First Phase Completed!

The first phase of the Million Ponds Project, funded by the Tubney Trust and Biffaward, reached a successful conclusion. The project, coordinated by Pond Conservation (now Freshwater Habitats Trust) and involving Amphibian and Reptile Conservation as a lead partner, helped to create over 1000 ponds to benefit Biodiversity Action Plan species across England and Wales.

Phase 1 of the Million Ponds Project ran from 2008 to 2012. During that time the project:

  • Focussed attention on the variety of freshwater habitats needed by these species
  • Highlighted the importance of pond design
  • Raised awareness of the value of temporary ponds
  • funded new ponds and pond complexes for threatened freshwater plants and animals
  • provided technical and on the ground support for pond creation
  • engaged with and trained a wide range of stakeholders
  • published best practice information raised the profile of ponds with policy makers and the media

A wide variety of water bodies has been created by the Million Ponds Project, from large ponds designed for water voles, to shallow temporary pools on sand dunes, designed for the natterjack toad.

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’s role in the project helped create ponds for the natterjack toad, common toad, great crested newt and grass snake. This has been a great success, with over 467 ponds created for the great crested newt and 47 for the natterjack toad. This is perhaps one of the most successful efforts to create such ponds in recent years.

David Orchard, Pond Officer said, “We know that amphibians need good terrestrial habitats, but without suitable breeding ponds they are unable to survive. The Million Ponds Project has been an opportunity to support amphibian populations across England and Wales in a very practical way.”

Another important achievement of the project has been to increase general understanding of the importance of clean water, the essential component of good quality ponds. (Clean water is that which is not contaminated by runoff from roads or agriculture, or excessively disturbed, for example by artificially high numbers of birds.)

The project has produced a huge range of material which is free to download from the Freshwater Habitats Trust website.

The Million Ponds Project is a fifty year vision with the aim of ensuring the UK has at least one million ponds in the landscape, approximately the same number that existed in 1900. Work over the past four years has been the first step towards this ambitious target, providing a firm foundation for the future.

Phase two has begun and you can read about it here