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The Royal Parks and national wildlife charity, Froglife, have partnered to bring dragonflies, toads, frogs, newts and other wildlife back to an important lake in Greenwich Park. The project has been made possible with contributions from Froglife and The Friends of Greenwich Park in addition to a £50,000 grant from Biffa Award.

The project aims to improve standing water habitats and enhance biodiversity in Greenwich Park and a focus is to rejuvenate the Flower Garden Lake at the southern end of the park which dates back to the 17th century.

The value of the Flower Garden Lake to wildlife has declined greatly since the early 20th century due to an increase in fish population, high numbers of wildfowl and the sterile nature of the concrete pond liner, all of which have led to an increase in the nutrient levels and algae in the water. By installing new floating rafts which support a rich variety of aquatic plants in the pond, we hope to encourage wildlife back to the area.

Graham Dear, Greenwich Park Manager, said:

“The project provides an exciting opportunity to significantly increase biodiversity within the park in addition to creating a special place for visitors, local residents and children to enjoy and learn about nature.”

A new wildlife pond has also been created in the nearby deer park, receiving clean water run-off from a nearby building. Park staff and volunteers helped plant the pond with aquatic plants such as the upright white flowered Arrowhead and scrambling blue flowered Brooklime. During the planting work three species of dragonfly were seen breeding in the pond and laying eggs on plants that had only been in the pond for a few minutes!

Alex Draper, Conservation Officer at Froglife, said:

“This is a great project. We are creating over five hundred square metres of new pond planting around the Flower Garden Lake. We are trying a rather innovative idea of creating open water pools among a colourful range of aquatic plants such as Branched Bur-Reed, Flowering Rush and Yellow Fringed Lily, which will provide homes for zooplankton, invertebrates and amphibians.”

Liz Coyle, Chairman of the Friends of Greenwich Park, said:

“We welcome the significant improvement that this project will bring to the water habitat and wildlife in the park and are pleased that a financial contribution from the Friends has helped to make this possible.”

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Alex Draper from Froglife on 01733 558 844/ 07535 357 137 or alex.draper@froglife.org

Joanna Hughes from The Royal Parks on 0300 061 2128 or jhughes@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

About the Greenwich Pond Project

The project will contribute to targets of the London Standing Water Habitat Action Plan (HAP) of which Froglife is a lead partner. It will also support the UK Pond HAP, London Reed Bed HAP, and the Greenwich Waters Edge, Rivers, Ponds and Wetlands HAP.

The project has five main outcomes:

  1. Create 520m2 of marginal/emergent vegetation zone to restore ecological function to the Flower Garden Pond.
  2. Create a new wildlife pond (100m2) in deer park to create a pond complex in park.
  3. Increase diversity of plant, zooplankton, invertebrate and amphibian populations in the ponds and park
  4. Improve (lessening of intensity and type of feed) in duck feeding practices by public
  5. Train staff and volunteers in pond management and amphibian surveys and monitoring

About Froglife

Froglife is a UK wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles - working with people, enhancing lives together for a healthier planet.

Froglife's Living Water Project is creating and restoring prime wildlife habitats in urban gardens and parks, using networks of local volunteers that focus on rejuvenating our cities' disappearing ponds. Launched in May 2008, initially in North London, the project has since spread to South London and to Glasgow, Froglife's first venture in Scotland. In 2010 we launched the North Lanarkshire Living Water project and are currently looking for funding to take the scheme to other cities.

For further information please visit: www.froglife.org

About The Royal Parks

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Greenwich Park, one of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Greenwich Park hosts the Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory as well as being part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site which is home to National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. The oldest enclosed Royal Park, Greenwich dates back to 1427 and offers spectacular views across the River Thames to St Pauls Cathedral and beyond.

Greenwich Park will play a role in the London 2012 Games hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian competitions and the combined running and shooting event of the modern Pentathlon.

The Royal Parks are: Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James's Park. The Royal Parks also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.

For further information please visit: www.royalparks.org.uk.

For media enquiries contact: 0300 061 2128 or press@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk.

About The Friends of Greenwich Park

The Friends of Greenwich Park was set up in 1992 to support Park management, encourage an informed interest in Greenwich Park, the oldest of the Royal Parks, and to raise funds for special projects. It has a membership of nearly 1600, including 30 corporate Friends. For further information please visit: www.friendsofgreenwichpark.org.uk.

About Biffa Award

Since 1997, the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (aRSWT) has been awarding grants to environmental and community projects under the fund name Biffa Award. The fund administers money donated by Biffa Group Ltd, a leading integrated waste management business.

Under the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996, landfill operators like Biffa Group Ltd are liable for taxes on waste deposited in landfill sites. The Landfill Communities Fund allows them to donate a small percentage of their tax liability to projects working to improve communities living within the vicinity of landfill sites. To date, Biffaward has awarded grants totalling more than £125 million to hundreds of worthwhile projects.

http://www.biffa-award.org

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