Date publishedThursday, 20 July 2023
News from the team
Welcome to July’s newsletter, the last one before we take a summer e-news break. There’s lots to share this month, including a short film produced by the Environment Agency which explains the nutrient issues faced by Poole Harbour and introduces some of the work that’s happening to start to tackle them - definitely worth a watch with a cuppa, and do please share on with interested partners and colleagues.
For the core team the project development theme continues; we are working with the Peat Partnership on its Discovery work and preparing for delivery (pending grant success) of the Restoration phase, and with both of our area’s water companies to prepare project briefs for their business plans on the Stour chalk streams and clay vales developing project we have talked about previously. We’ve also been exploring ways of better reporting back to you, our partners, on what we do as a core team and as a wider partnership, so if you have particular thoughts on this, please do let us know. We’ll be working on this over the summer with a view to sharing information with you in our next newsletter in September.
I know August is often a ‘quieter’ month workwise with people taking well-earned leave and enjoying time with families; for others, the ‘quiet’ is an opportunity to get things done with fewer meetings. Whichever camp you fall into, we hope you find time to enjoy our beautiful catchments (which do, after all, include the coast). The DCP office is open all summer, so do get in touch if you need us.
Rivers Test and Itchen benefit from growing Environmental Farmers Group
The EFG has another 31 farmers joining, taking the total to 178 farms covering 81,3144 ha. The group is convened by GWCT and audited by Natural Capital Advisory (NCA) helping the group to navigate the carbon, phosphate and biodiversity offset market.
Launch of the Chalk Stream Strategy’s Implementation Plan
The Implementation Plan includes actions and commitments to increase investments in restoring chalk catchments. It addresses the impact of water abstraction, agricultural pollution, and storm overflows, and seeks to hold regulators and industry to account. Additionally, all chalk catchments are now designated ‘water stressed’, enabling the roll-out of metering.
Saving water tips
With hosepipe bans in Devon, Cornwall, Kent and Sussex both Wessex Water and South West Water provide simple tips and advice on how to save water at home and work and offer a range of simple-to-fit water efficiency devices.
How a poisonous pea could become a vital crop in the climate crisis
Research is ongoing to remove toxicity from a protein-rich, drought and flood resistant grass pea. This grass pea has been harvested for as long as 8,000 years, but its toxicity can cause irreversible paralysis when consumed as the main food source.
Daffodil diets for livestock may help climate change
Tests have shown a chemical called haemanthamine from daffodils can reduce methane emissions from livestock by 30% when added to feed.
Saving moths may be as important as saving bees
A study by the University of Sheffield has found that moths carry more pollen, as well as visit a wider variety of tree and fruit crops than previously identified. With increasing urbanisation, the study has shown how complex the network of pollination is between insects and plants. This has emphasised how increasing urbanisation will require initiatives such as wildlife-friendly gardening to protect our pollinators.
Heatwaves - a mixed blessing for amphibians
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust share the ups and downs for amphibians of short-term heatwaves and longer dry spells at critical times of year. Download a 'Dragons in your Garden' guide for simple steps on how you can help.
New investment in peat
Just 1% of England’s lowland peatlands remain in a near-natural state. The Government has announced £7.5 million of new investment and actions for agriculture to rewet lowland peat soils, deliver carbon emission reductions, improve food security, boost wetland biodiversity, and better protect communities from flooding.
Restoring the water quality and ecology of Poole Harbour.
The Environment Agency has commissioned a short film which explains the nutrient issues and sources affecting Poole Harbour. Film maker Justin Owen also introduces the Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme which provides a mechanism for farmers to work together to reduce nitrates entering the harbour from agriculture.
Preventing Plastic Pollution in Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour was one of 7 pilot catchments involved in the Preventing Plastic Pollution project led by the River Communities group at Queen Mary University of London. They have now shared the summary which links to micro and macro plastics in the harbour.
Funding for farmers in Dorset
Over the last 2 years, Dorset AONB has allocated £2.18 million of Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme (FiPL) to local farmers. Defra’s report showcases projects which have benefited across National Parks and AONBs. Dorset AONB are inviting farmers and landowners to get in touch to discuss project ideas as £1 million is still available.
Outbreak of avian flu on Brownsea Island
The Dorset Wildlife Trust area of Brownsea Island has been closed to the public after an outbreak of avian flu affected nearly 600 birds. Most of the infected birds found were chicks, which will impact future bird populations.
Experts from Forestry England have confirmed that the goshawk population is beginning to expand across Hampshire and Dorset. 45 pairs have been recorded this year. Studying these birds has given a unique insight into their behaviour.
Poole Harbour Paddle Power Map
The Poole Harbour Bird and Recreation Initiative (BARI) has launched a Paddle Power map. This free map provides safety information as well as advice on how to be a considerate water user around the rare and globally threatened bird species that come to the harbour. The map is primarily for paddle boarders, kayakers, and canoeists.
The crucial role of nutrient neutrality schemes
Dorset Wildlife Trust has highlighted the importance of nutrient neutrality schemes for Dorset rivers and Poole Harbour. This could set back the delivery of schemes such as Wild Woodbury, which has already seen an increase in wildlife after letting the land recover from nutrient inputs.
Save Our Wild Seas
Dorset Wildlife Trust is fundraising to help fund work clearing up pollution and plastic from beaches, and to carry out seashore surveys and monitor the effects of pollution on seals and other wildlife.
Have your say
Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre survey
BCP would like to know your views on the visitor centre - why you visit, what you enjoy there and what you think could be improved or created. The information gathered will be used to feed into future plans for the centre. The survey closes on 30 September 2023.
British Ecological Society
The Outreach Grant will fund projects that promote and engage with the public with the science of ecology. The closing date for application is 30th August.
Landscape Recovery scheme
Apply for this year’s application round for projects that support net zero, protected sites and wildlife-rich habitat, until midday on 21st September 2023.
Events and webinars
Heath Week - A week of events celebrating heathlands across the region from 24th to 30th July.
National Whale and Dolphin watch survey 2023 - Join Dorset Wildlife Trust on the lookout for dolphins as part of a national survey on 29th July between 11-3pm at Kimmeridge.
Arne Osprey guided walk - Join experts on guided walks being offered from 4th August to 21st September at RSPB Arne. With fantastic views over Poole Harbour, it's the perfect location to spot Osprey fishing low over the water, perching to consume their catch or soaring overhead.
Dorset museum hosts wildlife photographer of the year exhibition - The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is coming to Dorset Museum 21st July through to 29th October.
Big Butterfly Count - Take part in Butterfly Conservation’s UK-wide survey by simply counting the numbers and type of butterflies you see in 15 minutes. There’s a free app and helpful ID chart. Join in until Sunday 6th August.
Lulworth Estate butterfly and wildlife walks - On 8th August or 9th September join the Lulworth Rangers and Butterfly Conservation on a Butterfly and Wildlife walk on the Lulworth Estate.
Melplash Agricultural Show - On Thursday 24th August, visit the show at West Bay Showground in Bridport. Tickets can be booked here.
Dorset County Show - Livestock, farm machinery, axemen, best Victoria sponge cake, and more can be seen at the show from 2nd & 3rd September. Book tickets here.
Become a Water Guardian - Dorset Wildlife Trust are recruiting and training volunteers to monitor water courses, identify possible pollution incidents and report them to Wessex Water for further investigation. The project is funded by Wessex Water and focuses on the Frome, Piddle and Stour and their tributaries.
- Urban Heaths Partnership are hiring an Urban Heaths Project Support Officer. Closing date 30th July.
- Severn Rivers Trust have a vacancy for a Catchment Restoration Officer. The closing date is 30th July.
- The Rivers Trust are looking to hire a Senior Technical Analyst. The application deadline is 30th July.
- The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust are recruiting a Fisheries Ecologist / Scientist. Apply by the 31st July.
- The Environment Agency are looking to hire a Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology Team Leader. Apply by 1st August.
- Wessex Water are looking for a Catchment Adviser, Supply Scientist and Senior Environment and Planning Specialist Senior Environment and Planning Specialist. The closing date for all positions is 1st August.
- West Country Rivers Trust have an opportunity for an Operation Team Project Officer. Apply by the 13th August.
- Bath and North East Somerset have a vacancy for a Climate and Engagement Team Manager. Applications in by 20th August.