Phase II of the Million Ponds Project
Pond Conservation announced, with Natural England and other partners, Phase II in its national Million Ponds Project partnership in the House of Lords on 18th September 2012. This huge new pond creation programme will counter threat to freshwater wildlife from ‘near universal’ pollution and will see the creation of 30,000 clean water ponds over the next 7 years, up to 2020.
The achievements of the first four years of the Million Ponds Project have laid an excellent foundation on which to build the initiative’s 50-year goal of ensuring that the UK once again supports over one million ponds. To help achieve this long-term aim, best practice information is now readily available to everyone, and the importance of creating new clean water ponds has become widely recognised. Together, we have shown how easy and cheap high quality pond creation is, how valuable for wildlife, and how satisfying for people.
Phase II of the Million Ponds Project is now underway in England and Wales, running from 2012 to 2020, including:
• Identifying Important Areas for Ponds (IAPs) nationally – these are core areas in which to protect existing ponds, and from which stepping stones can be created into the wider countryside.
• Developing targeted landscape-scale pond creation projects in areas like the New Forest and in more intensively managed landscapes, such as catchments in Oxfordshire and Leicestershire.
• Investigating the potential to further embed pond creation into national policy initiatives, such as conservation credits, which could potentially create many thousands of clean water ponds in the future.
• Working with academic partners to develop applied research projects. We already know that pond creation can enhance biodiversity at a local level, but at a time when freshwater biodiversity seems to be declining nationally, we need to assess how far clean water ponds can help to enhance regional freshwater biodiversity, and promote landscape-scale dispersal processes.
In 2014 and 2015, we aim to expand the Million Ponds Project to Northern Ireland and Scotland, with dedicated country-wide initiatives that will spread the concept of using ponds as one of the most cost-effective method for restoring clean water to impacted landscapes. A range of other new initiatives will also ensure that the next few years will be an exciting time for pond creation.