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A cooling breeze feathers across the water as song birds, and migrating shore birds lift off the lake. As we walk by the edge of the water, it is hard for us to see just how much of a highly productive source of protein this pond really is. It actually carries several gourmet varieties of amazonian freshwater fish that feed on the fruit that grows around the edge of the lake.  At Walkers Reserve, ponds are stocked with a variety of fish and invertebrate species and this supports endemic, indigenous and migratory birds as well as those that can be harvested for human consumption and used in sport fishing.

 

Goals

  • To create mixed populations of aquatic fauna (indigenous, if available) that are capable of multiplying and creating sustainable populations.
  • To obtain the highest aquatic diversity of all freshwater systems in Barbados.
  • To re-introduce endangered and extirpated aquatic species, with government and university support, to help bolster biodiversity on the island.

 Challenges

  • There are very few naturally-occurring freshwater rivers and ponds in Barbados and this limits the amount of aquatic species that could be introduced into the ponds at the quarry. It may be necessary to uses analogous tropical species of fish to achieve a relatively complex ecosystem of aquatic fauna in the ponds.

pond with fish and vegetation around it

Solutions

  • It may be possible to coordinate the re-population of aquatic species that were once indigenous to the island of Barbados with the assistance of government and conservation groups.  These aquatic species have disappeared due to human impact on the island.

 Water

  • A series of ponds have been created with overflow systems that will allow the ponds to flow into each other in the event of extreme weather conditions.  These ponds are the end of a chain of earthworks that store water in the soil and recharge the water table, creating a stable and water-rich ecosystem.

ponds isolated

Planting

  • A variety of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants were introduced that will provide the necessary shelter for breeding and juvenile aquatic fauna as well as provide sources of food and fiber for humans.

 Earthworks

  • Ponds are created as sand is removed for sale. Edges should be gently sloping into the ponds to allow for maximum planting space as well as to maximize the pond edge for a variety of aquatic species and to create a nurse habitat for fish.

Pond shape

Landscape Connectivity

  • The series of ponds are interconnected through a series of wide-grassed swales to allow water to overflow in the event of extreme weather events. In the event that all the ponds reach a critical height, a berm at the extreme end of the series of swales can be opened by an excavator to release water into the sea. If non-indigenous species of fish have been introduced in the system, they would not be able to survive in seawater and would not be able to spread to other freshwater systems in Barbados.

 Phases of Development

  • The edges of the ponds are exposed by excavation and this allows the edges to be sloped gently into the water. It is recommended that there should be between 6-12 feet of sloping edge in the water before the pond deepens considerably due to extraction.
  • Pond edges are stabilized by the planting of vetiver grass.
  • Semi-aquatic and aquatic plants are introduced once the edges have stabilized.

 Ongoing Management

  • Harvesting of fish
  • Monitoring of wildlife and botanical diversity

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