Physical features of the site:
Forest Bay Pond consists of two main basins which are most apparent during periods displaying low water levels; a small mudflat separates the pond into two. The western and southern shore of the pond is of limestone substrate while the eastern side is a mixture of sand and marl. The northern shore has been infilled with large boulders.
The pond is bound by a paved road on its eastern side and southern end. The road and a low sand dune separate the pond from the beach and sea on its eastern side. On the western side of the pond, the land remains undeveloped for some feet back. Behind this undeveloped land runs another paved road which separates the land on this side of the pond from the property which contains the island’s landfill. There is also a road on the northern side of the pond which provides access to the beach.
The pond is surrounded by buttonwood, white mangrove, and sea grape as well a few other scrub-type plants which are able to grow between the cracks in the limestone pavement found on the side of the pond. The aquatic plant, wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima), grows within the water of the pond. The vegetation around the pond is dense on the western and southern side but thins significantly around the northern and eastern sides of the pond.
This pond has been subject to some changes over some time which include infilling on the northern shoreline which has left large boulders along the pond’s edge to prevent encroachment of the pond onto the property on that shore. There has been clearing of some vegetation on the eastern side of the pond during roadside clean-ups which has left some areas of the shoreline exposed. Mining of sand from the sand dune (south of the road that lines the southern side of the pond) has also changed the landscape and integrity of this site.
Forest Bay Pond is a shallow, brackish pond. It holds water year round and is believed to be sourced by springs. Other sources of fresh water include rainwater and runoff. The pond is able to maintain its salt content from salt water intrusion from waves breaking during rough seas. Salt water would also be able to seep into the pond from the nearby beach at the Forest Bay. Though separated by a road and a low sand dune, there seems to be some connection to sea.
There are no dams or other water management measures in place. Large boulders have been placed along the northern shore, in front of a dwelling, to act as a barrier against rising water levels.
There has also been no water quality, pH, dissolved gasses or salinity monitoring been conducted.
Overview of bird interests:
The graph shows fluctuation from year to year in the average number of wetland birds observed per month. In general, however, overall the numbers appear to be increasing.
The average bird species diversity at this pond is 21 per year for the period 2007-2011. The most abundant species observed at the pond are White-cheeked pintail, Black-necked stilt and Blue-winged teal.
The pond has recently been visited by the near-threatened Caribbean coot and Lesser Scaup. There was one rare sighting of a Ring-necked duck in December of 2010 and Northern pintail in December 2012.
Overview of botanical interests:
Healthy buttonwood (Conocorpus erectus) and a few white mangrove surround the edges of the pond creating a relatively thin buffer on its eastern side. On the north eastern side of both basins, Sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) also grows in abundance.
Wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima), an aquatic plant has been observed growing in this pond.
Overview of other biodiversity interests:
Additional studies required.
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Forest Bay Pond. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/11/2018.