11 March 2009

Froglife says “Just Add Water”

Pond numbers in the UK’s countryside have dropped sharply in the last century, but Just Add Water, a new campaign launched by Froglife, is hoping to help lessen the impact to Britain’s biodiversity by encouraging people to dig ponds closer to homes, in the UK’s towns and cities.

These new ponds, it is hoped, will provide new breeding places for some of the UK’s widespread amphibians, many of which are thought to be disappearing in some regions.

Some species, like the Common Frog and Smooth Newt, are known to colonise new ponds quickly if present locally. Common Toad is also known to frequent garden ponds, particular larger ones. Yet many of these species are disappearing from sites across the UK, often driven by loss of crucial breeding ponds.

The Common Toad is now listed on the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) ‘watchlist’ due to recent declines.

Just Add Water will provide information to the public on how to build ponds, through a new advice booklet and website (www.froglife.org/justaddwater).

“85% of the population have gardens, and many of these can be made frog-friendly by adding a pond.” said Daniel Piec, Froglife’s Head of Conservation. “Within months, ponds often become an oasis for local wildlife – providing feeding and breeding grounds for a host of amphibians, and many important invertebrates, mammals and birds.”

“What we’re calling for is for gardeners to put down the trowel, reach for the spade and get digging.” said Mr Piec.

The Just Add Water campaign is centred around a new booklet called ‘Just Add Water – how to build a wildlife pond’. The free booklet offers advice on a variety of subjects: from what shape to dig, how deep to go, and where to get the water, to technical advice on making ponds safe for young children.

The Just Add Water campaign is supported by a number of organisations including The Environment Agency, the UK government agency concerned mainly with flood risk and water resource management and environmental protection, but which also has a key role to play in promoting conservation of water and wetland wildlife.

Alastair Driver, the National Conservation Manager for the Agency said: “Ponds are very special places for wildlife and for people, but so many have fallen rapidly into disrepair due to bad design. The expert guidance in this excellent booklet can change all that, and we are sure it will ‘spawn’ many new frog habitats that are built to last!”

Froglife would like to thank the following organisations for their support for Just Add Water: Bridge House Trust; British Waterways; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Biodiversity Partnership Fund; Essex & Suffolk Water; Kaiser Trust – supporting the community; Natural England; Northumbrian Water; and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Get digging: www.froglife.org/justaddwater


harrisr4 said...

I'm so delighted that there is beginning to be a more sustained attitude towards frogs.I dug a pond out a few years ago and dutifully put in a small fountain.No sign of anything much.After reading up on the subject I dispensed with the fountain,went up to my local aquarium and sought further advice.I purchased 2 plants and another oxygenating floating piece of plant life.This week I found a massive area of frog spawn and I can't stop looking at it with awe!The problem is the two plants died and now I'm concerned about what the emerging tadpoles will attach to.Regards Ruth

Anonymous said...

I dug a pond in my garden about 8 years ago and it is home to frogs,newts, diving beetles, and lots of interesting insects. The frogs spawn each year but as expected, the majority of tadpoles never reach maturity. About 5 years ago I bought a tank and laminated instructions on how to raise tadpoles (from www.uksafari.com a brilliant site) and now keep tadpoles until they become little froglets, then release them around my pond.Last year I successfully released over 200 frogs (I now have 2 tanks). Of course, not all will survive but I hope it helps my local frog population. It is absolutely fascinating and I look forward to obtaining my tadpoles every year.
Try it yourself but be prepared to boil up a lot of lettuce!

Anonymous said...

I made a small wildlife friendly pond just over a year ago,to my delight last week i found frogspawn with a resident frog apparently guarding it,is this usual behaviour?

AndrewG said...

I dug a pond last autumn (2008) and built as bank at the back which I am planting with native flowers. I created a sheleter area of logs and large stones on aledge between the pond and the bank. I have now started planting in and around the pond. Although not a large pond - around 2m X 1.5m and 600mm at its deepest - about a third of the surface is covered in frog spawn