The new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy offers a significant opportunity to restore Scotland’s ecosystems and reverse species declines. Our natural environment is in crisis, and we urgently need an ambitious new strategy with clear targets.
Freshwater ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, providing habitat for a wide array of aquatic species while also helping to reduce the impacts of major threats including climate change, flooding, chemical pollution, and noise pollution. The number of good quality freshwater habitats in the UK are dwindling, with many ponds being filled in to make room for development, being polluted by chemical run-off, or being lost due to poor management.
Froglife has been tackling this issue through the Fife Living Waters project. This one-year project worked on Cowdenbeath Wetland and Swan Pond Nature Reserve both located in Cowdenbeath. Cowdenbeath Wetland, despite its name, was no longer functioning as a wetland due to late succession. Swans Pond had one large open water body, but it lacks biodiversity. To restore Cowdenbeath to a functioning wetland, and to improve the biodiversity value of Swans Ponds, we created 111 new ponds, restored 10, and enhanced 12 terrestrial habitats across both sites.
Creating open water bodies accommodates breeding amphibians, particularly newts, as the males require open water to perform their courtship display. However, the water bodies are also valuable habitat for many other wildlife species, including invertebrates, plants, birds, and small mammals. The terrestrial habitat was created to facilitate amphibian migrations as well as providing habitats for reptiles.
Additionally, the project delivered public engagement activities reaching circa 21% of the population of Cowdenbeath:
Volunteer Training: 100 sessions, 1,030 attendees.
- Pond, hibernacula, wildflower and bug house creation, scrub clearance, amphibian and reptile survey training courses and surveys, wildlife walks, willow weaving, mini beast hunt.
Community Engagement: 6 sessions, 154 attendees.
- 6 Wildlife Gardening Workshops.
School & Group Sessions: 10 sessions, 180 participants
- Amphibian and reptile ID, amphibian lifecycle craft, visits to school grounds, threats to amphibians and reptiles, quizzes.
Business Team Building Days: 4 days, 29 attendees
- Pond creation, seed bombs, hibernacula, nature walks, scrub management.
Event – 4 events with 1,174 people
- With Virtual Reality experience and ways to help amphibians and reptiles in your own space.