Friday, 15 August 2014

Wetland creation sites are just like buses

 Nick Carter, Conservation Officer (Fens)

You wait ages for one to come along and then two arrive at the same time! Construction works at the two new reed beds at Hilgay and Potter Heigham are now finished. The abstraction system at Hilgay, from the River Wissey, was finally installed, tested and shown to be leak-free. At the Potter site the water control structures to allow water from Hickling Broad onto the site was installed.

Although these important milestones have been reached the work is only really just starting. Diggers from William Morfoot Ltd are on site at Potter to create pools to act as fish refuges and feeding sites for the bitterns that will hopefully take up residence on the site. These will closely be followed by reed planters coming in to plant up the edges of these pools and to re-stock some of the caged areas that were planted last year but where the reed plugs did not grow.  

At Hilgay the site will be wetted up over the winter to encourage survival of the reeds that were planted last year and to aid their spread across the site. It will take several years however for the site to be completely filled with water and even longer for the reed beds to develop.

Bulldozer stripping the top soil at Methwold
Next door to the Hilgay site construction work has just started on the Methwold site with Fen Group’s bulldozer working to strip top soil prior to the excavation of new ditches and the construction of the perimeter bund. Work will stop at the end of the autumn to preserve the soil structure and it is hoped that all the work will be completed by next summer. This will allow reed planting to be carried out prior to the site being wetted up, with the water coming from Hilgay.

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