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Newt relocation project

Junior ecologist Holly has been working away in Worcester during October on a Great Crested Newt (GCN) trapping and relocation project as an assistant under license. This is in preparation of some major flood mitigation embankment works being planned to protect the village of Severn Stoke from any future flooding. A Temporary Amphibian Fence (TAF) has been placed roughly 3000m around the site due for works which includes a few water bodies where the GCNs have been breeding. Along this fence line there were pitfall trap buckets and refuge mats placed roughly every 5m which Holly would check every morning for any amphibians. During her first week, Holly had found both a male and female adult GCN, and a couple of female smooth newts, which she collected up and transported to one of the two hibernacula relocation sites where they will not be affected by the works. By the second week, it had seemed that all the GCNs had successfully managed to move on whilst the frogs and toads were a bit slower and still being caught daily in traps or refugia (these were also moved on to the other side of the fence in sheltered areas). Unfortunately for the Midlands, storm Babet made an appearance at the end of week two with heavy rainfall which meant the flood gates on the nearby River Severn had to be closed. This caused extreme land flooding once more for the village of Severn Stoke for the second time this year which included our site.

The water level rose so high, in some places the TAF was no longer visible and too dangerous for Holly to access, so she could only continue with her search for only one-third of the site that wasn’t affected. Any pitfall traps caught by this flood water rose and eventually drifted away when the waters receded which meant for Holly having to try and find as many as she could and get them reset into the ground once conditions were back to normal. Since then, Holly found one juvenile GCN along with a couple of smooth newts. Unfortunately, this project had to be closed early due to the effect the flood had on the site with not all areas not being managed/checked, which meant non-compliance. Enims will now look to work with the Environmental Agency to think of a bespoke project for Severn Stoke with us returning next year to carry out further GCN works.

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