Home Support system Giving ponds their dew in the fight against climate change

Giving ponds their dew in the fight against climate change

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We are using part of our Carbon Neutral Fund to create a new dew pond on the dunes.

Our Cityparks team will invest the £25,000 grant in a pilot project to create a new dew pond on the former Waterhall golf course, which is now a local nature reserve.

The pond will help increase biodiversity and be an important freshwater link in the mosaic of habitats across the council’s Downland Estate and the wider South Downs National Park.

It will also provide local children with the opportunity to learn about the wonderful wildlife that lives below the surface of the ponds and learn how nature can help heal the planet.

unsung heroes

Studies have shown that ponds are one of the unsung heroes when it comes to enhancing biodiversity and reducing the effects of climate change.

A dew pond will attract migrating birds, waterfowl, thirsty mammals and breeding frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies in the spring. They can be hotspots for many types of wildlife and plants that depend on wetlands, and they provide a stepping stone for species as they move across the landscape.

Dew pools are also remarkably effective for their size at removing C02 and greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide from the atmosphere – a process known as ‘sequestration’.

Create a freshwater survival system

Jamie Lloyd, Senior Biodiversity Advisor, said: “There has been an 84% collapse in populations of freshwater species since 1970*. This alarming statistic means we need to take action to protect and maintain wetland habitats.

“The Dew Ponds are part of the history of the South Downs and creating a new pond will have many benefits. They are the unsung heroes of the natural world and are on the front lines of climate action, supporting wildlife and capturing harmful emissions.

“Having a network of dew ponds on our doorstep will be a fantastic opportunity to engage the next generation on the positive effects of action on climate change and the protection of biodiversity. The council is proud to be part of a network of local organizations and community groups who work together to extend this support system for freshwater life in the South Downs.

*Source: World Wildlife Fund – Living Planet Index

Dew Ponds on the South Downs

Farmers originally created dew ponds as a source of water for their sheep. In an otherwise dry chalky landscape, these oases provide drinking water and are home to wildlife and plants that need this environment to survive.

It is estimated that 39% of the dew ponds in the South Downs region have disappeared and many more are no longer visible in the landscape.

We will be working on the project throughout the winter and spring so that the pond can fill with natural rainwater.

In September the council was part of a successful bid for the Heritage Lottery Fund which will help restore the pond in the village of Falmer, which has been badly affected by the hot, dry summers of recent years. The award of just over £130,000 in development funding is for wetland habitats in the South Downs National Park. Part of the money will go towards a feasibility study to restore the pond and we will work closely with the parish council and local community to bid for the next stage of the project.

Biodiversity is the life support system of the planet. Protecting and restoring nature underpins the health and well-being of people and wildlife in an age of climate change.

More information

Other dew pond projects in our area

Our partners

Wilding Waterhall also received £15,500 from the Carbon Neutral Fund in October to make accessible guided trails around the new Waterhall Local Nature Reserve. The funding will provide people with low-carbon options for getting to the site, provide a new electric vehicle and raise awareness of the positive actions we are taking to address climate change and the biodiversity emergency.

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Learn more about dew ponds in Brighton & Hove