Long Salt Pond

Country/territory: Anguilla (to UK)

IBA criteria met: A2, B4i (2014)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 23 ha

Site description (2013 baseline)
Long Salt Pond is an irregularly shaped pond that lies just west of Long Pond Bay, stretching a significant length to the west. The southern and the northern sides of the pond are elevated while the western and eastern sides are relatively flat. The area surrounding the pond’s edge is predominantly undeveloped; a few homes and villas are well set back from the pond’s edge.

Limestone pavement lines the northern and southern edges of the pond. The western shore of the pond consists of a mudflat that is usually evident during periods of low rainfall. When the pond is full, the mudflat is covered and the water stretches as far back as the unpaved road. Buttonwood mangrove line the edge of the water at the low water mark. The eastern shore consists of sand and grass flats and sandy spits, visible during periods of low water levels.
Rock walls within the pond are the remnants of salt harvesting at the pond. Along the north-eastern side of the pond, rows of rock walls extend from the limestone pavement, enclosed by a perpendicular rock wall, creating several rectangular enclosed sections that had also been previously used during an attempt to engage in shrimp farming.
There is a paved road which stretches west to east on the northern side of the pond, an unpaved road on the pond’s western side, and sandy unpaved road on its eastern side a few feet from the beach’s high water mark which leads to limited built tourism developments southeast of the pond.

Buttonwood mangrove lines the pond’s edge on its western end. It grows densely on the pond’s northern, southern and western side and thinly on its eastern end. Low-lying shrub vegetation, pondweed (Sesuvium portulacastrum), pond and dune grasses as well as beach runners including the Cow bean vine (Canavalia rosea) are characteristic of the area.

Hydrological value:

The pond is the main catchment for lands around this section of the southern coast. The main source of water for this pond is rainfall and run off from surrounding areas. There are no known springs. Salt water enters the pond as a result of its close proximity to Long Pond Bay. Indeed, the narrow sand bar that separates the pond from the sea is often breached during rough seas. Natural sand accretion prevents an on-going connection.

Currently, monitoring of salinity, phosphates, nitrates, phosphates, pH, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and other gasses does not occur.

Key biodiversity
Overview of bird interests:

Average bird numbers tend to be relatively high on with numbers being above 200 individual birds between 2007 and 2011. Numbers gradually increase during the first half and then decline in the second half of the study period.

The most productive periods for this pond are in the spring and fall months coinciding with spring and fall migration of birds and in particular, the nesting of Least terns. During this five-year period, the most abundant species include Semi-palmated sandpiper, Least tern, Lesser yellowleg, and Black-necked stilt.
IUCN Redlist species present at Long Salt Pond incude Semi-palmated sandpipers which occur in high numbers. In addition, although listed as Least Concern on the IUCN’s Redlist, Least terns are considered endangered in the territories where they are observed, including Anguilla. They are protected within Appendix I of the Biodiversity and Heritage Conservation Act (2009).

Overview of botanical interest:

Grasses and low shrub plants are dominant species along the eastern end of the pond. There are two varieties of cow bean: white and pink (Canavalia rosea). Limestone turf sedge grass (Fimbristylis cymosa) and the pondweed runner (Sesuvium portulacastrum) are also common.

Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) is also a dominant plant around the shorelines of the pond especially where the substrate is limestone. They are, however, also present and setback from the pond on the surrounding area’s sand and mud shores.

Overview of other biodiversity interests:

Additional studies required.

Author: Clarissa Lloyd, Anguilla National Trust.

Edited by: Farah Mukhida, Anguilla National Trust.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Long Salt Pond. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.