The stated aim of the pond initiative is to create a large number of spawning waters for the Green toad and other pioneer species using small bodies of water. In addition to our target species, the Yellow-bellied toad, the Fire-bellied toad, the Common toad and even the Natterjack toad (threatened with extinction in Austria) could also use such waters, depending on the location and altitude. However, before amphibians migrate, invertebrate species in particular are expected to colonize the waters, ranging from mosquito larvae to crustaceans, swimming beetles and water bugs. We are monitoring this progressive colonization as closely as possible with the help of scientific expertise. In this way, we create the basis for understanding the overall ecological effects that this form of species protection measure can have depending on the environment.
With our methodology, not only the Green toad can be surveyed, but also other threatened amphibians, as well as the biotic communities that have similar demands for this specific habitat.
Anyone aged 18 or over and resident in Austria was eligible to take part. Further requirements for participation were the availability of an open space on their own property that was suitable for the (permanent) installation of a pond basin. From all the applications received, 300 people from all over Austria were selected to receive a pond package, which was delivered by BOKU employees.
What happens next?
After your successful application, you need to install the pond shells. In the following explanatory video, we show you (in German) what you need to consider when digging in the pond shells. As an alternative to the sand used in the video, you can of course also use existing soil.
In 2024 and 2025, you will begin to independently monitor your installed ponds for possible immigrant insects and other small animals. During the months of March to August, you will check (monitor) your ponds every two weeks and send us your data using the project's own "AmphiApp".
The pond water is checked using a small scoop net, which is included in the pond package. We explain exactly how the water is checked and sampled in the following explanatory video (in German).