The Natterjack Toad pond creation scheme was launched in 2008 and is administered by my Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service. The scheme is aimed at farmers and landowners and involves the creation of suitable breeding habitats for the Natterjack toad, an endangered species which in Ireland is found only in Kerry. This project has been very effective so far with over 100 new ponds dug for toads within the species' historical range around Castlemaine Harbour and Castlegregory.
Landowners participating in the scheme typically enter into a 5 year agreement with my Department. The agreement requires landowners to manage the ponds and maintain the surrounding habitat in a condition suitable for the toads, and to meet several grazing and pond management requirements. In return, the landowner is paid a grant of €500 per annum per pond. There have been 52 landowners involved over the life of the scheme and 35 of these agreements are active at present.
As there is a limited budget available for the scheme, it was not possible to offer new agreements for phase 3 to all previous participants. Furthermore, in cases where a landowner has not fully met the requirements of the scheme, their agreement may not be renewed.
The first phase of 5 year agreements were signed in 2008 and a number of participants, who had met the requirements of the scheme in phase 1, were invited to participate for a further 5 years in phase 2.
Phase 2 agreements, again clearly stated as being for a 5 year period, were signed by landowners in March 2013. Final payments for the second phase were made to landowners at the end of 2017. The landowner in question is not participating in the current phase of the scheme.