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Location Anguilla (to UK)
Central coordinates 63o 5.14' West  18o 12.07' North
IBA criteria A2, B4i
Area 43 ha
Altitude
Year of IBA assessment 2013





Site description 

This large near-circular pond is the most recognizable wetland on Anguilla lying immediately to the west of the settlement, a popular beach among both local residents and visitors and port of Sandy Ground.  Best viewed from the southern ridge of Sandy Ground (South Hill), the settlement and pond together comprise perhaps the most iconic landscape on mainland Anguilla. 

The pond is bordered to the west by a dune system, now largely flattened and built upon.  To the north, east and south, some of the highest hills on Anguilla curve around the pond which forms a valley bottom at their base.  The hills are clothed in low dry forest scrub with scattered trees and create the predominant water catchment area of the pond. 

Over the years substantial infilling of the pond has taken place. Indeed – and most recently (1996-1997) - the pond’s southern catchment was filled to accommodate the raising and widening of the road as well as on the northern corner to upgrade a small track into a paved road. In 2005, the pond south-western corner of the pond was infilled to create parking space for shipment trailers. The pond is now closely bordered by a ring road although on the eastern side; this is set back behind fringing vegetation, a truck park and a sports field.  In addition to the settlement directly within Sandy Ground, significant residential housing and villas line the North and South Hill slopes and ridges. 

Dating back to the settlement period of the Amerindians, Road Pond has been used as a source of salt. Saltworks infrastructure in the form of rock walls and dams within the pond still line its inner perimeter. Artefacts and images preserving, celebrating and recognising this place of Anguillian history and heritage can be found at a bar and restaurant that used to be the Salt Factory Pumphouse. 

Key Biodiversity 

This is a spectacular pond for wetland birds and over the course of a year it will attract the widest range of species of any site on Anguilla. While average bird numbers on this pond per year fluctuate annually, they tend to fluctuate around a low average of just over 500 birds and a high of about 750 birds.

Breeding species include Green heron, White-cheeked pintail and Common moorhen around the edges of the pond and littoral vegetation. Pintails tend nest when water levels are high and have been seen with ducklings in most months.  Wading birds including Killdeer, Wilson’s plover and Black-necked stilt nest in drier areas and on the saltworks. In recent years least terns have been recorded breeding on the salt pond walls.  The dry forest and scrub that surround the pond hold breeding populations of most of Anguilla’s resident land birds including Mangrove cuckoo and restricted range species, Caribbean elaenia and Lesser Antillean bullfinch.  In the period May to August, Antillean nighthawks can be seen over North Hill village.

Several species of seabirds will visit the pond to feed, bathe, and/or roost on these salt pond walls.  These include Brown pelicans, Magnificent frigatebirds and Royal, Sandwich and Least terns.  Regionally important numbers of Laughing gull arrive in April, gathering on salt pond walls to roost before dispersing to breeding sites on the outlying cays.  

Herons and egrets are seen year round but highest numbers are present in the winter months when they will roost in bushes on the eastern shore.  

A mixture of extensive areas of shallow water and muddy edges attracts large numbers of migratory waterbirds with a peak of over 1700 birds present in September 2008, including a flock of over 700 Semi-palmated sandpipers.  Over 30 species of waterbirds have been recorded here and it is among the best places in the Eastern Caribbean to see breeding species from the Arctic such as Stilt sandpipers, Semi-palmated sandpipers and Pectoral and White-rumped sandpipers.  Many of these species stay throughout the winter months.  The high numbers of birds present on passage and in winter provide prey for Peregrine falcons and Merlin while Osprey will catch fish in the bay and the pond. 

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2010  max 123 individuals  good  B4i  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2013  1 individuals  medium  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2013  1 individuals  medium  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis resident  2013  1 individuals  medium  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high favourable negligible
Population
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Geological events earthquakes/tsunamis happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Geological events volcanic eruptions likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - smog happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution excess energy - light pollution happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - noise pollution happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution industrial & military effluents - oil spills happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors flight paths happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Sternula antillarum Least Tern 45 45 individuals 100 favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires & springs; Freshwater lakes & pools  major
Forest Mangrove  minor
Coastline Sand dunes & beaches  major

Land ownership Private/State

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
Notes: Bird Monitoring
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport minor
other major
Notes: Cultural Heritage Site
water management minor
Notes: Culvert and channel to the sea

Protection status None

Access/Land-Owner requests None 

Acknowledgements Author: Clarissa Lloyd, Anguilla National Trust


Edited by: Farah Mukhida, Anguilla National Trust

References 

Anguilla National Trust. ANT wetland bird count data (2007 – 2011). Unpublished.

Daniels, Edsel B. 2011. Anguilla Wetlands Mapping Project Report: A component of the UK DFID/OTEP funded “Building a Foundation for Anguilla’s Wetland Future” Project. Unpublished Report.

Holliday, S.H.; Hodge, K.V.D.; Hughes, D.E. 2007.  A guide to the birds of Anguilla.  Bedfordshire, England; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Lloyd C. and Mukhida, F. 2012. The state of Anguilla’s wetland birds 2007-2011. The Valley, Anguilla: Anguilla National Trust.

Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.;Garrido, O.; Keith, A. ; Raffaele, J. (2003) Birds of the West Indies. New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press.

Subin, E, Dudley, J, Crock, J, Bryan, JAS, Thomas, R, Christian, I, Vanterpool, V & Warner, B (1998) A Field Guide to Anguilla’s Wetlands. Anguilla National Trust, The Valley, Anguilla

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Road Salt Pond. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

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