A project to make Motcombe Pond an ‘oasis’ for wildlife again is taking place.
Officers from Eastbourne Borough Council have been working with ecology experts and other specialists on a project to improve the biodiversity of the pond, in Old Town.
Over the years the pond, the source of the Bourne Stream – from which Eastbourne derived its name – had become heavily silted.
As a result, oxygen levels were reduced in the water, the flow of water is slower and the presence of algae greatly increased.
Councillor Steve Wallis, Lead Member for the Environment, said, “I can remember when Motcombe Pond was an oasis, not just for the wildlife, but for local residents too. This work will ensure the pond is free from similar levels of silt for many years to come, allowing people to enjoy it, and the natural world to thrive in it.”
An ecologist has been on site throughout the project to ensure there was no risk to the wildlife, with one of the first tasks being the removal of all the fish. A surprise find was a population of eels. Eels have been in decline for over 30 years and to protect them in the future a layer of silt will be retained in the base of the pond.
Similarly, the pond margin contained a lot of amphibians, so this has been maintained as habitat.
Councillor Wallis added, “Over recent years the council and partners have transformed the pond and surrounding areas in Hampden Park and I am delighted we are now completing an equally important project in Motcombe Gardens.”
The silt is being retained on site. While the use of some of the grassed area will be lost temporarily, this will be for one season only. It is a natural soil improver and fertiliser for the trees, shrubs and lawns.
Additionally, with the gates near the bowling club needing to be removed to allow access for the excavators and other machinery, the opportunity was taken to send them away for renovation and refurbishment prior to returning them to the gardens.
The removal of the silt was completed on February 24 and the gates and arch will be returned by March 11.
Carolyn Heaps, Chair of Friends of Motcombe Gardens, said, “I am delighted with all the work carried out in Motcombe Gardens recently. It is great to know that the wildlife is healthy and now our lovely pond is clean and actually reflects the blue of the sky after many years of looking dull and murky.
“Thank you to the Council and all the professionals involved in this invaluable work.”
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