- Category: Decoy Pond
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January To June 2009
With 2008 now gone, fears of more floods and lost effort still lingered. One bonus though was the application by the club to the local parish for a grant had been approved. Swallowfield Parish Council had granted a sum of £250 to the restoration project which would eventually go to the purchase of materials to build the fishing stations around the edge of the pond.
The general work on the lake continued with just keeping on top of the new reed growth, marking swim positions and profiles around the pond edge to make features. The existing root stock from the reeds and yellow iris would be used to form raised shallow areas between swims to allow potential spawning and covered areas for the fish. The existing groups of Lillie's would also be removed and stored for future replanting. Any remaining water continued to be removed as and when time allowed, and in general the pond bed gradually began to dry out. During the warm weather in March the loss of water became more noticeable as nearly 50% of the pond hand no water cover. The plant life seemed to explode in the damp fertile silt covering large areas with an blanket of green and with any remaining water finding its way to the far end of the pond, its removal became easy although sporadic, as the pump removed the water quicker than it could accumulate.
The month of March also saw the submission of the management plan to the Environment Agency along with the application forms for consent to start work on the pond. All of the work on the pond to date had only really been maintenance and preparation and had not required any form of consent. A draft copy of the plan had been submitted earlier in the year for a proof reading to make sure any alterations were in place before final submission and payment. From the outset of the project it was agreed that everything should be done properly, and although in some cases, it seemed like a lot of "red tape", the consequences of any wrong doing both legally and financially were not worth the risk.
John Stacey & Sons of Tadley had again been contacted with reference to undertaking the groundwork's as well as the possibility of the club hiring an excavator and driver for the duration of the works. Of those who had looked at the pond to assess what needed to be done, it became apparent that an excavator would be a better choice rather than a bulldozer, with some individuals not even wanting to take the work on in the first place. However John Stacey & Sons would eventually come through for us in the end.
April came and brought with it the unexpected and early approval of the management plan and issue of consents for the work to the Decoy Pond. With spirits lifted somewhat, the club was really at the point at where a stillwater of our own would become reality. A scary thought knowing that it had taken two years to get to this point. The Environment Agency required written confirmation of the commencement of work, two weeks prior, and even though the machinery had not been arranged or booked, this was submitted. Mid June then allowed us to legally start any major work on the pond with the consent from the EA giving the club three years to complete the task.
May and June of 2009 finalised the physical layout of the pond with reagrd to the fishing stations, swim creation and shallow planted areas. Dominic Martyn's advise and knowledge on the planted areas and depths relative to species was invaluable. The lake, at the end of the day, would not just be a hole in the ground full of fish, but a thought out and feature rich environment that would encourage the insect, plant and wild life back to the pond.
The pictures below should the Decoy Pond at its final stage before the machinery arrived on site. The plant life on the bed of the pond was very prolific in the rich fertile silt and looks as though it would consume everything. Work on removing all of this had ceased as the machinery would remove this quicker in the end and more effectively which is why it appears very overgrown.