Renfrewshire Living Water Project
Creating and restoring habitats primarily for the conservation of amphibians, but also benefiting a wide range of other aquatic species
What we set out to achieve
Froglife will work at three Renfrewshire Council owned nature areas in Paisley. We will be creating and restoring habitats primarily for the conservation of amphibians, but also benefiting a wide range of other aquatic species including hedgehogs, reptiles, birds, invertebrates and plants. The works include:
- Barshaw Park: Creation of 8x10m pond in a fenced off model railway section.
- Gleniffer Braes Country Park: Crossroads – create one 6x6m pond; restore Jacks Pond; create 10x6 pond at Roaden Burn.
- Jenny’s Well LNR: deepen three scrapes to facilitate them holding water to improve conditions for breeding amphibians.
We will host three volunteer days at each of the sites. This will provide volunteers and local community groups with the opportunity to help with the habitat work. We will provide a formal volunteer training programme at each site which will include species surveying, identification and recording plus habitat management. In total 9 volunteer & community days (min 135 people) and 6 volunteer training days (min 72 people)
Each site will benefit from a community event which will include a range of activities for all age groups including a Wildlife Tunnel Exhibition and Virtual Reality Experience. This will raise the profile of the UKs common toads and their treacherous journeys every spring and autumn crossing busy roads to reach breeding and hibernation sites. The events will include a Pond Doctor Marquees with wildlife gardening workshop to promote wildlife gardening amongst local gardeners. (min 780 people and 132 at wildlife gardening workshops)
Where did the idea for the project come from?
We have undertaken Living Water project across the UK. In Scotland we have delivered Living Water projects in Glasgow, North & South Lanarkshire and our Scottish Dragon Finder project has worked on habitats across Scotland and some of its islands. As a result of this work we have developed a good reputation amongst landowners, particularly local authorities, for being able to deliver best practice habitat enhancements, for the benefit of wildlife and people. Renfrewshire Council ecologist contacted Froglife to enquire whether we would investigate working on sites identified by them as in need of intervention.
We undertook a site visits to assess each site and following these visits we in consultation with the council chose three sites that we believe will benefit most from the works. Factors that have been taken into account for the assessment are:
- Ecological condition of the existing habitat.
- Provision for expanding the habitats.
- Connectivity to other natural areas.
- Access and footfall of the site (we chose high footfall to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the works and can be part of the project).
- Only areas that are adjacent to communities in the 15% most deprived datazones, nationally according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Sites located within SIMD zones are often more neglected than more prosperous areas and are also often more in need by the local communities as they have less access to gardens.
How the community has helped us develop our ideas
Ideas have been discussed with site users and we have liaised with Paisley’s Community Placemaker Officer who has conducted community consultations on our behalf. We have liaised with a nursery school that regularly visits Jenny’s Well LNR and they are very keen to see habitat improvements.
How our project fits into the bigger picture
All of the sites are adjacent to communities in the 15% most deprived datazones, nationally according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Sites located in deprived areas are often more neglected than sites in less deprived areas. There is also often a greater need amongst these communities to be able to access high quality green spaces for leisure pursuits and to escape often chaotic and stressful lives.
By creating new ponds and involving volunteers this project will support the implantation of actions in both the “Power People” and “Green Network” strands of the newly launched Renfrewshire Biodiversity Action Plan 2018-2022.
The project embraces the Green Networks Supplementary Guidance included in 2014 in the Renfrewshire Local Development Plan by enhancing biodiversity in priority locations within the identified local green network.
There is a good green corridor between Gleniffer Braes Country Park, Jenny’s Well and Barshaw Park and the creation and restoration of habitats will further enhance connectivity and form stepping stone habitats. Such actions are a priority for the enhancement of biodiversity across all regions.
Where we would like our project to lead us
This project will continue to build on Froglife’s reputation for delivering exceptional ‘on the ground’ actions for the benefit of the UK's native amphibian and reptile species, whilst benefiting a wide range of wildlife and people.