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Bridport pond clean-up gives wildlife a helping hand
Work to restore an overgrown Bridport pond is giving water voles a helping hand.
The Environment Agency has been working on Allington Pond on the River Brit upstream of the Gundry Weir to create a sanctuary for the fast disappearing animal.
In future local people are being asked to take on the management of the area and use it as a valuable educational resource as well as a nature conservation tool.
Immortalised as Ratty by Kenneth Grahame in his childrens’ book Wind in the Willows, the water vole is now only found in a tiny fraction of rivers and streams where it was once a common sight. The main reasons for its decline are habitat loss and predation by the American mink. As well as boosting water vole numbers, the restored pond will provide a safe haven for a wide range of wildlife including fish, birds, amphibians, dragonflies and waterside plants.
The new habitat will compensate for the loss of a small area of bank beside Bridport Gundry weir where the Environment Agency is installing a fish pass to help salmon and sea trout migrate up the River Brit to spawn.
The silted-up pond was originally put in by the Agency in the 1980’s as part on a flood alleviation scheme. It has received virtually no maintenance in the last ten years and is completely overgrown with willow, alder, dogwood and nettles.
The restoration work involves the removal of young trees and scrub, de-silting of the pond, the installation of a silt-trap and creation of an island. The area will be especially useful at times of high river flows when it will serve as a refuge for fish fry and water voles. “We are very lucky in Bridport in that the area has a healthy water vole population and the local population has something to cherish and value,” said the Environment Agency Fisheries and Bio-diversity manager Richard Battersby.
“We own the land where the pond is, so this restoration is our way of giving them a helping hand for the future.
“We are working in partnership with Bridport town council and the local community to ensure the site is looked after.
“We would really love the community to get involved in looking after this area in the future to help not just the water voles, but all manner of species.”
Anyone interested in getting involved as a volunteer to continue the pond maintenance should contact the Environment Agency on 01258 483332.