New Life on the Old West aquatic vegetation and coleoptera survey has been completed
During the spring we engaged experienced consultant aquatic ecologists, Jonathan Graham and Martin Hammond, to undertake an ecological survey of drainage ditches and ponds within the New Life on the Old West project area. These were completed during May and June and have received their excellent and detailed report.
Near threatened Rhantus frontalis beetle, found in Furtherford (Over)
A total of 125 water bodies were sampled across the project area, using wetland plants and aquatic Coleoptera (water beetles) as indicators of ecological quality. One hundred and twenty-five pond or drain plants, 99 bank plants and 108 water beetle species were recorded. Plants included one categorised as Critically Endangered in England, one classed as Endangered, four classed as Vulnerable and six as Near Threatened as well as one Nationally Scarce species. Water beetles included eight species which are listed as Near Threatened and ten which are categorised as Nationally Scarce.
Near threatened Hydaticus tranversalis beetle, found in Haddenham Engine Drain
The full Vegetation and Aquatic Survey Report can be downloaded here. The surveyors concluded that while the Old West river itself is highly eutrophic, impacting the ecological quality of the adjoining ditches, some 42% of water bodies surveyed have been classed as being of conservation importance for biodiversity, and that the predominantly agricultural water bodies surveyed within the New Life project area have significant ecological value for their ditch plant and water beetle assemblages.