We're asking people to help us estimate the number of urban ponds in England, so we can help protect them and the species they support.

Child pond dipping

Why is this work important?

Ponds are a critical habitat for freshwater biodiversity – so it’s very important that we know if we are gaining or losing ponds in this country. The last estimate of pond numbers in Britain was made over 15 years ago, in 2007 – which is too long to go without such valuable information. The Urban Pond Count aims to provide a regular estimate of the number of urban ponds in England, with help from citizen scientists.

Our project partners, Natural England, are collecting data for ponds in rural areas. The results of both these surveys will enable us to estimate the number of ponds in England so we can work towards their future protection.

Can you help us count England's ponds?

The aim is to count the number of ponds within representative 1km square areas across England, focusing on ponds in urban areas.

Volunteer citizen scientists can help with the survey and, from summer 2024, can also collect habitat data at the ponds (using our PASS survey) which enable us to identify more priority ponds.

Undertaking the survey involves searching all areas of a selected 1km square: checking out the ponds shown on existing maps to see if they are still there, and looking out for any new ponds. The results will be recorded in the field using a phone app. See Urban Pond Count Methods video below for full details.

Pond in an urban area

When and where is the survey happening?

We will be surveying 250 randomly selected 1km grid squares over two years. All squares selected for this survey have more than 75% developed land. The map below shows the locations of  1km survey squares where we are looking for volunteers.

Year 1 of the Urban Pond Count is taking place from now until March 2024.

Year 2 will run from June 2024 – October 2024. We will have a whole new batch of randomly selected 1km grid squares. In the second year of the project, volunteers will also be completing a PASS survey at each of their ponds to help us find more priority pond habitat!

Please take a look at the map to see if there might be a survey square available near you! Then you can sign up to become a volunteer (see below).

If there isn’t a survey square near you, don’t worry, we will have new locations in Year 2 of the project. You can also get involved with the PASS survey between June – October at any pond where you have permission to survey.

This map shows the locations of available Urban Pond Count squares (purple).  Zoom in or navigate by using the search function to see if there are any squares near you. If you would like to survey one of the squares please click on the link below to register to volunteer and message to let us know which square you would like to survey.

How do I get involved?

Anyone can volunteer! Under 18s are welcome to take part with their parent or guardian.

It’s really easy to get involved. Just register to become a Freshwater Habitats volunteer on Assemble. Once you have done this you can message us with your location. We will then assign you the nearest 1km square to survey and provide you with a Site Pack (which includes a map of your square and any relevant landowner information). On Assemble you will be provided with health and safety and training materials. The survey results will be recorded in the field using the Cartographer phone app – details of how to download and use this are provided in the training materials. Alternatively you can complete a paper survey form and then enter your results online when you get home.

Click here to volunteer!
Volunteers surveying pond

Urban Pond Count Methods

This presentation provides background information and details of the survey method for the Urban Pond Count project.