We’re proud to help raise awareness and action for conservation in Nidderdale AONB. Below is the latest call-out from the team, who are seeking volunteers to help survey and safeguard its Priority Ponds.
Safeguarding our UK wildlife has never been so crucial, especially in light of the red list published today that reveals swifts and house martins are now endangered. It’s incredibly sad to see this decline.
Full release for the volunteer call out is below.
Volunteer Call Out to Help Discover Priority Ponds in the AONB
Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is seeking volunteers to help with two vital surveys set to take place in 2022 to help save and protect its ponds.
The new Priority Ponds Project Officer, Kate Wright, is seeking help to survey toad populations next spring, as well as carrying out clean water tests.
The project is thanks to funding through Yorkshire Water’s Biodiversity Programme. The work is in partnership with national charity, the Freshwater Habitats Trust.
The project follows the success of the AONB’s three-year citizen science project, The Wild Watch, which discovered over 1,000 ponds across the AONB, including previously unknown high status Priority Ponds.
The AONB would like to gather more information about the many ponds within the landscape, with a view to identifying more Priority Ponds.
Priority Ponds are those of high ecological value, and may support species or habitats of high conservation importance.
Iain Mann, Nidderdale AONB Manager, said: “We welcome Kate to this new and important role in the AONB team to help protect our ponds, as nationally data shows around 90% of ponds are in poor condition, with high extinction rates for freshwater species. Pond life increases landscape biodiversity by 25%, so strengthening our pond network is a huge priority. The support of volunteers in the AONB really is crucial.”
Kate Wright began her conservation career with the Freshwater Habitats Trust after obtaining a degree in Environmental Science from the Open University, followed by an MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds.
Kate said: “I’m hoping to share my passion for ponds and the excitement of discovering varied species in and around the water. I am particularly fond of toads, and hope that we can learn more about their distribution through the project. It’s also a joy to be working in beautiful Nidderdale AONB, which is very much my ancestral home.”
Kate, who lives in Leeds, has traced her family roots back to the 1600s in upper Nidderdale until her great-grandfather moved from Lofthouse to Leeds with the railways.
Kate hopes to recruit and train around 50 volunteers to survey a minimum of 100 ponds. The amphibian survey work takes around an hour, with water testing for nitrate and phosphate levels taking less than 15 minutes per pond.
As well as providing training for the pond surveys, short courses in specialist areas, such as dragonfly identification and pond management, will be run.
As well as assessing the clean water status of ponds at a landscape scale, the project aims to identify ponds that might benefit from further specialist surveys to more fully assess the species present. It will identify ponds that may benefit from works to maintain or restore their status, and identify areas where new pond creation would be most beneficial.
Nidderdale AONB will be conducting a number of surveys with owner permission; if you’d like your pond to be considered for surveying, please get in touch.
To get involved as a volunteer, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the project at freshwaterhabitats.org.uk
Notes to editors:
About Nidderdale AONB
Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Nature Beauty (AONB) is an area of 233 square miles located on the eastern flanks of the Yorkshire Pennines stretching from the high moorland of Great Whernside south and east towards the edge of the Vale of York. Designated as one of the UK’s protected landscapes, the AONB is home to over 16,000 people, as well as important habitats and wildlife, dark night skies, a rich history, and a diverse landscape. A dedicated AONB team works to protect and enhance this beautiful countryside and the qualities that make it so unique. nidderdaleaonb.org.uk
About Freshwater Habitats Trust
Freshwater Habitats Trust is an evidence-led environmental NGO working to protect freshwater biodiversity in the UK, and beyond, undertaking research and survey, practical conservation work and policy development. freshwaterhabitats.org.uk
About Yorkshire Water
We’re Yorkshire Water. The people trusted to take care of Yorkshire’s most valuable natural resource. On the surface, it sounds simple. We manage and look after the region’s water. But water is not quite like anything else. We’re not like any other business – and nowhere is quite like Yorkshire. Our work means much more than just supplying clean drinking water, taking away wastewater and looking after the region’s coast and countryside. We’re an integral part of Yorkshire life and millions of people who live and work here rely upon us, every single day.
We look after communities, protect the environment and plan ahead to look after Yorkshire’s water, today, tomorrow, always. 24/7, 365, we provide essential water and wastewater services to every corner of the Yorkshire region and play a key role in the region’s health, wellbeing and prosperity. That means over 5 million customers, and the millions of people who visit Yorkshire each year rely on us, every day. 140,000 businesses also depend upon the water we supply and the wastewater we take away to provide goods and services that support the economy – not only in Yorkshire, but across the United Kingdom and beyond. yorkshirewater.com