The Stangrove Pond Survey - 2006

Stangrove Pond Slide Show

Conclusions

If drying up is to be a regular feature there will be little point in trying to maintain the pond on any basis. I do wonder if the recent substantial building and development in the vicinity could also have adversely affected the water table in some way. Perhaps by improving the drainage local to the park?

Contrary to what I have stated, in the rest of the text, given the present extreme condition of the pond, I see no impediment to progressing with a major re-profiling and clear out. There is little to be lost in dredging the whole pond in one year in this instance (see notes on hibernating frogs), if East Surrey Water Company are still offering to undertake this for free. Greater depth would offer at least some protection, in times of drought.

The favoured option, for the majority of the public, seems to be for a duck-pond. This requires little action to maintain the status quo.

Any variation from this situation will require commitment, both to a change of management regime, and in terms of financial investment, on the part of The Town Council.

There are certain obligations to preserve the pond's resident amphibian population.

If a wildlife pond is the preferred option there will be little point in installing dipping platforms, or other associated artifacts, until the present issue with duckweed control, and the introduced agent, is resolved and some major changes are instituted. These should include, in order of priority: -

Substantial reductions in tree cover, including clearance, to at least scrub level, on the island. This may also help a little with water levels, in reducing loss by respiration. A single mature oak uses around 200 gallons per day in summer.

Once sufficient light has been admitted: removal and control of the bulk of the bank-side bramble and coarse weed cover will allow a greater variety of native plants to become established.

Ongoing management of the banks as a late meadow. The area to be as wide as possible and, ideally, linked by corridors of similar management to other, wilder, less manicured areas of the park.

Provision of a good number of refugea/hibernacula in the form of log piles and slabs, as outlined.

After a moderate/complete clear out (assuming biological conditions stabilize sufficiently for this to be worthwhile) the aquatic flora and fauna may be restocked and further marginals and emergents planted.

Some curb on the amount of duck food entering the pond and a sensitive reduction in duck numbers. As best as possible, a reduction in the number of fallen leaves entering the pond in autumn.

Funding

It may be possible to offset some of the cost of any renovation or planting through a range of grants available from a number of organisations (Pond Conservation should have the latest relevant details) such as DEFRA, Natural England, The National Heritage Lottery fund, etc. The Shell Oil Company also fund a number of projects and may be worth contacting, or perhaps it would be possible to interest members of the local business community in sponsoring part, or all, of the scheme?

Further Reading

Pearls In the Landscape (the conservation and management of ponds) by Chris Probert, published by Farmers Press.

The History Of The Countryside by Oliver Rackham, published by J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.

Habitat Creation and Repair by Oliver L. Gilbert and Penny Anderson, published by Oxford University Press.

Useful contacts for more specific surveys and conservation advice

  • (DEFRA and other addresses from script)
  • Amateur Entomologists? Society, P. O. Box 8774, London, SW7 5ZG
  • Balfour-Browne Club (water beetles), Dr G. N. Foster, 3 Eglington Terrace, Ayr KA7 1JJ
  • Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society, R. Edwards (secretary), 5 St Edwards Close, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 1JP
  • Biological Records Centre, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE17 2LS, Tel: 01487 773381
  • British Arachnological Society, S. H. Hexter (treasurer), 71 Havant Road, London, E17 3JE
  • British Dragonfly Society, B. Wain (secretary), The Haywain, Bordon, Hampshire, GU35 0AD
  • British Entomological and Natural History Society, Pelham-Clinton Building, Dinton Pastures Country Park, Davies Street, Hurst, Reading, Berkshire, RG10 OTH
  • British Plant Gall Society, Dr C. K. Leach (Hon Sec), 35 Hidcote Road, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 5PG
  • Butterfly Conservation, Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP
  • Coleoptera (beetles), P. J. Hodge (Hon Sec), 8 Harvard Road, Ringmer, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5HJ
  • Conchological (molluscs) Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Mrs E. J. Reynolds (Hon Gen Sec), 21c Loraine Road, Holloway, London, N7 6EZ
  • Dipterists' Forum (true flies), A. E. Stubbs, 181 Broadway, Peterborough, PE1 4DS
  • English Nature (Natural England as of 6th October 2006. Not sure if address will alter), Northminster House, Peterborough, PE1 1UA Tel: 01733 455000
  • Herpetofauna Groups of Britain and Ireland, c/o Froglife, Triton House, Bramfield, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 9AE, Tel: 01986 784518
  • Kent Field Club, 53 The Ridgeway, Chatham, Kent, ME4 6PB Tel: 01634 849085
  • Kent Mammal Group, 46 Englefield Crescent, Cliffe Woods, Kent, ME3 8HD Tel: 01634 221752
  • Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre (www.KMBRC.org.uk). Provides a wealth of useful contacts through their links section (address same as Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group and The Kent Wildlife Trust)
  • Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG), C/o KMBRC, Tyland Barn, Chatham Road, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent, ME13 3BD Tel: 01622 685646/780
  • Pond Conservation, BMS, Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford, OX3 OBP, Tel: 01865 483249

Thanks are due to Lyndsey Rule for her help with pond-dipping forays and in securing a KMBRC report for the area, to Andy Barnett for his assistance with computer issues and all things technical, and to the Edenbridge Town Council for commissioning this report in the first place.

DISCLAIMER: I HAVE A LIFETIMES EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH BRITISH WILDLIFE AND IN CONSERVATION BUT NO FORMAL QUALIFICATIONS IN THE FIELD, THEREFORE, WHILE EVERY EFFORT HAS BEEN TAKEN TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION INCLUDED IN THIS DOCUMENT, NO RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY LOSS OR DETRIMENT INCURRED IN COMPLYING WITH THE ADVICE CONTAINED WITHIN IT, NO MATTER HOW THIS MIGHT ARISE.

T. R. MULLENDER