Posted on Oct 20, 2010

Enhancement of nature reserve nears the final phase

Our work on the East London nature reserve is now nearing the final phase.

We have had a team on site undertaking the groundwork, which has included the creation of a reed bed covering a 1.5ha area. After the excavation work was completed, we planted over 70,000 reeds which, once established, will provide suitable habitat for water voles and other species.

We have installed over 2km of stock fencing around the water bodies to keep horses out of the reed bed and deter people! A viewing platform for visitors has also been built. The reed bed was created as compensation for water vole habitat lost when the adjacent area was cleared for development. The water voles were trapped and have been kept in specially designed pens in the interim. They and their offspring will be returned next summer. Temporary water vole fencing which we installed in order to keep out neighbouring water voles until the reeds have grown, will then be removed. Water voles are endangered and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).

On another part of the site, we have cleared vegetation and excavated wader scrapes. The wader scrapes will, in time, encourage the presence of birds including the black-tailed godwit, green sandpiper and redshank amongst many others.

We have reprofiled existing ditches to make suitable habitat for water voles, and a wind driven water pump and flow control devices will divert water from the main dyke and keep levels constant in the ditches.

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