An Under Used Resource
South Pond is only a step away from Midhurst’s historic town centre and all its vibrant independent shops. The criss-crossing paths around the Pond are much used by the community living nearby, and many people enjoy their lunch-hour in the park, or visit with their families to relax and often to feed the ducks. Yet many others in the town hardly know about the Pond, and rarely visit it. Few see its potential to enhance the town centre development proposals.
An Environment At Risk
A careful look at South Pond is all it takes to know that things could be better.
While the first impression is of a lovely natural feature right in the heart of Midhurst, a closer look reveals that the Pond is very run-down and in need of some tender loving care.
The water looks dull and lifeless. The surface is often floating with pollution, and some parts of the pond are congested with rubbish. The variety of plant and animal life that we would expect to see is not there, and the whole area is run-down and shabby, with broken and sagging concrete bordering the pond in some parts, instead of natural reed beds and plantings.
The plant and animal life around the feeder stream are fairly good, but the pond needs some help from us all to become a thriving natural environment once again.
Here are some of the challenges:
- The water quality is poor. This has been confirmed by tests done in recent years.
- The pond is overcrowded with carp, mallard ducks, Canada geese and black-headed gulls.
- The amount of waste material produced, supplemented by artificial feeding, is too great and has created serious pollution, limiting the range of plant life.
- Low oxygen levels in the water have resulted from the lack of sufficient oxygenating plants. This can be improved by a programme of planting and continued management
- High levels of silt need to be controlled by regulating the water flow into and through the pond which may also help with the flooding problem
There is a very limited range of pond life, due to a number of causes:
- The low levels of oxygen in the water that would sustain both plant and animal life.
- Too many predators, both fish and water fowl, consume the small water creatures, such as dragonfly and damselfly larvae and other water invertebrates, so that they never become established in the pond.
- A lack of a variety of habitats, such as reed beds and floating aquatic plants, discourages pond animals from establishing colonies in the pond. Major changes and effective management are needed to create the right habitats to attract a healthy range of pond life.
There are problems linked to feeding the ducks and geese.
- Feeding the ducks is something we have all enjoyed at times but it can have serious consequences for water birds and the pond environment.
- Read more about the consequences of duck feeding here.
All animals and plants in an ecosystem like South Pond are dependent upon relationships with each other, forming a sustainable community. In a thriving pond, all aspects act together to maintain a successful habitat, and the foundation of it all is good water quality, teaming with invertebrates and microscopic plant and animal life. At South Pond we have lost this balance.
However, with careful management ponds can be brought back to life, and support thriving communities of plants and animals. It would be wonderful if we could create the right environment so that South Pond could become once again a rich habitat, buzzing with life.