Frog Island Pond, Upnor

We were first involved in restoring the pond, with other groups, in the 1990s. The site was an attraction for wildlife in the area and provided a quite oasis away from the busy urban area of Strood. The pond was cleared of reeds and the majority of the New Zealand Pygmy Weed, a noticeboard, two benches and a dipping stage was installed. Over the following years we paid for volunteers to remove the reeds that were choking the pond, but there was a general lack of maintenance and the dipping stage had to be removed. The hedgerow that separated the site from Upnor Road had been damaged and the a section was removed rather than trimmed, by Medway Council's Highways Department. The banks of the pond had become overgrown and there was a lot of wild scrub. Local residents and DCPS members brought this too our attention and it was decided that we needed to take urgent action to restore it and ensure it was managed in the future.

 

As  this site was owned by Medway Council we had to get their permission and involvement in the restoration works.  A committee was formed in 2009 to raise funds and plan the works. Funding was received from the EON Community Investment Fund (£1,000) and from the Frindsbury Extra Parish Council (£100), Medway Councillor Peter Hicks Ward Fund and Medway Council themselves, along with an annual commitment of £350 from DCPS. Frindsbury Cricket Club also offered to help and made their pavilion available for volunteer days at the pond (they also helped out with the work).

 

To ensure we knew what the site has to offer and make sure we had a plan of works for now and in future years, a five-year management plan was commissioned from Kent Wildlife Trust. We then planned and carried out a couple of action weekend on site in early November 2010 (major environmental works have to be done in late autumn, winter and very early spring to avoid disrupting the wildlife and plants).

 

Over the first weekend there was a major site clearance (with the involvement of DCPS, Medway Council, Frindsbury Crocket Club, the Medway Riverside Volunteers and local residents} and limited access to the far side of the pond was achieved. This showed what can be done and indicated the potential of the site.  The next weekend the digger moved in and removed about 75% of the reeds and restored some of the pond depth. The gap in the hedgerow was replanted and extended, and thick plastic laid on the reminder of the New Zealand Pygmy Weed that had not been cleared before. The pond excavations were stored on the poolside and left to drain in the following months (an invertebrates could find their way back into the pond). This has made the poolside unaccessible for a while, but there are future plans.

 

 

In April 2011, it is planned to remove most of the remaining excavations, install new seating and a new noticeboard. Then the pondside can be restored again. If we are able to raise funds we would like to create a pathway across he main pond side to connect the noticeboard, seating and possibly a new 're-cycled plastic' dipping stage so that people with pushchairs and limited movement can also access the site.

 

In the future there will be more to do to maintain the site. Volunteer help and funding will be required.






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