Friday, 5 December 2014

Beddington Farmlands Conservation Science Group day

Had the Conservation Science Group (CSG) meeting today- the body that advises on the restoration programme at Beddington Farmlands. A few good bits of news:

1) Over 4000 trees have been succcessfully planted in the last few months and will be maintained as part of a five year programme to get them established
2) Restoraton of the acid grassland habitat has commenced with restoration soils laid down ready for spring seeding (experimental nursery wards will be trailed first).
3) The Environmental Agency are re-modelling the local catchment flood models, a re-modelling that could involve more of Beddington Farmlands being designated/preserved for flood defence (better protection than conservation legislation!)
4) The setting up of the new management body (The Conservation Access and Management Committee)has made progress
5) BFBG will be involved in on site pre-contractor work consultation to fine tune habitat management.

A couple of bits of bad news:
1) A cessation certificate has been issued by Thames Water that the site will no longer be used for treatment of sludge (sludge creates important wet habitats). The decommissiong period is approximately 4 years, after which the south east corner and 100 acre areas (important wetland habitats) will no longer be receiving fresh material and it is likely the areas will dry out. This is actually catastrophic news!
2)The above counts as two bits of bad news.

To end on a bit of good news (bloody good news):
1 or 6?) Works to develop the wet grassland habitat will commence in 2015 and completion of the area south of the pylons is due to be completed by the end of the year,

.... and some pretty pics from last few days to boot:

 Couldn't make my mind up what the gull in the middle is- a 2nd-winter Yellow-legged (seems too pale) or a northern Herring Gull.
 Adult male Wigeon (left) and two first-winter males (note reduced white in coverts)
 The same three male Wigeons as above. Adult in middle- note different intensity and extent of yellow blaze on forehead/crown.
Gulls numbers up to the 6-10,000 mark now. Only a few years left of landfill- going to miss the gulls. 

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