiny stems of new growth carpeting the areas around the ponds and becoming, in some places, one of the most dominate species in the basin ..….the only problem being how to count the number of plants as it is now so widespread!

Whilst there, with the help of Freshwater Habitats Trust friend and collaborator Dr Barry Wright we took the opportunity to try out some new tech in the form of a drone camera. We are hoping that this may help with future monitoring and its fantastic to get an overall view of the site.




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