Protecting and enhancing the population of critical pond-associated S42 species
From 2013 to 2015 we worked to improve the conservation of 18 rare plants and invertebrates in Wales. Pillwort, Floating Water Plantain, Glutinous Snail, and Oxbow Diving Beetle, along with many other pond-loving species, are all struggling to survive in our widely polluted landscape. Most are now very restricted in their range, and some have disappeared altogether.
The aim of the project was to develop and carry out a programme for the protection of these critical species – all included in Section 42 of the NERC Act 2006 which lists habitats and species of principal importance in Wales.
Overall, the project provided new information on species distribution, how well the species are colonising new ponds, and the quality of new ponds – sixty-seven newly created ponds, most of the funded through the Million Ponds Project, were surveyed for plants. Based on the evidence emerging from these studies, practical activities were planned and delivered on the ground to maintain, enhance or create populations of these species. In addition, for those species which were already extinct or particularly vulnerable to extinction, captive breeding was investigated and set up to allow for future re-introduction. We will continue to watch how the sites develop, and carry out practical work to strengthen the populations of these threatened species further.
Most the work was carried out in Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs) which identify networks of the most important ponds and their biodiversity.
We have also added two new species dossiers, for Lesser Water-plantain (Welsh version) and Tubular Water-dropwort (Welsh version), to the Pond Creation Toolkit. The dossiers provide vital information on the plants’ ecology, and how to makes ponds that will benefit them.
A report on the project will be available soon.