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.