A recent study by scientists at the University of Reading and at Lancaster University in England gives credence to the necessity of farm ponds. The research indicates that field wetlands are a cost-effective means of protecting the environment, as the ponds intercept runoff, preventing sediment and more from reaching running water.
The first stage of the four-year project shows that 40 tons of sediment were trapped during one year at one of the project’s sites; farm ponds trap and store carbon; and concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous were reduced in runoff water, improving water quality.
Dr. Alison Bailey, from the University of Reading’s Department of Agriculture, says, “These early results suggest that the traditional farm pond is useful not only for storing water for agricultural purposes, but is hugely beneficial to wildlife and could be used to prevent rivers and lakes from becoming polluted downstream.
“We’re now looking to see how ponds and field wetland areas can be made most effective and seeing what other benefits they can bring to farmers and the environment.”
The project, designed MOPS2, began in 2008 and will conclude in 2013. Funded by the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the project’s partners include The University of Reading, The Allerton Project of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, ADAS (an environmental consulting firm) and Lancaster University.