Students restore Brambell pond
by Daniel Roberts (Chairman of Bangor University Wetland Society)
With tools and equipment borrowed from the University’s Botanic Garden at Treborth, Bangor University Wetland Society undertook the restoration of the neglected six-meter diameter walled pond behind Brambell building on Deiniol Road earlier this year.
Thirty years have passed since the pond was last attended to and it has since become overgrown with willow, flag iris and pheasant grass, not to mention the surrounding area being dominated solely Japanese knotweed and bamboo. It was therefore an intimidating situation to tackle between a few students.
After clearing a good portion of vegetation from around the pond the team were able to don the waders and jump in, discovering that the depth exceeded 1.2m in the centre with tapered sides. The willow was removed and the floating vegetative mat broken up to remove as much organic build up as possible and create open-water spaces.
As part of the wetland science department at Bangor University, water samples were taken to monitor the effects of the restoration.
Unfortunately, it was discovered that a hole had been knocked into the wall of one of the outer planters causing the water level to fall by approximately one foot. The team aim to block this outflow in the near future, which will simultaneously reduce the ability of invasive species to colonise the tapered pond margins that are currently exposed. Over seven full bin bags of vodka bottles and beer cans were unearthed during the process highlighting the need for regular maintenance.
Since the first work-day, the Japanese knotweed has returned with a vengeance and will require specialist treatment that the students cannot provide, and due to the dry conditions of May the water level has dropped further as well as buddleia starting to grow inside the pond. More recent visits have shown an increase in use of the pond by birds and insects however, while the water quality is visibly better in the areas that were managed (main image).
After concluding the majority of their courses, the students will be back to carry on with the hard work they have started to restore the pond and create not only a valuable learning resource and monitoring opportunity for future students of the School of Biological Sciences and the newly-founded Wetland Society, but a space for people and wildlife to visit and thrive.
If you’d like to help look after Brambell pond, please contact Jo at Bangor University’s Sustainability Lab