The conservation charity Froglife are pleased to announce that they have secured a grant of £8,600 from The Veolia Environmental Trust, through the Landfill Communities Fund, to create a wildlife pond at Ham Common Woods in Richmond. Froglife will work in partnership with the London borough of Richmond upon Thames to create a wetland oasis.
This habitat work will be delivered as part of Froglife’s HLF funded flagship project, London Dragon Finder, which is encouraging Londoners to help protect amphibians and reptiles across the city. Through surveying, mapping and creating new habitats, the project helps to conserve species like toads, frogs and newts – all of which are found in the bustling capital.
The project will improve and enhance the biodiversity value of an area of woodland at Ham Common Woods by creating a new large pond which will part of a network of new ponds in the woods. It is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation, next to Richmond Park and a Local Nature Reserve. Currently there are only wet hollows within the woodland which support breeding frogs during wet springs where there is sufficient standing water. There is also a common toad population on site which has been divided by roads. A mosaic of diverse marginal vegetation & open water will greatly improve the pond for these species.
This work is essential a recent study by Froglife and partners from The University of Zurich in Switzerland has shown that on average common toads have declined by 68% over the last 30 years in the UK. In some areas, such as London and the south east of England, declines have been even more pronounced.
Since October 2013 the London Dragon Finder project has improved habitats at over forty sites across the capital. “As our towns and cities have expanded the habitat available for wildlife has shrunk.” says Alan Shearman (London Dragon Finder Project Manager), “But, with some careful planning, and help from willing volunteers, we can still create the right conditions for wildlife to thrive in urban areas”.
Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said: “This is fantastic news for our beautiful borough and we’re delighted that our partnership work with Froglife has resulted in what will be a gorgeous wetland oasis courtesy of the funding provided by The Veolia Environmental Trust. The environment is a cornerstone of our work here at the Council and we know how much our natural habitats, parks and open green spaces mean to our residents.”
The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, adds, “We are really pleased to be able to support this exciting project and we look forward to seeing the finished pond and the frog and toad life it will support.’
Work is expected to be completed before the end of February in time for the breeding season.