Flagship Ponds are of particular value because they support Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species, very rich assemblages of plants and creatures and/or are important pond types. They can be individual pond sites or a pond complex.
The project aims to work directly with Flagship sites to ensure that they are monitored and their quality is maintained. This will ensure that the sites do not degrade. It will also provide more information about the threats to high-quality sites and effective means of mitigation, that can be applied more generally.
This will be achieved by 'local guardians' who will liase with landowners, carry out high-level monitoring and, where appropriate, provide a link with specialist advisers.
The Wales Flagship Ponds Pilot Project
Breaking news!! We have the first results coming in already for the species lists, from the priority ponds identified in central and south west Wales, which were surveyed by Dr Fred Slater using the PSYM method. The results for the first 12 ponds surveyed can be seen on the Ponds on the Map section of our web-site.
The Wales Pilot Flagship Ponds Project funded by Environment Wales is focusing on two areas of Flagship Ponds. The first, Dowrog Common, is an area of lowland heathland ponds in North Pembrokeshire renowned for its rare plants such as Pillwort, Three-lobed Water-crowfoot, Yellow Centaury and Lesser Water Plantain as well as an impressive assemblage of invertebrates. Around Brecon the second site, which comprises Brefcha pool and other mawn pools, are supporting many rare species including the Mud Snail and Pillwort.
The project aims to protect these ‘best of the best’ pond sites through simple monitoring which will act as an early warning system to raise the alarm if there are threats or changes to a pond. Volunteers will be trained in the use of the monitoring techniques which will be completed via an online form, and if threats are identified this will raise the alarm with environmental professionals.
The first of the training courses have been held with 14 keen volunteers, who braved some of Wales's worst weather to come out and test the form. After learning the techniques together, we surveyed a pond at Dowrog and also Brefcha Pool. Volunteers carried out simple tests on the water quality and looked at surrounding land uses, noting key rare species, to complete the assessment. The course has already highlighted some potential threats at Brefcha, but found that the pond at Dowrog is currently well protected by surrounding habitat buffer strips.
Pond Conservation are now developing the monitoring form incorporating comments from the volunteers who have trialed its usage. The form will be online soon, and we will be looking for ways to roll out the Flagship Ponds Project across the whole of Wales and England.
If you want to find out more about Flagship ponds click here.
Current list of Flagship ponds.
(all photos copyright Becky Good)
This project is supported by Environment Wales