World Water Day takes place on 22nd March each year and focuses on the importance of freshwater throughout the world.
Here in Mindenhurst we are situated very close to the fresh waterway of the Basingstoke Canal. We also have the new village pond, which in addition to being great for wildlife, is an essential part of the Mindenhurst Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). The SuDS network of swales, ditches and channels manage the surface water run off across the development and form part of the protection for the Basingstoke Canal SSSI. The pond is an integral part of this system and helps to break down pollutants in the water through natural processes before the water eventually flows downstream and into the canal.
Our village pond is also a welcome natural habitat as it encourages plants and wildlife to thrive. Since it was built in 2018 the vegetation that was originally planted has been thriving. The damp meadow grass, wetland, marsh planting, and submerged planting has welcomed many species and provides an important habitat for biodiversity, especially birds, amphibians and invertebrates such as dragonflies. This new habitat also contributes to the biodiversity net gain strategy of the development.
You may have noticed that the Village Green pond forms a coverage of algae and duckweed during the warmer months. The presence of this coverage indicates that there is a high level of nutrients present in the pond. It is natural for a pond to develop this coverage during an annual cycle, however, it is important that this coverage is managed to avoid poor water quality in the pond. The pond is regularly inspected to ensure this cover does not adversely affect the biodiversity within the pond. Regular maintenance activities also take place which can include the direct removal of the coverage and dredging however this is done in a controlled and sensitive way. The timing of the management is important for protecting biodiversity, therefore, scheduled maintenance on a pond will usually be carried out in the autumn or winter, when waterfowl, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates are less active.
The objective for the pond in the long-term is to provide a good quality aquatic habitat for biodiversity, which also acts as an important part of the SuDS network.