Million Ponds: Biodiversity Action Plan species

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Million Ponds: Biodiversity Action Plan species

This is a list of 58 species associated with ponds, which are targeted for pond creation as part of the Million Ponds Project. The list is not definitive.


Habitat of the species

BARS target or BRIG action addressed by pond creation


Bearded Stonewort (Chara canescens)

Occurs in ponds at a range of sites, ideally needs a succession of new ponds to provide bare substrates (N. Stewart, pers.comm.).

New species so not listed on BARS yet.

Contributes to species priority action S1: Maintain open conditions of existing water bodies and create new bodies for colonisation (Peterborough brick pits)

Baltic Stonewort

(Chara baltica)

A perennial of mildly brackish ditches, dune slack pools and lakes/ broads on sandy substrates close to the sea.

Contributes to species priority action S3: Actively create suitable habitat for colonisation (e.g. through peat cutting, dune pool creation)

Convergent Stonewort (Chara connivens)

Occurs mainly in larger coastal freshwater sites. Also present in smaller pools e.g. at RSPB Hodbarrow (Cumbria)

Contributes to BARS Target 2:

Establish viable populations at 4 extant sites by 2010.

Dwarf Stonewort (Nitella tenuissima)

Found in calcareous fenland, where it occurs in shallow peaty pools and ditches in depths of up to 1 m (original BAP). Recently, the management for this species has been scraping shallow peat pools.

Contributes to BARS Targets 1 and 3:

T1. Establish viable populations at 4 extant sites by 2010.

T2. Re-establish at three historic sites through restoration by 2010.

Tassel Stonewort (Tolypella intricate)

A species of clean water pools, canals, ditches, poached edges of ponds and wheel-ruts that are dry during the summer (original BAP). Now mainly found in temporary or fluctuating ponds.

Contributes to BARS Target 1: Maintain two extant metapopulations of this species. Contributes to species priority action S3: Pond creation to ensure suitable habitat available for colonisation.

Great Tassel Stonewort (Tolypella prolifera)

Slow-moving alkaline water in ditches, rivers and canals. Discussion with Nick Stewart indicates that a ditch-shaped pond at the Mepal site would be suitable for this species.

Contributes to BARS Target 1: Maintain viable populations of this species at 4 extant sites.

Foxtail Stonewort (Lamprothamnium papulosum)

Grows on sandy or silty substrates in depths of up to 2 m in coastal lagoons or lagoon-like habitats on the south coast and Outer Hebrides (Dorset, Hampshire, West Sussex, Uist)

Not listed on BARS. Contributes to species priority action S2: Ensure appropriate nutrient levels in water bodies near to extant populations (aim: stablise macrophyte vegetation) -

Ribbon-leaved Water-plantain (Alisma lanceolatum)

Occurs in lakes, ponds and ditches, particularly where bare sediments are periodically available.

Contributes to BARS target: T2. Establish and maintain a further five viable populations by 2015. Contributes to species priority actions: S2: Research measures to re-establish natural, ecological processes to enable this species to disperse across the landscape and form self-sustaining populations.

True Fox-sedge

(Carex vulpina)

Occurs by ditches and rivers, in meadows and in a Quercus-Crataegus thicket. It sometime grows in standing waters (Flora).

Contributes to BARS Targets: T1. Maintain the current range of true fox-sedge. T2. Increase populations at 2 sites by 2015.

Brown Galingale (Cyperus fuscus)

An annual of moist, open disturbed ground around the margins of ponds and by ditches, often on ground subject to winter-flooding.

(New BAP species). There are no BARS targets for this species.

Contributes to species priority actions: S3: At all sites, with appropriate management in place, consider measures to expand area of suitable habitat through creation of networks of linked ponds and ditches.

Starfruit (Damasonium alisma)

This annual grows on acid mud by small ponds where the habitat is kept open by fluctuating water levels and disturbance by grazing animals.

Contributes to BARS targets: T1. Maintain viable populations at nine extant native and introduced sites. T2. Establish and maintain viable populations at 2 historic sites by 2010, bringing the number of sites to 11.

Pygmy rush (Juncus pygmaeus)

Occurs in seasonally wet, compacted open ground such as in gateways and on wheel tracks, less often in natural areas of erosion and in quarries, on serpentine heathland. Occurs in Mediterranean temporary ponds on The Lizard (Cornwall).

Contributes to species priority action S3: Restore ephemeral pools and 'ruts' within heathland areas where the species has been recorded.

Cut-grass (Leersia oryzoides)

A rhizome-atous perennial of nutrient-rich mud around the cattle trampled margins of lakes and ponds, in ditches, on canal banks and riversides; formerly in wet meadows (Atlas)

Contributes to BARS target:

T1: Maintain the geographical range of cut-grass in Britain.

Fen Orchid

(Liparis loeselii)

In East Anglia, species-rich fens on infertile soils, and to old peat cuttings. Elsewhere, young dune-slacks

Contributes to species priority action S3: Establish suitable management at all known sites - creation of successional habitat through small scale disturbance (turf pond cutting, scrub clearance, etc.) and maintenance of appropriate hydrology and water quality.

Floating Water-plantain (Luronium natans)

Mesotrophic or oligotrophic lakes, pools and slow-flowing rivers, and abandoned or little-used canals.

Contributes to BARS target: T2: By 2010 increase connectivity of sites within two vulnerable lowland populations (Pembrokeshire & Severn Valley) through landscape enhancements and improvements to habitat.

Grass-poly (Lythrum hyssopifolia)

An annual of disturbed ground which is flooded in winter, including hollows and ruts in arable fields, and damp pastures disturbed in winter by numerous waterfowl (Flora). A temporary pond specialist.

(New BAP species). No BARS targets. Contributes to species priority action S3: Consider measures to expand populations from centre of range & connect isolated sites on a landscape scale, restoring suitable habitat where necessary.

Tubular Water-dropwort (Oenanthe fistulosa)

A perennial herb of damp or wet habitats, usually in areas of winter flooding. It occurs in meadows and pastures in the flood plains of rivers, in marshes and fens, and in emergent and fringing vegetation by rivers, streams, canals, ditches, lakes and ponds.

(New BAP species). No BARS targets. Contributes to species priority action S4: Research measures to re-establish natural, ecological processes which would enable this species to disperse across the landscape and form self-sustaining populations.

Pillwort (Pilularia globulifera)

Edges of non-calcareous lakes, reservoirs, ponds or slow-flowing rivers, and sometimes on damp mine workings or as a submerged aquatic .

Contributes to BARS targets: T1. Maintain current range of the species in the UK in 91 10-km squares. T2. Maintain extant viable populations in the 7 vulnerable areas.T3. Establish two new metapopulation within the species' historic range (excluding the New Forest) by 2010. Contributes to species priority action S3: Restore grazing to heathland complexes and ensure creation of water bodies within core areas to re-establish connectivity between individual sites to allow dispersal of species

Greater Water Parsnip (Sium latifolium)

This perennial herb was once typical of very wet, species-rich, tall-herb fen, which often developed as floating mats at the margins of lakes and large rivers; now it is generally found in ditches, growing amongst other emergent species or in reedswamp.

Contributes to BARS targets:

T1. Maintain the current range of greater water-parsnip in the UK.

T2. Increase the range from baseline by return of species at five historic sites by 2010.

Fen Violet (Viola palustris)

Grows in relatively open vegetation, often with patches of bare soil; favours areas that are seasonally wet; in Ireland grows on margins of seasonally fluctuating lakes

Contributes to species priority action.

S3: Encourage appropriate experimental management through stocking levels, turf cutting, etc. to attempt recovery of the species


Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail (Anisus vorticulus)

Now restricted to ditches in southern coastal grazing marshes; until the mid-1980s known from one species rich floodplain pond in Surrey.

Contributes to BARS Target 1 (the only target). Maintain the 7 distinct populations of little ramshorn whirlpool snail currently recorded

Shining Ram’s-horn Snail (Segmentina nitida)

Occurs today in drainage ditches in marsh levels, in clean hard water. Formerly it was also from lakes and ponds, often situated on former floodplains or in areas of reclaimed marshland.

Contributes to BARS targets:

T1. Maintain the current range for this species of 27 distinct sites within 14 10km squares. T2. Increase the population size within the current known sites.

Glutinous Snail (Myxas glutinosa)

Only known current site: Llyn Tegid (Gwynedd); formerly occurred in Kennington Pit, Oxford.

Contributes to BARS target:

T1: Ensure the known remaining population and any new populations found are maintained.

Mud Snail (Omphiscola glabra)

Lives in water low in nutrients in ponds and ditches or around seepages.

(New BAP species). There are no BARS targets for this species.

Flowering-rush weevil (Bagous nodulosus)

On Flowering-rush; currently known only in the Somerset Levels

(New BAP species). There are no BARS targets for this species.

Contributes to species priority action S1:

Manage the last known area to hold this species. Threats include: drainage, pollution and insensitive land management. Grazing must be managed to ensure survive of the host plant, Butomus umbellatus.

One-grooved Diving Beetle) (Bidessus unistritatus)

Confined to lowland, stagnant water bodies and slow drains.

Contributes to old BAP targets (not shown on BARS):

OT1. Maintain populations at all known sites. OT2. Enhance populations at known sites by 2010.Contributes to species priority action S2: A recent survey of all New Forest marlpits indicates that this species is confined to one pool in a complex. Introduction to other pools in this complex is proposed, taking advantage of recent removal of tree cover. If this is successful it is proposed that Bidessus unistriatus will be moved to other New Forest sites.

Zircon Reed Beetle (Donacia aquatica)

Amongst sedges on the edge of ponds, ditches, lakes and fens.

Contributes to species priority action S1: Wider countryside measures to conserve functional open water systems might benefit this species if focussed on protecting lake shores from encroachment by scrub through grazing mgt.

Spangled Water Beetle (Graphoderus zonatus)

Occurs only in ponds in Woolmer Forest (Hants). These include a deep, permanently flooded pond, with base covered by Sphagnum, created by peat cutting in 1895; pools resulting from military activities; and pools dug as breeding sites for Natterjack toads.

Old BAP targets: OT1: Ensure that at least four sub-populations are maintained within the Woolmer Forest area by 2010.

New Forest Mud Beetle (Helophorus laticollis)

Found in shallow grassy pools on heathland

OT1. Maintain populations at all known sites. OT2. Ensure populations at known sites have long-term viability. OT3. Restore pop’s to two suitable sites in the historic range by 2010.

Ron’s Diving Beetle (Hydroporus necopinatus)

Shallow pools on peat on exposed heathland in southern England. It is found in ruts created by vehicles and in small pools associated with artillery practice.

No BARS target at present.

Oxbow Diving Beetle (Hydroporus rufifrons)

Extremely shallow and temporary pools in unimproved pasture, often in old oxbow systems

Contributes to BARS target: T1: Ensure that viable populations are maintained within each of the areas currently occupied.

Puzzled Skipper (Laccophilus poecilus)

Occupies lowland rich fen, near the coast but not in brackish water.

There is no recent BARS target for this species. Recent work for this species includes pond creation at Lewes Brooks

Starlet Sea Anemone (Nematostella vectensis)

Saline coastal lagoons and ponds.

Contributes to species priority action:

S2: Introduce / re-introduce where suitable habitats occur.

Atlantic Stream Crayfish (Austropotam obius pallipes)


in a wide variety of environments, including canals, streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and water-filled quarries.

Contributes to BARS target:

T2 Achieve an increase in range of white-clawed crayfish in the UK by 59 10 km squares to 300 by 2030 (through creation of Ark Sites).

Lagoon Sand Shrimp (Gammarus insensibils)

Saline coastal lagoons and ponds.

Contributes to species priority action: S2: Appropriate management at three known sites to maintain and enhance populations. Restore, through relocation, populations to former sites. Threats include: Inappropriate management of saline lagoon habitat. Loss of habitat.

Tadpole Shrimp (Triops cancriformis)

Temporary ponds.

Contributes to BARS target: T1: Maintain the New Forest population in a healthy, dynamic state.

Jenning’s Ribbon Worm (Prostoma jenningsi)

A pond in Croston, Lancashire, the only known site in the world.

Contributes to species priority action (only one action): S1: Survey the only known site to establish the status of this species. Manage the site to prevent loss of water quality i.e. prevent pollution of the pond.

Pondweed Leafhopper (Macrosteles cyane)

Known from three ponds in Surrey and Sussex.

Contributes to species priority action: S3: Appropriate site management required. Management advice based on ecological studies, but especially in relation to management of emergent vegetation (particularly invasive species) and water quality in small ponds. This species is extraordinarily vulnerable: it occurs in small populations, usually in small ponds, often outside sites managed for conservation, which are very vulnerable to neglect or inappropriate management and changes to water quality.

Yellow Mayfly (Potamanthus luteus)

This species is restricted to a single river system: the Welsh River Wye, whose population has suffered a catastrophic collapse in the last decade. Larvae are found in large rivers in both riffle sites and small pools almost cut off from the main river.

Contributes to species priority action: S1: Threats include: Poor water quality - both persistent and catastrophic pollution events Changes to the structure and management of marginal and riparian vegetation etc. As adults are attracted to light, the positioning of bankside lights, such as road lights, may have a deleterious effect on breeding populations. River engineering work could eliminate side channels, and this could threaten populations of P. luteus

Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles)

Fen and grazing marsh dyke systems in Broadlands where it exploits unpolluted ditches and dykes, and occasionally small turf ponds.

Contributes to species priority actions: S3: Expand the (2006) English range by encouraging species re-establishment at up to three former sites in East Anglia by 2015. These sites should not be under current threat from sea-level rise. S4: If appropriate, increase the (2006) English range by conducting ‘Conservation Introductions’ (See BDS Guidelines for Re-introdns, 2006).

Sackformed moss animal (Lophopus crystallinus)

Lakes, ponds, ditches and slow rivers. Currently known from 3 sites, though may be considerably more widespread.

Contributes to BARS target: T2: Ensure adult colonies are present at 6 sites by 2010.

Window Winged Sedge (Hagenella clathrate)

The principal larval habitat is very small pools shaded by tussocks (primarily of Molinia). Associated with the margins of mire systems. Threatened by habitat loss due to site drying as trees invade.

Contributes to species action S3: Develop a way of increasing extent of small pool habitat at Chartley and Whixall to maintain and extend extent of a site that is utilised by this species.

Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius)

At the margin of peat pools on Redgrave and Lopham Fen, on grazing marsh ditches in the Pevensey Levels and on a disused canal in south Wales..

Potentially contributes to BARS targets: T1 Increase the overall range of the fen raft spider at Redgrave & Lopham Fen to 13 Ha of habitat occupied 3 years in 5 by 2010 and to 65 Ha by 2020. T2 No overall decrease in occupied range of fen raft spider at Pevensey Levels from that recorded in 1990 at any time. T3: Number of sites with sustainable populations of fen raft spider should be increased by 6 by 2010. By 2020 sites with sustainable populations should be increased to 12.


Natterjack Toad (Epidaleacalamita)

Found almost entirely on three habitat types: sand dunes, saltmarsh and lowland heath. The key habitat requirements are shallow (often ephemeral), warm ponds for breeding and open, sandy terrestrial habitats for foraging, dispersal and hibernation

Contributes to priority species action to S2: species specific action: Increasing the species range (and numbers of populations, by translocation and habitat improvement) is necessary to restore it to its former range. This requires habitat extent to be increased with better linkage between sub-populations. Could be included as part of heathland, saltmarsh or sand dune habitat plans, but only if species specific requirements are acknowledged and implemented.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Prefers larger water bodies in which to breed and, because toxins are also present in the skin of the tadpoles, able to breed in ponds and lakes containing fish which learn to avoid the distasteful tadpoles.

Contributes to priority species action to S3: Wider action planning: This amphibian would benefit from recognition of its habitat and management needs at the wider landscape scale. Taking account of/or determining its presence during the early stages of local authority development plans, land allocation (particularly brownfield sites) and then development schemes. Habitat management schemes such as agri/env, highways schemes, and land management by public bodies could significantly enhance its current conservation status. Satisfying the requirements of the WFD would help with water quality & supply issues. Countering the effects of habitat fragmentation at the local scale is a very high priority.

Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae)

Present at a set of pingo ponds in Norfolk.

Contributes to priority species action to S1: single species action: Continue releases from Swedish stock. Continue habitat management at release site, expanding pond numbers by tree clearance / thinning and managing the terrestrial habitat.

Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus)

Breeding sites are mainly medium-sized ponds, though ditches and other waterbody types may also be used less frequently. Ponds with ample aquatic vegetation (which is used for egg-laying) seem to be favoured. Great crested newts do not require very high water quality, but are normally found in ponds with a circum-neutral pH

Contributes to BARS Target 1: Achieve an increase in the number of occupied ponds from 100,000 to 120,000 by 2010.

habitat action- extent and condition: Loss and degradation of ponds (primarily as in 1, but also loss of post industrial pond sites) coupled with fish introduction/ invasive alien plant species have exacerbated habitat losses. Management to restore and create aquatic and terrestrial habitats to suitable conditions is required. A landscape approach needs to be taken so that the benefits of such schemes are maximised and the viability of the targeted populations are maintained.


Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)

Grass snakes visit a wide range of pond types to feed on amphibians and fish.

Contributes to priority species action to S2: grouped species action- general habitat management: Habitat management that provides suitable basking, feeding, breeding and hibernation sites in a connected landscape. Such management would include (not exhaustive list), scrub management, grassland, water management, providing habitat



Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

Breeding song thrushes require dense woody vegetation for nesting cover situated close to damp soils providing soil invertebrates.

Contributes to priority species action to S3: Carry out research on possible impacts of climate-change induced drying of the countryside, including the investigation of the role of bespoke measures (e.g. water retaining ponds and ditches) in addition to existing Agri-environment Scheme options.

Reed Bunting

Breeds in reedbeds, tall rushes and shrubbery on wet ground or at lake margins. Pond creation, ditch restoration and various waterside land management options should also be beneficial as long as emergent vegetation is provided along the edges of water bodies.

Contributes to priority species action to S2: More research is needed on solutions in pastoral areas, especially the provision of winter seed resources, and on means of creating small wet features in farmland. If appropriate trial management solutions.

Yellow Wagtail

Breed on marshy pastures, waterlogged meadows, besides lakes and at sewage farms. Studies show breeding territories associated with fields previously subject to prolonged winter floods and which contained shallow-edged ponds or wet ditches during summer.

(New BAP species). No BARS targets.

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrows show a marked preference for breeding

sites adjacent to aquatic habitats. Wetland habitats may play a key role in providing invertebrate food resources during the

breeding season..

Contributes to BARS target: T1: In England, increase the BBS index to 150% of the 2003 level by 2010. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales ensure the population is at 150% of the 2010 baseline by 2015. Immediate priority for these countries will be to establish the baseline population. Contributes to priority species actions:S2: Carry out research to establish species needs and hence identify solutions in pastoral areas

S3: Continue dedicated, integrated species recovery action

Northern Lapwing

Breeds on arable fields, pastureland or sea- or lakes-side meadows.

(New BAP species). No BARS targets.

Contributes to priority species actions:S1: Develop and implement a co-ordinated species recovery programme for lapwing.


Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris)

Mainly on well vegetated banks of lowland rivers, ponds, canals and drainage ditches.

Contributes to BARS Target 1: Maintain the current range (730 occupied 10km squares) of water vole in UK.

Contributes to priority species actions:S3: Maintain and, where appropriate, extend the area of suitable water vole habitat in National and Regional Key Areas

Soprano Pipistrelle

The soprano pipistrelle prefers riparian habitats whereas the common pipistrelle uses a wide range of habitats. Aquatic insects are an important part of the soprano pipistrelle's diet and so they often forage near fresh water habitats.

Contributes to priority species actions:S3: HABITAT BASED ACTION

Promote the creation, expansion and improvement of key habitats including wetland and features such as hedgerows and woodland edges.

All habitat-based action should ensure maximal foraging opportunities (e.g. species rich hedgerows and diverse wetlands).

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