Royal Gazette: Spittal Pond protection plan submitted by Bermuda National Trust

Royal Gazette: Spittal Pond protection plan submitted by Bermuda National Trust

A conservation management plan has been drafted to protect Spittal Pond from waste from an adjacent dairy farm.

The plan, submitted by the Bermuda National Trust, is intended to address any impact the farm has on the pond while bolstering native and endemic plants in the park.

“The primary objective is to protect Spittal Pond from pollutants,” the plan stated.

“Ultimately, the proposed project is focused on ‘improving the condition and protection of the natural environment’, specifically the pond and its surroundings.

“It is designed to reduce point source pollution from the neighbouring dairy farm and at the same time boost carbon-sequestering capacity, the process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation.”

According to the plans, heavy rains can cause nitrate-rich water to flow from the farm to Spittal Pond, potentially harming life in the pond.

The plan involves the building of a berm and digging of a ditch and the planting with native and endemic plants.

The first phase of the proposed plan would be the removal of invasive species from the area, with the berm and ditch created as a barrier between the farm and the pond as a part of the second phase.

The ditch would be partially filled with local, lime-based clean fill, which with the plants will help to manage nitrate-filled run-off from the farm.

“The depth of the ditch will be approximately 24in and the height of the berm will not exceed 2ft above the existing ground level,” the plans note.

The work would continue with the replacement of the existing storm-damaged cattle fence to prevent cows from reaching the pond.

New plantings will be watered regularly, with maintenance carried out on a bimonthly basis to prevent the return of invasive species.

An officer for the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources supported the proposal, stating that research has shown the pond is suffering from eutrophication, which can trigger harmful algae blooms, and run-off from the farm needed to be prevented.

“The creation of a ditch and berm below the dairy farm fields is a simple yet effective method of accomplishing this,” the officer said.

“Lower nutrient input will lead to better water quality which will ultimately increase the biological and recreational value of this nature reserve.

“Rebuilding the original fence will prevent cattle from accessing the northwest corner of the pond, which is necessary in order to give the black mangrove seedlings and saplings a chance to grow and become established along the margins of the pond.”

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June 27, 2023 News