Identifying priority ponds across the Chess catchment

We’re aiming to understand the condition of ponds across the Chess catchment in the Chilterns. We want to locate the best of the best - the priority ponds - where conservation action should be targeted.

The protection and enhancements of ponds should be core in any catchment restoration project. They are critical ecosystem engineers, supporting two-thirds of freshwater species and – at landscape scale – more biodiversity than larger waterbodies, including rivers and lakes. This is due to their greater collective heterogeneity (habitat variation between different ponds).

Sadly we know very little about ponds across the landscape, in particular our best ponds. It’s estimated that nationally only 10% of these priority ponds have been identified.

This project will address this data gap in the Chess catchment, working with volunteers to undertake its first landscape scale assessment of ponds, building a picture of their condition as well as identifying the best sites to guide future conservation action.

Project aims

  • Survey over 70 ponds across the Chess catchment through the volunteer Priority Pond Assessment (PASS).
  • Identify more than 15 priority ponds and survey these for wetland plant and freshwater invertebrates to understand more about the communities they support
  • Identify what conservation action should be taken to protect and enhance these ponds through site walkovers.

- Mapped Ponds Across the Chess Catchment

~250

Ponds mapped in Chess catchment

70-100

Ponds aimed to be survey through the project

15

Ponds surveyed with for wetland plants and freshwater invertebrates

10

Walkovers across landholdings to identify habitat creation and restoration opportunities

~250

Ponds mapped in Chess catchment

70-100

Ponds aimed to be survey through the project

15

Ponds surveyed with for wetland plants and freshwater invertebrates

10

Walkovers across landholdings to identify habitat creation and restoration opportunities

Get Involved!

We’re looking for volunteers to help us identify Priority Ponds using Priority Pond Assessment Tool (PASS) this summer.

PASS using non-biological metrics to determine how likely a pond is to be a priority pond, and provides a quick and simple means for a landscape scale assessment.

What’s involved? 

  • One visit to a pond (we’ll ensure all landowner permission are in place for you), between June to August 2024.
  • Fill in the PASS form by answering five simple questions and take one photograph of the pond
  • Submit your results via our online portal (you’ll be sent a link)

Training

The survey is very straightforward. You can either use the online training materials that we’ll provide to take you through the steps or attend our training event on 2nd July at Cholesbury Village Hall at 6:30pm. More details provided with sign up.

Register your interest

We’re currently agreeing access permissions with landowners, but will be able to share a map ready to survey shortly. In the meantime please register your interest below:

Would you be interested in attending the 1hr training on the 2nd July at 6:30pm in Cholesbury