Ponds, Pools and Lochans

5.4 Wetland locations for new ponds

Good places for ponds

There is evidence that siting new ponds near to existing waterbodies and wetlands is beneficial. In natural and semi-natural landscapes ponds rarely occur in isolation but are typically part of a wetland complex, in close proximity to wet habitats such as streams and their floodplains, wet woodlands, springs, seepages, mires or other ponds and pools. In these situations, water bodies may be no more than a few metres apart, and are often linked seasonally.

Increasingly, it is clear that designs for new ponds can be improved by simulating thisnatural connectedness of ponds and other wetlands. Even remote and isolated new sites will colonise with pond plants and animals. But new ponds will generally become richer if other wetlands are nearby.

In locating new ponds, it is also important to ensure that surrounding terrestrial habitat is of high quality; many pond animals spend part of their life cycle on land (e.g. amphibians, dragonflies) and have specific terrestrial habitat requirements. Again locating ponds near to existing high quality habitats is a good approach; alternatively, allow the pond surroundings to develop good natural vegetation (e.g. scrub, woodland, unfertilised tall grassland, heathland, moorland).

Normally the best ponds will be completely surrounded by high quality semi-natural vegetation but any semi-natural terrestrial habitat will be better than none. For a 1000 m2 pond, aim to have as a very minimum 0.5 ha of non-intensively managed land within 500 m of the pond. For specific information about the terrestrial habitat requirements of great created newts and natterjack toads see the practical manuals by Froglife (2000) and Beebee and Denton (1996), respectively.

Click to enlarge image
Click to enlarge image
Figure 34. If possible locate new ponds in areas near to other wetland areas like rivers, marshes, wet woodland, ponds and ditches. This will help the pond to colonise rapidly with plants and animals. However, make sure that existing high quality habitats are not damaged in the process.
Poor places for ponds

It is essential to undertake sufficient survey work to ensure that the new pond does not replace a more valuable habitat, wet or dry. So do not dig up an existing wetland to make a pond.

Equally, care needs to be taken to ensure that the new pond does not alter the hydrology of an existing site by, for example, increasing evapotranspiration, or where groundwater is under hydrostatic pressure, by flooding adjacent areas. In general, it is usually safer to dig the new pond close to, but not directly linked with, the existing wet area.

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Figure 33. Create new ponds in areas where they are protected from water pollution and close to other high quality terrestrial habitats such as woodland, scrub, unfertilised grasslands or other ponds. Pond Action
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