Pond life booming thanks to Wearside restoration scheme

A wildlife pond at Herrington Country Park.
A wildlife pond at Herrington Country Park.
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DILAPIDATED ponds across Wearside will be restored in a new project that has just received funding.

A range of work will be undertaken at 33 sites across the region and this will help boost the numbers of wildlife species such as great crested newts, grass snakes and otters.

Tasks will include the clearance of vegetation, removal of silt and the creation of areas of open water which will provide improved habitats for water creatures.

The new scheme, which is being undertaken by the Durham Biodiversity Partnership, received almost £120,000 in funding.

It is hoped that when completed, the newly revamped ponds will be of a standard similar to those at Herrington Country Park.

Research had found that over 75 per cent of the ponds that existed at the beginning of the 20th century have now been lost and that 80 per cent of the remaining ponds are in a poor condition.

Helen Ryde, from Durham Biodiversity Partnership, said: “Ponds are really important freshwater habitats that are often undervalued.

“They support more rare and protected species than rivers, lakes or ditches yet have been subject to intense pressure within the landscape. This project will help restore the network of ponds, which provide important stepping-stones for wildlife such as dragonflies, water voles, toads and newts to move across the landscape.”

Across the 33 sites a total of 39 news ponds will be created in Sunderland, Durham and Gateshead.

The funding has come from the SITA Trust, which provides community and environmental groups with grants to help the complete various projects.

Jools Granville, from SITA Trust, said: “Our panel of wildlife experts was very impressed with this application.

“It is a very ambitious and well planned project that will create a lot of habitat over a large area and we are very much looking forward to being the funding partner in it.”

Other partners include Durham Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, Durham County Council and Sunderland City Council.

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