Monday 17 October 2016

Guest Blog - Angel Pond Alien Invasion - Ask an Expert by Laurence Bard

By Laurence Bard,

Angel Pond
I am the owner of Pond Life based at Finchley Nurseries in the heart of Mill Hill’s countryside, I have been asked too many times recently “what the hell is going on with the Angel Pond on the Ridgeway…?”. As I am “in the trade”, it is a hop skip and jump to conclude we would be involved, we are not. My qualification is an HND (with Distinction (!)) Food Technology, however, 20 plus years’ experience in working with fish, sailing across the Atlantic and seasons spent working on dive boats, I have some background in the subject matters water related, but  am not an necessarily “an expert”.

Pond Life has not had anything to do with works carried out on Angel Pond.  I believe that the most recent works involved machinery driving in, out, around the pond for a day or two, the removed weed then left on the bank for a few days. 

I would have been “way too pussy” to put any type of machinery in there given the age and nature of the pond’s base and given the type of plant they were trying to remove.  Maybe the pond needed dredging?  Maybe there was good reason to choose mechanical over manual; maybe the tyres were super- duper soft..? Maybe the detritus needed to be left on the banks for a while? It did look fab once the debris was cleared and the water settled down, so much so that a family of ducks arrived and built a house……now, after a full summer’s growth and a lack of rainfall bordering upon drought conditions it doesn’t look so good. Almost every pond in the area is low on water.
The Angel pond is one of the many water sources that feed down into Dollis Brook, already under pressure from abstraction and pollution, the latter exacerbated by the biblical nature of rain in recent years. 

In a nutshell, every pond has a propensity to return to land; aquatic /swamp/bog plants are brilliantly adapted to growing fast to compete for light and food, they are also able to form complete plants from a single fragment. When smashed and whizzed around, given plenty of food and light, they can spread and grow to entirely dominate their pond.  They can also get stuck to or ingested by visiting birds/mammals (horses, dogs, people)/tyres that could further spread the plant. Ingenious.
The irony is that these dominant pond weed species were until recently sold in aquatic stores throughout the world, this particular Genie is out of it’s bottle, in the same way as global frog populations are crashing as a result of globally transported viruses that prevents many species of frog  from producing a slime layer…the trade in African Dwarf frog species is believed to be “ground zero”….

Then there is the tropical marine trade, our global reefs are being decimated, Butterfly aka Lionfish decimating the Caribbean Reefs (read this for more details -, released by the pet trade into the oceans off Florida; having no natural predators on this side of the planet, it is spreading out of control throughout the Caribbean, having a profoundly negative effect upon the reefs already being ripped apart to feed the global pet trade that  pandas to the “I want” rather than “I need…” generation; sharks being slaughtered by the million, pre-historic salmon rivers ruined, wholesale corporate pollution of the oceans and rivers, draining of deltas…I digress…Trump, Jihad, Genocide…it is just a pond and winter is coming…

How do you control pond weeds…?

Ask an expert..
Laurence Bard owns Pond Life Aquatics, and is a recognised expert in the field of pond, wetland and waterway maintenance. He is a Mill Hill resident.

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