FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Project with Pond Conservation secures HLF funding

Pond Conservation in Oxford has received initial support for a £900,000 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its ‘People, Ponds and Water’ project. FSC will be helping deliver part of the project.

The project aims to protect the UK’s freshwaters through conservation work on priority pond sites that are home to the ‘very best’ of our freshwater biodiversity – including many rare species – as well as help clean up water in our countryside.

Development funding of £64,000 has also been awarded to help Pond Conservation progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The ‘People, Ponds and Water’ project will involve people in its conservation work by running training sessions for groups on how to identify endangered species, and equipping them with the skills to manage sites for optimal protection of freshwater wildlife. Everyone – from school children to corporate groups – will also be able to participate in the ‘Clean Water for Wildlife Survey’, run in conjunction with FSC, in which the extent of water pollution will be assessed across England and Wales, and advice given on how local water sources can be improved so that freshwater wildlife can thrive.

Over the past 30 years, freshwater wildlife has declined more than any other group of species – either terrestrial or marine – with some of our most precious places under threat. This project will ensure the survival of the UK’s unique freshwater ecosystems – from the glacial ponds containing rare invertebrates in Norfolk, to tiny heathland ponds in Pembrokeshire, which provide niche habitat for critically endangered plants such as pillwort or starfruit.

Helping people to identify these freshwater rarities and how they can be preserved is an important part of the project. Volunteers will be able to discover the wonder of life underwater for themselves, as well as contribute to an important national project that conserves our natural heritage for all. Groups, such as the Thames Valley Probation Service volunteers, will also be able to assist with the practical conservation works required to clean up flagship freshwater sites.

Jeremy Biggs, Director of Pond Conservation, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support to create a national volunteer engagement network to protect our best freshwater sites, as well as clean up the widespread water pollution that impedes the survival of many of our most endangered species.’

Tuesday, May 21, 2013