Date publishedMonday, 27 March 2023
News from the team
It’s been another busy month in partnership-land; spring is finally here, but winter definitely seems to be dragging its feet on the way out! The core team have been beavering away behind the scenes as usual, supporting a range of projects across both catchments as well as drafting our Partnership Action Plan which we hope to share with you in the coming weeks. The Dorset Strategy Group had a sneak peek at the end of February, with opportunity to help shape its final look and content, feedback which we greatly appreciate and are taking on board.
Last month we also asked our Delivery and Strategy Groups to help us identify the priorities for developing the Partnerships and how we work together. Partners told us that there is positive leadership and that areas of expertise are well-understood and well-linked, with an appropriately wide range of stakeholders engaged. This is really positive feedback, but we know there are still areas to work on. Partners identified improving data and evidence sharing, and having a well-understood, outcomes-driven action plan linked to our strategic vision, as top priorities. The Action Plan is already well underway and improving how we share data and evidence across the partnership, particularly that which links directly to the outcomes we are seeking to improve, will form one of its key strands.
Aside from the Action Plan, my and Sally’s priorities this month continue to be supporting Louise with the Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme (PHNMS) as it gathers pace. Over 120 farmers have now joined PHNMS, treble our early predictions for year 1, which is hugely exciting and keeping Louise very busy! The Scheme will initially help us better understand the current level of nitrate losses to catchment from agriculture and, over the next 7 years, aims to reduce it significantly, with farmers in the driving seat and able to transition their businesses to more nutrient efficient models in a sustainable way.
Also we're hard at work with our Dorset Peat Partnership colleagues to build a solid case for future peatland restoration funding for 16 sites across the Dorset Heaths SAC. Our thanks to all the partners in the Peat project who continue to help us pull together a good deal of technical information in a short timescale. Read all about Grace's Peaty Puzzle here.
If you have something you’d like to share next month, please get in touch with Sally before Friday 14th April.
Natural England commissioned a survey on the distribution, population size, and activity of wild beavers covering 280km of channel in the River Avon catchment. Few management issues were noted, and the report will inform advice to Government on the reintroduction of beavers in England.
The auction catalogue is now out, and you can bid for over 400 lots. Everything from flyfishing in Dorset and overseas, to fishing tackle and signed artwork. The bidding closes on 26 March and the funds raised will help support river habitat improvement work and practical advice for riparian owners.
CaBA Communications Working Group
The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) are looking for participants to become part of their new Communications Working Group. Joining would require a commitment of at least one virtual meeting per month, and an understanding or experience in communications would be ideal. Please contact Natalie if you are interested in participating.
A three-year European Innovation Partnership project run alongside the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has seen a sixth fold increase in bird numbers visiting project farms and a doubling of farmland bird populations.
- Wildlife friendly gardening - Dorset Wildlife Trust encourages us all to take part in mini rewilding such as letting dandelions bloom or connect neighbouring gardens to create hedgehog highways. Find out more advice on how to make your garden more friendly for wildlife in this blog.
- Boaters’ app helping to protect seagrass - The Ocean Conservation Trust through has teamed up with Clean Sailors and Savvy Navvy a navigation app to make seagrass visible. A new feature has been added to the app that maps sensitive seagrass habitats and eco-moorings, which boaters can use to minimise disruption to sensitive seabeds.
Have your say
South West Water consultation - SWW are inviting comments on their Water Resources Management Plan. The draft plan and summary sets out how SWW will maintain secure, sustainable water supplies to customers in the future (out to 2050) whilst also protecting and enhancing the environment. The closing date for comments is 9 May 2023. Natalie will be collating a Partnership response to this, the Wessex Water equivalent and the regional West Country Resources Group WRMP; to feed in your comments to any of these responses, please contact Natalie directly. As always, we encourage partners to submit their own responses as well.
Petition to make swift bricks compulsory in new housing - The Red-Listed Common Swift has declined by more than 50% in the UK in recent decades. The petition wants swift bricks to be required in all new housing, as nesting cavities have become increasingly scarce in housing as old holes are blocked up and building standards have improved. Sign the petition here.
Petition for more rural buses - Sign this petition to the Secretary of State for Transport to call for a more reliable bus service for rural communities. More buses will mean less traffic and air pollution, less isolation, as well as better access to green spaces for everyone.
The Royal Society’s grant aims to give students an opportunity to take action to address climate and biodiversity issues. Schools can apply for grants up to £3,000 to run investigative projects in partnership with STEM professionals.
As of March this year, almost all grant funding has been allocated for project delivery up to March 2024. However, there are still funds available for projects to be delivered in 2024/2025.
DEFRA’s Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is open for business for grants for the management of slurry. Farmers can apply for grants up to the 4th April 2023. Grants for animal health and welfare are expected to follow shortly.
Events and webinars
Water for Tomorrow - On Wednesday 22nd March, Water for Tomorrow are hosting a conference to explore innovative solutions to enable more responsive short term management of drought events and better long term planning, as well as investment in water management at a local scale.
Working with the farming community drop in discussion - This is a CaBA informal virtual meeting on the 23rd March, where ideas for building effective relationships with members of the farming community can be shared.
Help Our Planet talks - Wild about Wilding - Julia Hailes MBE, sustainability pioneer and environmental author will share her experience of rewilding 3.5ha of Hooke Farm in West Dorset. The event is on 29th March, at Sladers Yard, West Bay, Bridport. Find out more here.
CaBA - Plastic Webinar - In February, the webinar discussed and showcased partnership projects tackling plastic pollution including mapping, citizen science, prevention, and macro and microplastic surveys. Catch up here.
CaBA - NFM Hub - The Natural Flood Management Hub is a useful tool where users can record and map their NFM projects around the country. Learn more here.
- The Urban Heaths Partnership, have a vacancy for an Area Seasonal Warden hosted by Dorset Council. The closing date for applications is 19th
- WWT are looking for a Chief Executive Officer to help create a more sustainable future for wildlife and people. The closing date is 20th
- The Freshwater Biological Association has an opportunity for a UK Programme Coordinator - Riverfly Partnership, and the closing date is 24th
- Wessex Water are looking for an Assistant Catchment Adviser, apply by the 27th
- The Environment Agency are hiring a Citizen Science Coordinator to lead and engage with their citizen science partnership. The application deadline is 2nd
- Dorset Council have a vacancy for a Flood Risk Management Engineer. Applications close on 5th
- Sustrans are hiring a National Cycle Network Biodiversity Officer. The application deadline is 16th
- Butterfly Conservation have a vacancy for a Dorset and Wiltshire Landscape Officer, applications in for 12th
- WildFish are looking for a Campaigns Researcher, and the closing date is 14th April.