Oxfordshire’s Priority Ponds

This pond project addressed the loss of good quality freshwater habitat by creating and managing over 40 priority ponds.

Cutteslowe Park pond management Oct 2013

Some pond plants are removed to make space for other species at Cutteslowe Park in October 2013

Research in the past 20 years has shown the importance of small water bodies for protecting freshwater biodiversity. Ponds are vital freshwater habitats, supporting over 100 pond-associated Priority Species. The Countryside Survey 2007 results, however, show that 80% of ponds are in poor condition. The most effective way to improve ponds as habitat for freshwater biodiversity is to create new clean water bodies and manage existing high quality (priority) ponds. This Oxfordshire pond creation and management project addressed the loss of freshwater habitat by creating 21 wildlife-rich ponds and managing 23 Priority Ponds on the Upper Thames floodplain and other wetland areas. It is benefiting Priority Species such as great crested newt and water vole, and a wide range of other freshwater species.

Sita_Logo_Gloss_NewA grant from SITA Trust‘s Enriching Nature programme supported capital works, pre-site surveys to establish a baseline condition assessment of plants, macroinvertebrates and amphibians, a project officer to both manage and implement the project in partnership with landowners, and monitoring in conjunction with species experts to ensure that habitat and species targets are met.

Highlights included the discovery of water-violet, an Oxfordshire Red List species, in a pond in the Lye Valley, and the involvement of volunteers who have added so much to the project.

Water-violet discovered at Lye Valley July 20013 Willow management by volunteers at Cutteslowe Park Cctober 2013