Following on from the recent concern of residents about Lake Park Pond, we have been consulting with Lewes District Council Officers and Councillors about the future management of this pond. The pond is essentially a Sustainable Drainage System for the estate that collects run off water from the roads and cleans it using the reeds in the pond. It is essential that this main purpose is preserved but beyond that there are two options for managing the pond. We would like to consult local residents on this matter.
A good native wildlife pond has clean water such as rainwater, floating pond weed as well as underwater plants to produce oxygen. The current pond has yellow flag iris and large rushes, which would provide cover for invertebrates (creepy crawlies) such as dragonfly and damselfly larvae and cover for tadpoles of newts and other amphibians such as frogs and toads. It does not have any floating pond weeds or vegetation suitable for newt egg-laying. This is likely to have been eaten by the ducks and turtles.
Most of the water in the pond comes through the inlet pipes from the surrounding roads and parking areas. This water will contain some heavy metals and pollutants from roads, cars, car-washing etc. This means that the water quality will not be particularly good.
A good native wildlife pond of this size would be expected to contain some breeding amphibians including toads and great crested newts. Fish and ducks will prevent the other wildlife from thriving as they eat newt and frog eggs as well as tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, water boatmen and other insects and small creatures that usually live in wildlife-rich ponds. Ducks will also eat the vegetation that the smaller creatures rely on.
Amphibians and many other creatures that use ponds spend much of their lives on land. Frogs, toads and newts visit ponds to breed between February and May but then generally spend the rest of the year outside the pond. Newts eat small slugs and other invertebrates so a native wildlife pond also needs good suitable habitat on land that can provide them with enough food and cover from predators (especially in an urban situation where there are cats). Great crested newts have a range of up to 1km but there is little suitable habitat for them in the surrounding area.
If you have any questions or would like to get involved and become a part of the Friends of Lake Park Pond please call David on 07973 864340.
There are two options for managing this pond and we need to make a decision before moving forwards.
Option 1. A Native Wildlife Pond
We could attempt restoration of the pond to a pond full of native wildlife and vegetation.
Management would involve:
- Removing silt from the pond. This would be left on site to form a hill/landscape feature which could be seeded with wildflowers.
- Removing rubbish.
- Turtles to be re-homed.
- Fish to be re-homed.
- Clean native pond plants to be introduced.
- Pond left for vegetation and pond life to re-establish.
Ongoing management required
- Community involvement to prevent fish or other pets from being re-introduced to the pond, and to stop people from feeding the ducks.
- Vegetation to be cut back every 3 years to maintain some open water.
- Surrounding grassland allowed to grow long and rough to allow foraging opportunities for wildlife.
- Regular litter picking by residents.
- Not topping up with water in dry years and keeping the pond free of fish. (It may dry up)
Advantages: Biodiversity is increased.
Disadvantages: Considerable cost.
Risks: Failure as a wildlife pond.
Option 2. A Duck and Turtle Pond
Many local people enjoy watching the turtles and feeding the ducks. The ducks eat the vegetation that would be beneficial to a wildlife pond but also control vegetation that many people think of as unsightly such as thick duckweed and blanketweed.
Management would include:
Litter picking the pond with long-handled rakes, litter pickers and waders.
Removing wood and other features generally considered unsightly.
Removing silt from the pond which would make drying out less likely.
Vegetation to be cut back every 3 years to maintain some open water.
Regular litter picking by residents.
Topping up of water levels in dry years if required for visual impact or to help fish, ducks and turtles.
Advantages: Attractive leisure area with ducks and turtles to look at and for families to enjoy feeding.
Disadvantages: Loss of opportunity to potentially restore biodiversity to pond. Cost of desilting.
Risks: Loss of interest from residents particularly concerned about native wildlife and biodiversity.
Please complete the below survey monkey link to give your opinions.