The objective of the Project was to create appropriately sited new wetland habitats for Great Crested Newts (GCN) to improve, connect and expand the existing Great Crested Newt meta-population(s) in the central Borders area. The new habitat areas were identified using a combination of the SNH 1996 GCN survey, species habitat requirements and local knowledge to site and build appropriate wetland habitats. Once a clear geographical priority area had been defined, local landowners were contacted and given details of what the project was trying to achieve and asked to consider allowing these new pond sites on their land.
Step 1: Identify the priority area for habitat creation works, through local consultation with appropriate individuals, groups and organisations, using existing surveys and where available GIS information. Then contact the local landowners to discuss the potential for creating new pond sites.
Step 2: Identify potential pond sites, taking into consideration proximity to existing Great Crested Newt breeding ponds, likelihood of the site to retain water year round and proximity of new pond site to suitable terrestrial habitat. Also, check with the local biological/historical records centre to ensure that the new pond site would not impact on pre-existing ecological or archaeological interests.
Step 3: Get a big shiny digger! Construction of appropriately designed ponds combining vegetated margins and open water.
Outcome: In total, 13 ponds were created linking the three meta-populations of breeding Great Crested Newts in the Scottish Borders.