The aim of this project is to enhance the role that ponds can play as biodiversity refugia by supporting capacity development and expertise in pond creation, management and conservation. The project will work to enhance public awareness and mobilise community consciousness regarding the amenity value these small wetland habitats possess for biodiversity, water quality and climate adaptation.

Ponds are extraordinary reservoirs of biodiversity and have a critical role as Ireland faces our significant biodiversity loss. Over 50% of Ireland’s amphibian wetlands have been lost to drainage, industrial peat extraction, pollution and natural senescence in the past 100 years. Of the 12,200 small enclosed water bodies across Ireland, 8,000 are less than a hectare in extent and the smallest categories have been subject to the greatest pressures. Ponds have been demonstrated to host more biodiversity than rivers and lakes, particularly macroinvertebrates and less common species (⅔ of all freshwater species!). Permanent and naturally vegetated ponds are excellent at carbon sequestration (Gilbert et al., 2014). Taylor et al. (2019) found that small ponds sequestered 20-30 times the amount of carbon compared with woodlands, grasslands and other habitats.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To establish a network of local authorities and other bodies who understand the value of ponds, and commit to protecting/creating ponds on public lands
  • To create a set of demonstration sites across Ireland which demonstrate to practitioners and policy makers how ponds can help to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • To ascertain the status of recent pond initiativesTo establish an ‘adopt a pond’ network of citizen scientists/community groups to monitor and manage the newly created ponds, or existing ponds. Information to be fed back to the National Biodiversity Centre
  • To disseminate the project’s results to policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholder.
  • To engage individuals to establish ponds in their gardens, with clear guidance and tips, and a portal to enter their pond location, potential for awards for the most ‘pond-friendly’ town/county in Ireland.
  • To build capacity within Ireland for pond expertise, and operators skilled in pond creation.

The Importance of Ponds for Wildlife 

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How to Create & Manage a Pond for Wildlife

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Contacts and Further Information

Local Authorities Water Programme (LAWPRO): An organisation aimed at identifying issues affecting water quality in Ireland and collaborating with relevant local authorities, public bodies and water stakeholders to find solutions. Community engagement is at the core of their work, assuring local and expert knowledge is harnessed to help achieve the best results.

National Biodiversity Data Centre: Collects, manages, and analyses data and provides information on Ireland’s Biodiversity.

Invasive Species Ireland: Cross-border venture which provides advice and resources for stakeholders, in addition to carrying out risk assessment, policy development, education and awareness activities, research and development of invasive species action plans.

Inland Fisheries Ireland: State agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

Environmental Protection Agency: State agency focused on the protection, improvement and restoration of our environment through regulation, scientific knowledge, and collaboration –

National Parks and Wildlife Service: A statutory body responsible for the conservation of habitats and species in Ireland.

Freshwater Habitats Trust: a UK based charity, and project partner of Legacy4LIFE, working to conserve freshwater wildlife for everyone to enjoy.

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) Aquatic Plant Project: aimed at improving aquatic plant identification skills and increasing recording across Ireland. Resources from the project, including webinars, are free to view.

PONDERFUL (POND Ecosystems for Resilient Future Landscapes in a changing climate): a H2020 “Research and Innovation Programme” project funded by the European Union within the Call: Inter-relations between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust: UK wetland conservation charity with new campaign on how to create mini-wetlands.

Further Reading

 - Cereghino R, Biggs J, Oertli B, Declerk S (2007) ‘The ecology of European ponds: defining the characteristics of a neglected freshwater habitat. Hydrobiologia’ 597(1): (1-6.)

- Oertli B, Biggs J, Cereghino R, Grillas P, Joly P, Lachavanne J-B (2005) Conservation and monitoring of pond biodiversity. Aquatic Conservation Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems 15(6): 535-540. 

- Gilbert, PJ., Taylor, S., Cooke, DA., Deary M, Cooke M, Jefferies MJ et al. (20174) Variations in sediment organic carbon among different types of small natural ponds along Druridge Bay, Northumberland, UK. Inland Waters. 4(1), 57-64.

- Taylor, S., Gilbert, PJ., Cooke, DA.,Deary M, Jefferies MJ  et al. (2019) High carbon burial rates by small ponds in the landscape. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 17(1), 25-31.

- Trodd W, O’Boyle S, Gurrie M (2022) Water Quality in Ireland 2016-2021. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford.

- Ramsar (2022) Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands “Wetlands Action for People and Nature” Geneva, Switzerland, and Wuhan, China 5-13 November 2022.

- Robotham J, Old G, Rameshwaran P, Sear D, Gasca-Tucker D, Bishop J, Old J, McKnight D et al., (2021)’ Sediment and Nutrient Retention in Ponds on an Agricultural Stream: Evaluating Effectiveness for Diffuse Pollution Mitigation. Water.’13(12)


EU LIFE, DHLGH (Department of Housing, Local Government, and heritage), An Taisce, European Climate Fund