Salix is working with Crawley Borough Council and Jacksons Civil Engineering to help improve Ifield Mill Pond & Water Gardens, the area’s most important wetland and a designated Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
The 12-month programme of improvements began in April 2014 and includes:
- the construction of a new dam and spillway near Ifield Mill;
- desilting the north and south ponds;
- biodiversity improvements including a new reed island;
- new and improved footpaths and boardwalks;
- and an extra car park.
Silt Removal Specialists
Salix started dredging works in July and has so far removed 13,000m3 of silt from the South Pond, which has been spread locally on agricultural land as a nutrient under licence from the Environment Agency.
The remaining silt from the South Pond and the silt from the Watergardens will be used to form the base of a new 25-metre diameter reed island in the Mill Pond and 200-metres of marginal reedbeds in the South Pond.
The silt is being removed using our amphibious Truxor, with silt pump, which is available for hire, as well as with more traditional dredging excavators.
Salix has begun building a Nicospan nylon mesh fence, fixed to a series of wooden stakes to hold the new reed island’s silt in place and has installed wooden revetments ready to create the new reedbeds.
Salix has also begun constructing a 300-metre long boardwalk to allow Mill Pond visitors to get closer to the reed island and its wildlife.
Pete Barlow, Construction Director for Salix, explains:
“These improvements are going to make a big difference to the wildlife that relies on Ifield Mill Pond.
The ponds support a rich bird community, including coots, moorhens, mallards, mute swans, great crested grebes, reed bunting and grey wagtail. Winter visitors include many species of duck and kingfishers, heron and water rail are occasionally seen here.
The dredging work, new reedbed and island will help to improve water quality and provide a healthy environment for the wetland wildlife that depends on it. Birds, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, mammals and insects, as well as plants like Greater Reed-mace, Amphibious Bistort, Yellow Iris and Water Mint will all benefit from the new habitat.”
Councillor Colin Lloyd, Cabinet member for Environment at Crawley Borough Council, said:
“It’s pleasing to see that the major works at the Mill Pond are progressing well. The construction of the boardwalk and use of silt for the reed island and reedbeds will help to improve the area as a natural environment to relax in.”
Salix’s dredging work and boardwalk construction is expected to be completed by Christmas and reed planting will begin early next year.