Funds from Natural England’s Great Crested Newt habitat restoration scheme are allowing Suffolk Wildlife Trust to restore 10 ponds in Suffolk in Spring 2021 and were lucky enough to have one of them.
It’s an old pond which has been somewhat neglected, so they are optimistic about bringing it back as a strong biodiversity habitat. First they cleared trees and vegetation (just ahead of the birds starting to nest).
Next, when the fields dried out so that the digger could get access, they set about dredging the pond and diverting the ditch that used to run through it. The problem with the ditch was that, as well as our runoff, it also takes water – and therefore fertiliser residue – from our non-organic neighbouring farm so there used to be too much nutrient in the pond water for it ever to be good for biodiversity.
When it was empty, and the incoming ditch was now completely bypassing the pond, the set out removing the silt which had built up since it was last cleaned out (in the 60’s we think). They took it back to exactly its old profile, and no more.
The silt they dug out had to be taken by trailer to an area of our land which is not used for farming and put in a big mound there: given all the runoff in it from our neighbour’s farming, we could not have spread it on our organic fields.
Over the summer, and then in the autumn, the pond filled gradually from rising ground water and from the rain. It is now a lovely clean fresh pond. The pond plants are already growing again (having been dormant during the years during which agricultural pollutants dominated the water).
SWT will be back periodically to do surveys to see how their restoration has worked.