Environment Improved at Ifield Mill Pond
Salix, together with Crawley Borough Council and Jacksons Civil Engineering, is about to complete the Ifield Mill Pond & Water Gardens project, the area’s most important wetland and a designated Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI).
The 12-month program of improvements began in April 2014 and includes:
- the construction of a new dam and spillway near Ifield Mill;
- de-silting the north and south ponds;
- biodiversity improvements including a new reed island;
- new and improved footpaths and boardwalks;
- and an extra car park.
Salix started dredging works in July and has so far removed more than 13,000 m³ 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 Water Gardens will be used to form the base of a new 25-meter diameter reed island in the Mill Pond and 200-meters of marginal reed beds in the South Pond.
The company 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 reed beds. Salix has also begun constructing a 300-meter long boardwalk to allow Mill Pond visitors to get closer to the reed island and its wildlife.
Pete Barlow, Construction Director for Salix, explained: “These improvements are going to make a big difference to the wildlife that relies on Ifield Mill Pond. The dredging work, new reed bed 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 reed beds 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.