Jon Cranfield

Archive for the ‘mitigation’ Category

Nevendon progress and sightings

In Adders, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on April 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

News has come in from our nature reserve in Wickford, Essex.

The rain was most welcome over the last few weeks. The washland has flooded well over the footpath creating a large temporary wetland while at the same time preventing flooding of Wickford.

The first count of the newts was a cracking 95 out of the six newt ponds. The estimated population being possibly 900 to 1800.

All the pondlets or very small ponds have refilled and we are looking forward to the invertebrate surveys this summer especially these very temporary pools.

The reptiles are starting to show with grass snakes, slow-worms and lizards in small numbers. No adders have been spotted so far though. Trying not too worry too much about that this but it may well be a symptom of the result of translating such animals. We are will report further on this in due course.

The newt area has produced 4 grey partridge – a cock and three hens. Really pleasing that a BAP species seems to be doing well on this mitigation site.

Photos to follow soon


Out of destruction comes new life & habitats…..

In ecosystems, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on August 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm

The power lines across the Nevendon Road site are supported by wooden telegraph poles. The local woodpecker population seem to be keen on these upright dead trees despite being treated the woodpeckers put massive holes into the sides of these poles. A local contractor had access recently to replace the poles in the middle of the washland area. I asked him what machinery he was going to be using – fearing that as an ecologist I was about to place restrictions on his normal day to day works he said that ‘they would be using a 4×4 vehicle, a cherry picker and a tracked 360 digger’. ‘No problem’ I said ‘just one thing, if you make a mess (i.e. rutts and tracks) do you normally tidy this up?’

He stated that ‘oh yes we would want to make sure everything is tidy when we leave’. I wanted to make sure that I got some compensatory habitat as a result of the works – so I asked ‘Can you leave the wheel ruts and the track markss please?’ To his amazement We don’t normally get asked to do that, normally we are told off for leaving wheel ruts and tracks on private land. I explained that I wanted to create small ponds and linear ditch features on the wash land. The easiest way to do this is by machine digging holes in the ground or in this case the wheels and tracks left behind the work on the telegraph poles.

creating shallow water bodies by machinerylinear water body creation

The mess left over was a little concerning. I was over the site with our botanist and I showed him the wheel or track ruts. He basically said ‘they got a bit stuck then?’ and finished off with ‘that would help with maximising the biodiversity of the site’


In Adders, ecosystems, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on March 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I am going to have to reveal what I know about this reptile translocation scheme. The title is the hash tag I have used highlighting the concerns over this project and what it means for conserving reptiles in the UK.

I will be highlighting the concerns of herpetologists on the RAUK Forum and details of what EARG has managed to find out about the project. First I want to highlight people to the guidance which the consultants are claiming to follow:-

English Nature 2004 – Aims of a reptile mitigation strategy

Planning fordevelopment andmitigationPlanning must incorporate two aims where reptiles are present:

1  To protect reptiles from any harm that might arise during the development work;

2  To ensure that sufficient quality,quantity and connectivity of habitatis provided to accommodate thereptile population, either on-site orat an alternative site, with no net loss of local reptile conservation status.

The latest standing advice for planning departments by Natural England – published on the web

A mitigation site in Essex

In great crested newts, mitigation, Observations, Wildlife on December 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Yesterday I visited a mitigation site for great crested newts, smooth newts, slow-worms, adders, grass snakes & lizards. A group of 6 ponds have been created in compensation for the loss of 2 ponds from a site located close by – in fact southwards over the A127.

The newt receptor site is developing well and has been in place for approx 3 years or so. In 2009/2010 over 3,000 newts were relocated from the ‘donor’ site to the area which is currently fenced in. I am looking to manage the site with the surrounding habitats on behalf of a developer who has had to create this receptor site along with an artificial washland.

I took my TDS meter with me to measure the total dissolved solids within the ponds and in pools of rainwater around the site. We have 6 ponds of various sizes and age in this area (you can see one of them in the photo). The TDS readings were surprising – some were above 400ppm and the middle pond had a TDS reading of less than 20ppm!  I suspect that some of the water draining into these ponds is coming from the former drainage system as outlined in this entry on the garden pond blog

I am planning to create new pond complexes within this area amongst the receptor site ponds – a series of small, medium sized shallow to mid depth ponds over the next year or so

It will be interesting to see how these ponds develop in the future – with a 20 year management agreement I will be able to find out…..