Yes, the project page is this one, although it is just a way to compile the observations around the pond for now. I should start using the project’s diary to document advances and changes but I’ve never actually gotten around to that, so guess I’ll just tell ya about my failures here haha.
The biggest and most constant one is regarding trees. The area the pond was built on had no natural shade, so I have been wanting to add trees around for shade and to further benefit the local wildlife. Problem is, the ground has a lot of clay and compacts really easily, which helps avoid the pond water draining onto the ground, but also makes it harder for trees to grow. Add to that that the area sees very hot summers and hail winters and there’s a natural lack of cover, and it all ends up being really hard for any trees to grow. I’ve tried several different species (only 2 non-natives at the start, but all natives from then on) that take to different kinds of soil and climates, but all local. So far i’ve only had some success with a spiny hackberry (Celtis ehrenbergiana) sapling that I plated around may I believe? It lost all its leaves and I had thought it had died, but has since recovered and seems to be doing fine. One thing to note though is that I made a bit of coverage for the sapling with some tarp, so that it has some shade and protection from direct sunlight. Hackberries take a long time to grow however, so this species being the only one that takes so far (and we are just starting up summer here, so im not sure if it will survive) is not great news. I think next time I have a tree ready to bring here I will try the tarp method again. This has been my biggest source of grief with the pond, not only because of my failure in bringing some much needed shade, but also because it sucks to have a tree die, specially when it seemed at first that it would prosper.
Another issue I’ve had is related to frogs/toads and fish. After I had a surge of invasive mosquitofish in the pond I was told that areas that reintroduced native fish species had seen a decrease of invasive ones, so I let the pond dry to kill off the fish, then filled it up and added two native ones of the same size and behavior. This fish took great to the pond and are thriving some 2 (?) years later, but it has come at the cost of frogs and toads being able to lay eggs here, pressumably due to the fish eating the eggs. To remedy that by december of 2022 I had built a smaller pond that connected to the main one, but had a dam of sorts so that no water would enter from the main pond, and only would drain there if the small one got too filled up. Well, I don’t know if its due to the heavy rains or my lack of dam-building prowess, but a month or two ago I found a lot of fish had been able to get to the small pond. So now im building a ditch that’s separate but close to the pond, so that hopefully amphibians will be able to reproduce there again. Frog and toad populations have been good and steady ever since I started the pond, so they must be able to breed somewhere else, but with further development of the land and a lot of dogs running around unsupervised I’d prefer that they also be able to breed here.
I guess those would be the main issues I have encountered. Adding any kind of plants here has been difficult, but shrubs and bushes have taken on much better than trees and flowers. I have also been given permission to modify a long strip of the property where the pond is, as well as keeping the grass in a natural state rather than getting it trimmed every 2/3 weeks. So because of that I am slowly starting to add grassland plants and let any native ones that appear there naturally grow. Ideally I would like to have a forested area on one side of the pond, and a grassland and low/medium shrubs area on the other. I’ve also been steadily adding native plants on the front of the property (where there is natural shade and plants take much easier) so that has helped boost the number of polinators. In time I plan to replace most if not all of the non-native plants on the front of the property with native ones, but it is a slow process. I grow a lot of different native species at home, so I hope I will have a lot ready to move there by next winter, but the fear always remains on whether they will survive the move of not.
Heres a pic of the pond on the 25th of January of this year. I took it from up top an old water tank pole, so its some 3 meters high? For context on the size of the pond, that log is 2,5 meters long, so while the pond looks kinda small its actually medium sized. Nothing too crazy tho, but who knows, maybe I’ll make it even bigger someday.