Ponds in backyards, school yards and community parks, can have tremendous wildlife habitat value. These small open water wetlands provide habitat for diverse species, who use them for everything from feeding, drinking, resting and shelter, to reproduction, rearing young, social interactions and overwintering. Ponds are particularly important for sustaining populations of amphibians, as recognized by the “Refrogging America” initiative which seeks to assist with the recovery of amphibians through the addition of small ponds across the North American landscape.
Within suburban landscapes, most amphibian breeding takes place in human-constructed artificial ponds. A recent assessment of peer-reviewed studies investigating amphibian use of created and restored wetlands concluded that man-made ponds were equally suitable for amphibians as natural wetlands. The paper concluded that creating and restoring small wetlands could be an effective tool for enhancing amphibian abundance and diversity, and for mitigation declines of threatened species.
Ponds are used not only by amphibians, but also by everything from dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies and all sorts of aquatic insects, to small and large mammals, waterfowl, wading birds, swallows and songbirds. As a result, pond creation and enhancement activities can benefit an enormous number of wildlife species.
How We are Helping Improve Pond Habitat
To increase pond habitat quantity and quality on the Sunshine Coast, we are helping community members and organizations to create new ponds or improve existing backyard ponds, by providing free plants, materials, technical support, and labour.
You Can Help!
Please contact us if you have a pond that you would like to improve. We would be delighted to help you to improve the wildlife habitat value of your pond. We also invite local groups to create new ponds as demonstration projects. If your organization is interested in building a frog pond at a community site, please contact us.
Recommended Techniques to Improve the Wildlife Habitat Quality of Your Backyard Pond
- Remove invasive and exotic plants and replace them with native plant species
- Add aquatic plants, including emergent, submerged and floating vegetation, to offer food, shelter, oxygen, hiding place, and platforms upon which wildlife can rest, lay eggs and metamorphose.
- Plant shoreline shrubs and trees, to provide food, offer shelter, provide perches for birds, stabilize the pond edge, and shade the water to limit algae growth and keep water cool
- Add shoreline features such as logs, rocks, brush piles, or piles of bark, to provide shelter and basking sites for wildlife, including frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes and small mammals.
- Add islands of rocks or anchored floating logs, as basking spots for turtles, frogs, dragonflies and butterflies, loafing spots for ducks, and hiding places for fish
- Include multi-forked sticks that protrude above the water’s surface as a perch for songbirds and dragonflies
- Ensure submerged and emergent sticks and brush shelters in shallow water as egg-laying attachment sites for amphibians and aquatic fish
- Install nest boxes nearby for cavity-nesting birds and bat houses for roosting bats