Conservation grant used to create new ponds at Ferring Rife

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A POPULAR beauty spot has been conserved for the future, thanks to a grant of more than £4,000.

Ferring Rife now features several new ponds, which have been created to help prevent flooding, and hundreds of trees, which have been planted to create a wildlife corridor.

Ferring Conservation Group successfully applied for the grant, which was awarded by Biffaward under its Small Grants Scheme for environmental projects, to improve the section of Rife where it flows between Ferring and the parish of Kingston. It took around three weeks to complete the work.

Chairman of the conservation group, Carol Dyball, said: “In total, five new ponds have been created and already partly filled wth water. Aquatic plants and animals will arrive naturally.

“The public seem to have taken a great interest in what is going on and have made positive comments, especially about the newly planted trees, which are looking healthy.”

The main purpose of the conservation work was to create new ponds adjacent to the river, to replace the existing pair which had become overwhelmed by the very invasive crassula weed.

The conservation group believe the weed, native to New Zealand, was dumped by people clearing out their own ponds.

It had destroyed the ability of the pond to be a wildlife habitat and the only way to control the problem was to excavate new ponds and bury the weed in the old ones.

The Environment Agency (EA) worked with Ferring Conservation Group to carry out the works.

Gareth Williams, from the EA, said: “Ponds are an EA biodiversity action plan habitat and we have a target nationally to create new ones.

“These new ponds will allow native plant species to colonise which had previously been out-competed by the crassula weed. These new plants will in turn provide habitat for native invertebrate and amphibian species.

“Elimination of the crassula will prevent the possibility of it getting into the rife and causing flood risk issues, by slowing water and blocking screens.”

As well as creating the ponds, the conservation group planted 400 trees, donated by the Wildlife Trust, along the Rife bank.