New floating island created at Eastbourne’s Motcombe Gardens

Motcombe Pond SUS-160524-151421001
Motcombe Pond SUS-160524-151421001

A new floating island has been created as part of a project to improve biodiversity at Motcombe Pond.

This replaces a smaller island that was removed earlier this year along with heavy silt that was causing problems such as reduced oxygen levels, slower water flow and increased algae.

The floating island has plants which provide a good habitat for wildlife and these are protected from wildfowl grazing by wire mesh. A duck house has also been built to safeguard eggs that were being taken by gulls.

Councillor Steve Wallis, Lead Cabinet Member for Place Services, said, “This important project to improve the wildlife conditions at Motcombe Pond is progressing well.

“Now the floating island is in place, we will be carrying out further works to enhance the biodiversity over the next few months. These will provide a better habitat for wildlife and offer less cover for predators.”

The biodiversity project being carried out by Eastbourne Borough Council has seen 2.8 million gallons of water diverted around the pond - the source of the Bourne Steam from which Eastbourne derived its name - and into the watercourse.

Under the supervision of ecology experts, the pond was desilted in February. Fish were removed, with non-native fish re-homed and eels and sticklebacks placed in the water downstream to repopulate the pond naturally by returning in their own time.

A layer of silt was retained in the base of the pond for eels.

The silt is drying out on site and will be graded, levelled and seeded over the lawns at the end of the summer as a soil improver.

Additionally, with the gates near the bowling club needing to be removed for excavations, the opportunity was taken to send them away for renovations and they were replaced following the de-silting works.

Carolyn Heaps, Chair of Friends of Motcombe Gardens, said, “We are grateful for the ongoing work to upgrade the pond and our thanks to the Council for continuing to invest in parks and gardens.

Communications have been excellent, providing people with full information about the work that is being carried out.”

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