Ponds & Wetlands

There are several types of ponds and wetland habitats which can be established within a site.   

These range from ponds to small lakes, marsh and wet woodland habitats. 

When selecting a wetland habitat or species for establishment, it is important to be aware of similar habitats in the surrounding landscape.  Existing wetland habitats in the adjacent landscape are likely to be a good indicator of the wetland habitat which can be established within a site.  Fossitt (2000) in ‘A Guide to Habitats in Ireland’ provides a general overview of the plant species which one would expect to find in the range of wetland habitats that occur in Ireland.

It is important to check the soil type and pH of the soil and to ascertain whether suitable hydraulic conditions are present prior to selecting a wetland habitat and species for establishment. Areas proposed for planting should be protected from compaction by plant machinery during construction/development activities. Sometimes suitable soil may need to be brought into a site to ensure compatibility or in circumstances where soil has been heavily compacted. Checking and monitoring for non-native species is important when considering the importation of soil to a site.

It is useful to carry out a survey of the closest known wetland habitat to identify the soil type and to find out what native species are growing there. This information can be utilised to assist in the selection of a wetland habitat and species for establishment.

The restoration of wetland habitats may require the blocking of a drain or drainage network which was originally constructed to drain a wetland habitat.  For projects of this scale specialist advice should be sought prior to commencement of the project as the hydraulic and hydrologic regime of the adjacent lands could be affected by such works

In relation to wet woodland habitats, for the most part the planting of the seral stage, e.g. woodland canopy species (such as alder) during the establishment of woodland communities will suffice. This approach gives flexibility too in circumstances where there is a shortage of planting stock for any particular species. The remaining species typical of the woodland type being established can naturally colonise the woodland treatment over time.

There are a number of sources of information available regarding suitable species, planting design and layout (Native Woodland Information Notes No’s 4, 5 & 6 - Little et al, 2007, 2008 & 2009).  For further information, see A Guide to Landscape Treatments for National Road Schemes in Ireland Pg 91 – 104 and Native Woodland Information Note No. 5. Establishment, Design and Stocking

For further details please click on How to Establish a Pond and Wetland and How to Establish a Woodland for wet woodland habitats.  A description of the pond and wetland habitats in Ireland is provided below. 

Habitat type & Code (Fossitt 2000) Description
Bog woodland (WN7) Bog woodland

This category includes woodlands of intact ombrotrophic bogs, bog margins and cutover bog. Bog woodland typically occurs on deep acid peat that is relatively welldrained in the upper layers and is commonly associated with former turf cutting activity or drainage. It may also occur in areas of...

Marsh (GM1) Marsh

Marsh is found on level ground near river banks, lakeshores, and in other places where mineral or shallow peaty soils are waterlogged, and where the water table is close to ground level for most of the year. Unlike swamps, standing water is not a characteristic...

Artificial Lakes and Ponds Other artificial lakes and ponds

This habitat category describes artificial ponds which may be found in gardens, parks, golf courses and other developments. Ponds which can be found in flooded quarries and water treatment plants are also included.  These ponds often support Common Frog and...

Reed and large sedge swamps

Reed and large sedge swamp includes lands dominated by reeds and other large grasses or large, tussock-forming sedges with a low diversity of herbaceous vegetation.  Stands of vegetation can range from very dense to open.

Reed and large sedge swamp can be found along the banks of rivers...

Riparian woodland (WN5) Riparian woodland

This category includes wet woodlands of river margins (gallery woodland) and low islands that are subject to frequent flooding, or where water levels fluctuate as a result of tidal movement (in the lower reaches of rivers). Riparian woodland is dominated by stands of willows that may include...

Tall-herb swamps

In comparison to Reed and large sedge swamp (FS1), tall-herb swamps contain species-rich stands of herbaceous vegetation that occur in wet areas where the water table is above the ground surface for most of the year, or where water levels...

Wet Grassland (Photo Lisa M. J. Dolan) Wet grassland

This type of grassland can be found on flat or sloping ground in upland and lowland areas. It occurs on wet or waterlogged mineral or organic soils that are poorly-drained or, in some cases, subjected to seasonal or periodic flooding. On sloping ground, wet grassland is mainly...

Wet willow-alder-ash woodland (WN6) Wet Willow-Alder-Ash Woodland

This broad category includes woodlands of permanently waterlogged sites that are dominated by willows (Salix spp.), Alder (Alnus glutinosa) or Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), or by various combinations of some or all of these trees. It includes...

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