This chapter covers the planting and initial management of new ponds and other waterbodies. A pond management plan is included here.
Left unmanaged, new ponds will eventually support a variety of plant and animal species which will spread naturally from other areas. This process of natural succession is of value and interest, but may not be the best option for most sites. Normally the process will be too slow, and will leave the new pond looking unattractive for a long period, and more likely to be a target for vandalism and dumping of rubbish. When vegetation does become established, it may be dominated by one or two species and lack the variety of a planted pond.
Carefully planned planting will attract a range of insects, birds and other organisms, as well as improving visual amenity. Planting protects the edges of ponds from erosion, and helps protect the liner from accidental and malicious damage. However, planting moves the pond succession forward, as the vegetative matter itself, and the silt and other material it traps, will reduce the volume of water, turning small, shallow ponds rapidly to marsh and scrub. For most created ponds, vegetation introduction and subsequent management will be essential.
Initial planting should leave some bare areas of mud which are valuable invertebrate habitat, and for birds to drink and gather mud for nesting. Subsequent management and use should ensure that there are always some areas of bare mud. Beaches of gravel or rounded stones are useful invertebrate habitat.