A year in the life of the Ecology team

The start of a new year is a good time to review and reflect on our work and achievements from 2019. We have a large team of highly experienced ecologists, with membership to Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), delivering project across seven of our UK offices. The Ecology team have been involved in some interesting projects in 2019 and here are just some of the highlights from our Exeter-based ecology team:

One of our local long-running projects, ecological monitoring of the South Devon Link Road, involved checking a bat roost constructed as mitigation under licence. On our summer check last year we found a group of (wide awake!) brown long-eared bats using a bat box – it’s always good to see mitigation working!

Camera traps

Our involvement in the ecological impact assessment for another relief road scheme in mid-Devon saw us tracking the movements of Otter in the River Culm to determine potential impacts of the new road. Our camera traps not only picked up our target species, but a few other photo-bombing animals too…

 

Grass snakeOver in Dorset we were undertaking protected species surveys as part of an ecological impact assessment for a site proposed for a small housing development. It turned out to be great for wildlife, and we found a range of species including Dormice, Grass Snakes, Common Lizard, Slow Worm, Palmate and Smooth Newts and (unfortunately!) the non-native Signal Crayfish, with a range of bats including the rare Barbastelle and Greater Horseshoe foraging and commuting through the site. We have carefully planned mitigation, compensation and biodiversity net gain of habitats to ensure that the site remains a haven for these species.

 

Shrill Carder Bumble beeA bit further afield, in sunny (mostly…) Wales, we saw the first year of surveys for the Sands of LIFE (SoLIFE) project, an ambitious Natural Resources Wales project that aims to restore sand dune habitats across Wales. A range of environmental teams across JBA are involved in this project, undertaking surveys for vegetation, Sand Lizard and Great Crested Newts, hydrology, soils, geomorphology and (my favourite) invertebrates. The invertebrate surveys kept teams from Exeter, Newport and Doncaster busy and spoiled us with some beautiful locations and insects, including the rare Shrill Carder Bumblebee.

Further inland in Wales, we undertook condition monitoring surveys for a different habitat type – Celtic rainforest. We visited some enchanted looking, and in some cases steep and bramble/goat filled, oak woodlands. This tested our navigation as well as our plant ID skills.

Snowdonia

 

Our last surveys of the year, led by the Coleshill Geomorphology team and with ecologists from Doncaster and Exeter, saw us back in Wales yet again, but this time in December surveying rivers. We saw more of the Welsh countryside (and rain), and spotted Kingfisher, Dippers, Otter footprints and the odd bit of mining history. The aim of these surveys was to collect baseline information to allow development of options for river restoration within several river catchments.

It’s been a busy start to 2020 and we’re looking forward to working on many exciting projects again this year!

Want to know more?

If you would like more information about these projects or if you need any ecology support on projects in the south-west email Carly Benefer. If you would like to discuss how we can work with you on projects throughout the UK, email Steve Maslen.  You can also find out more about our ecology services on our webpages.



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