Over the spring and summer Rutland Water Habitats Project has continued to make impressive progress.
Contractors working in the south arm of the reservoir created two extensive lagoons. Thousands of tons of steel and stone have been driven and laid into the bed of the reservoir to build a dam, ensuring the lagoons will remain water tight in future years during periods of drawdown.
The dam starts from Wigeon Hide on the Egleton part of the reserve and crosses to the near shoreline before sweeping across the south arm, ending up on the shoreline close to Deep Water Hide.
Water levels will be maintained by a system of tilting weirs, and each lagoon can work independently with levels being manipulated to provide the optimum feeding conditions for water birds.
During April a new pipe was laid from Goldeneye Hide to bring water from the reservoir to a further four new lagoons which are now in the process of being constructed. During August the final part of the project will see the creation of a series of scrapes, ditches and grips close to lagoon one. The aim will be to provide habitat for breeding waders such as redshank and snipe and ducks such as gadwall, shoveler and garganey.
The images below show how progess has been made up to the middle of June this year.
Removal of Tern Hide
During July, the dismantling of Tern Hide began, in order to make way for the new wetlands in the fields behind the hide. To read about this part of the project and see images of the work involved, click here
New grips and scrapes
During the latter part of the Summer, a special digger was commissioned to create shallow grips and scrapes over the new weltand areas. This involves removing soil for the grips, whilst not wishing to create high banks of spoil on either side of these scrapes. Therefore, the special digger is used to “scatter” the soil in a wide area as it creates the channels. This will help to encourage waders and create the perfect habitat for them.
As well as the scrapes, deeper gulleys needed to be created and as the gulleys are dug out, a “mole” type compactor follows along to firm and compact the ground. Images below show the work in progress.
The LRWT are delighted to be joining forces with Caterpillar and The Caterpillar Foundation.in a new programme of activities to further the new Wetlands creation project. Read more about this partnership here, with more information to follow on the progress of this project in the coming months.
Newt Fencing: what’s it all about?
Anyone walking on the reserve at the moment will, I’m sure, not fail to see the huge amount of ugly plastic fencing between the Birdwatching Centre at Egleton and Manton Bay.
This fencing has been erected by ecological consultants in order to catch Great Crested Newts, a species that is protected under schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and also included within the EC habitats directive.
The Great Crested Newt has the same legal protection in the UK as the Osprey, a species close to all our hearts, so we do our upmost to protect them.
The fencing had to be in place before work started on the new Lagoons C1 to C4 and the arrival of the heavy earth moving machinery!
The way the fencing works is twofold; there is an outer perimeter and a number of smaller sections within that.
The inner sections house a large number of traps that have been strategically placed so that as many of the newts in the specified area can be caught and relocated to suitable habitats well away from the construction site.
Once the trapping phase is completed the inner sections of fencing can be removed and construction work can progress. The outer sections of fencing will remain in situ until work is completed. This is to ensure that newts cannot get back into the construction site whilst the machinery is operating. (as if they would!)