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Location Anguilla (to UK)
Central coordinates 63o 7.60' West  18o 10.60' North
IBA criteria A2
Area 9 ha
Altitude 2 - 16m
Year of IBA assessment 2013





Summary 


Site description 

Merrywing Pond system, located on the Cuisinart Golf Course, consists of five main basins within its greens. Two of the basins are artificial wetlands while the remaining three are natural. The basin’s edges have been lined with rock walls to blend in with the landscaping designs of the golf course. The two artificial basins are lined with plastic while the other three have a marl substrate. Due to basin distribution and the land surrounding the basins that slopes gently downward, the basins of Merrywing-North and Merrywing-South are elevated higher than those of Merrywing-Savannah and Merrywing-Villas and all basins are of a higher elevation than Merrywing-Merrywing.

Within the property and overlooking Merrywing-Savannah is the golf course’s Club House and restaurant. Construction is underway on a number of villas and a 60-room hotel complex south of the Merrywing-Villas basin and stretching to the eastern side of Merrywing-Merrywing basin. One main road that runs through the golf course branches out into small golf cart paths. While some are paved, most connect to the lawn. There is also a reverse osmosis plant present on the property.

Vegetation around the golf course is a combination of both native and ornamental plants. Many native plants that had been removed from the land during clearing for construction had been replanted.

Hydrological value:

The artificial basins are freshwater holding areas for irrigation that are connected to each other via pipes. They are sourced with water from the operations of the reverse osmosis plant present on the property.

Merrywing-Savannah and Merrywing-Villas are connected to each other by a series of culverts and pipes. These two basins are brackish and are sourced with fresh water from rainfall and runoff. Their salt content is attributed to their close proximity to Merrywing Bay.

Merrywing - Merrywing is located closest to Cove Bay. This basin is brackish, sourced with fresh water by rainfall and runoff and salt water from Cove Bay.
Currently, monitoring of salinity, phosphates, nitrates, phosphates, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other gasses does not occur.

Key Biodiversity 

Overview of bird interests:

Bird numbers have gradually declined at the Merrywing Pond System since their peak annual average of 139 birds in 2008.

An average of 45 different species of wetland bird was observed throughout the study period, the highest recorded diversity of all ponds across the island.
While there are no official counts of terrestrial birds have been conducted within the golf course, Ground doves and Turtle doves can regularly be seen, along with Green-throated carib hummingbirds, Black faced grassquits, Lesser Antillean bullfinch and Grey kingbirds.

Interesting species of wetland birds observed within the System include American golden plover, Gull-billed tern, Long-billed dowitcher, Long-tailed duck, Merlin, Snow goose, Solitary sandpiper, and Tri-coloured heron.

Overview of botanical interests:

During the clearing of the property for the construction of the golf course, native plants were removed and placed into a nursery for later use in the landscaping of the property. The use of ornamental plants is primarily limited to the entrance to the property. One native plant of interest is the culturally-significant thatch palm which grows mainly in the western end of the island. These palms have been integrated into the landscaping of the main passageway through the golf course.
Within the water of the pond, an aquatic plant - wigeongass (ruppia maratima) - is also present.

Overview of other biodiversity interests:

Additional studies required.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2013  present individuals  good  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2013  present individuals  good  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis resident  2013  present individuals  good  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting 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 past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting 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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
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 past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting 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 air-borne pollutants - smog happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - run-off happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - light pollution happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - noise pollution happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Other   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools  major
Forest Mangrove  minor
Other   major

Land ownership Private

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
Notes: Wetlands lie within a golf course
nature conservation and research major
Notes: Property exploring various certification and ANT's monitoring programme.
water management major
Notes: Two ponds within system contain freshwater used for irrigation on golf course.
energy production and mining minor
Notes: Wells drilled. Reverse Osmosis plant on site.

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: Merrywing Pond System. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

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