Jim Storey writes:
“Parts of our nature reserve are not now classified as in an horrendous state, but a major part still is! So we still have a long way to go – which is what our Clearwater Campaign is about.
Up to this year Natural England had always classified Fleet Pond as one SSSI unit and that it was 95% deteriorated and still deteriorating. We and the Rangers had felt this did not take account of the significant work done by FPS volunteers and the Ranger Service to upgrade the wetland (reedbeds and marshes) and heathland and return them to high grade SSSI status. Natural England has now divided Fleet Pond reserve into units so that each of the habitats can each be assessed on their own merit. The wetlands and heaths are now classified as “deteriorated but improving” (it takes several years for our habitat work to show full effect) but the Pond itself remains 95% deteriorated and worsening.
This has two implications: first we should now be concentrating efforts on restoring SSSI quality to the Pond. It also means that unless we do restore the Pond it will eventually have serious impact on the “improving” nature of the wetlands. They rely on the Pond both for saturation levels but also to deter intrusion and disturbance. The improving wetland habitat therefore remains at risk if the Pond continues to deteriorate.
So what does this mean? We can’t rest on our laurels and need to keep on top of managing the heathland and wetland habitats. And we need to ramp up efforts to improve the state of the Pond itself. This is what our Clearwater Campaign is all about and we’ll keep you in touch with how that progresses.
We have also tried to answer any questions you might have, see here. If you have any additional queries please do not hesitate to get in touch, either by leaving a comment on this post or else directly contacting Colin Gray (details in About page above).”
For further information on the environmental status of Fleet Pond, see the Natural England site here (see also picture above taken from this site). A previous post on a depth survey of Fleet Pond is also very illuminating.
SSSIs are the country’s very best wildlife and geographical sites. They include some of the most spectacular and beautiful habitats; wetlands teeming with wading birds, winding chalk rivers, flower-rich meadows, windswept shingle beaches and remote upland peat bogs. There are over 4,000 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England, covering around 7% of the country’s land area.