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Are balancing ponds of ecological value?


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(Diversion of the day)

 

This morning there was a piece on Farming Today about vanishing ponds and vanishing toads and a report from The Wildlife Trusts, and how if we did not do EXACTLY as told NOW there will be a world ending catastrophe next Tuesday etc...

 

In my area we have dozens of balancing ponds as part of SUDS systems on new housing estates. On a 10 acre 120 house estate, they would give over about half an acre to such features, and half an acre to an acre to amenity land.

 

I was wondering whether such ponds and the wildlife they host are counted, and whether they are actually of any benefit to eg our toads?

 

Both our local County Wildlife trusts are not aware of any work that has been done, and had not considered these of being of interest to them. It seems to be a bit of a gap. I think that local authorities may well wash their hands of it all once built, rather than spend money monitoring,

 

Does anybody know of any work that has been done?

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand
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Some SUD features undoubtedly provide some ecological value - the design guidance directs us to some of the best ways to do that when we put new systems in.

 

As to whether they're counted, probably not unless there is a highly systematic survey going on. LA's don't event want the responsibility of maintaining them, never mind monitoring the bugs. The system is different north and south of the border, but here there is still a barney going on as to who is responsible for these features.

 

Most of the SUDS features near us are not permanently wet (or do not hold water permanently) so I doubt they're providing the same level of value as features or ponds that are.

 

 

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Ah ha mystery solved.

 

Today I looked into the 5 mud sumps I dug over the winter to facilitate pumping out the flooding of my exposed footing trenches after rain and thought the puddles at the base of these seemed to contain frogs spawn. The shared drainage attenuation pond is just 10 meters away and is an ocean of oozing greeness, so I guess it has an amphibian population that explores the site at night.

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46 minutes ago, jamieled said:

Most of the SUDS features near us are not permanently wet (or do not hold water permanently) so I doubt they're providing the same level of value as features or ponds that are.

 

 

Mine was completely dry for months last year which has prompted discussions among the self build neighbours about lining it with a membrane. I supported this idea but now I am worried it could become a mid summer mosquito breading ground.

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We've diverted all the rainwater from the house to our new pond, but I'm not aware of it being counted in any sense. We included it as part of our planning application due to its size, but no one has ever mentioned it apart from the BCO wanting to check what we were doing with our rain water.

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19 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Mine was completely dry for months last year which has prompted discussions among the self build neighbours about lining it with a membrane. I supported this idea but now I am worried it could become a mid summer mosquito breading ground.

It may have been designed more as an open soakaway type system - if it's being lined you'd want to make sure you're not just going to end up with a pond full of water that never empties (and so provides less attenuation).

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5 minutes ago, jamieled said:

It may have been designed more as an open soakaway type system - if it's being lined you'd want to make sure you're not just going to end up with a pond full of water that never empties (and so provides less attenuation).

 

A good point that I should double check. Our attenuation pond has an overflow exit grate that leads through a pipe to the original water course drainage for the paddock.

 

The plan to create a year-long wet habitat is going to require some planning because last spring we had an algae bloom before it dried out completely.

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1 hour ago, jamieled said:

It may have been designed more as an open soakaway type system - if it's being lined you'd want to make sure you're not just going to end up with a pond full of water that never empties (and so provides less attenuation).

 

Good conservation feature for Mosquitos, mind.

 

F

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Our site is a SSSI so every couple of years a man comes around and climbs in the lakes and counts all the weed and creepy crawlies. 

We have recently dug a silly little pond to accept our water run off, the man from natural England loved it he was paddling around whooping with joy at the stuff in it, it has only been dug for 4-5 months, so I think these little ponds all play an important part in the grand scheme of things. 

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Our pond never gets any frogs or toads living in there.  If they manage to leave any spawn, the fish gleefully eat it within hours.  The greenhouse however, seems to attract toads!

Edited by Sue B
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