June/July 2007

From the outset of the project, it was important that the Decoy Pond be restored in the correct manner. The previous attempt at dredging the pond had only really provided an ideal depth for the common reed to thrive in. The pictures below show these effects. The committee members of the club, having never undertaken such a project decided that guidance would be required, as information and knowledge would be vital to the success of this project. Mr Dominic Martyn, Technical Officer- Fisheries & Bio-Diversity for the Loddon & Blackwater catchment of the Environment Agency was contacted, and, after a site visit along with some discussions, offered his services.

To those club members that regularly took part on the working parties along the river banks, putting the effort into physically clearing the reeds and vegetation initially would not be a problem as the house management had offered the club the use of their tractors and trailers etc. The planning side of things would be something new to all, and this is where the club would need advise. The club were given an outline for a management plan that would need to include all of the processes involved with restoring the pond to a fishery.

Because the pond is contained within the flood plain of the the Loddon & Blackwater Rivers, various considerations and guidelines had to be followed. The management plan would have to take into account all of the possibilities of what could be done to the pond with the manpower and finances the club had. 

The pictures below show the condition of the Decoy Pond before the work started in June 2007. It was important to have an account of this project, not only for historical purposes but also the knowledge it would hopefully provide along the way and for future club members who many or may not be involved at a later date.

June 2007 June 2007 June 2007 June 2007

The work on cutting back the reeds began in earnest in late June which would hopefully expose the lake in its entirity to give an overall picture of the area that the club had to work with. The advice at this stage was to only remove the reeds just below water level and leave the root stock intact. Although this would mean keeping any new growth under control in the future, the root system was already available for planting elsewhere once the major landscaping work had been done.

Reed Cutting Commences Reed Cutting commences Reed Cutting Commences Reed Cutting Continues

From the pictures above, it can be seen that in places, the reed line spanned some 12 to 15 feet into the lake from the bank edge. The reeds were cut down using petrol driven brush cutters with hedge trimmer attachments by the club members in waders. The accumulated silt on the bottom of the pond was very sticky in places making the going very tough in places. The cut reeds were then floated to the bank and burned.

The work contiuned on a fortnightly basis through June & July until the big floods in mid July. This stopped any physical work on the lake for obvious reasons, the only bonus arising from the floods was the removal of a large tree trunk which had floated clear of the lake bed and ended up on the bank leaving it free to be sawn up. During this  slow period the management plan started to take shape bringing together the geographic location of the pond and its history where known. Plans were made for the forthcoming working parties to measure the pond and how to best take  silt depth measurements for the calculation of removal quantities.