6 October 2008

Newts receive Countdown 2010 lifeline

Great crested newts, rare algae-like plants and water-beetles are among a list of species to benefit from a new Froglife project.

The ‘Ponds in the Landscape’ project will be launched later this year, thanks to funding, announced today, from Natural England’s Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund.

The project will work to stop the declining status of ponds in the Cambridgeshire area by working with farmers, local councils and the public.

Focusing on 16 sites, ‘Ponds in the Landscape’ will restore and create habitats for a number of target species, including great crested newts and stoneworts (rare algae-like plants). The project will help produce management guides for the key pond areas, as well as contributing to a strategy that will put in place actions to make sure pond habitats can be saved in Cambridgeshire.

“Ponds are one of the key places for wildlife in the county – they’re crucial for sustaining many rare species, and act as important stepping stones in landscapes that have been fragmented by human activity. They also have important health benefits too.” said Kathy Wormald, Froglife’s Chief Executive.

“Our ‘Ponds in the Landscape’ project will help us bring together the infrastructure for getting ponds, and other areas of standing water in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, adequately protected, now and in future. It’s an exciting step forward.”

Ponds are a priority habitat for wildlife in the region because numerous species are dependent on them for water, breeding and finding food. Amphibians particularly will benefit from the project, not least the Great Crested Newt – a species that has faced enormous declines in the region as a result of pond loss in the last fifty years.

‘Ponds in the Landscape’ will benefit the region’s human population too. Part of the project will focus on innovative ways in which freshwater ecosystems can help prevent floods, as well as enhancing water quality and improving the region’s environmental credentials.

The project will bring together a number of organisations in the region, committed to wildlife conservation, including: The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northampton and Peterborough; the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group; Buglife; Plantlife, Produce World Limited and a host of others.

For more information on Froglife's work in the area: www.froglife.org/peterborough

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