As part of the MCF Protecting Ecological Infrastructure Programme, Penny Rees will be conducting water workshops in all Midlands Conservancies. She reports on the first one:
To my delight, the answer was Yes. Seven adults and four teenies weren’t going to be put off by a bit of mist and drizzle and duly arrived at the charming Old Haliwell Country Inn.
After a short slideshow on the catchment, of which this stream is an integral part, we headed off to do the mini sass,
spending a pleasant time pottering in the stream, discovering all sorts of interesting creatures.
It seems that the stream is situated on an old dolerite dyke, making for some amazing rock formations
Our youngest assistant came kitted out with a pink net and matching gumboots.
and a couple of the bigger lads found a caterpillar in the grasses beside the road
We all got together to pool our catch, then carefully identified each of the small invertebrates, scored them on the score sheet – and came out with a surprising score indicating that the stream is in Poor Condition!
On looking around we observed that upstream of our test site on this pristine looking stream is:
- A dam
- Cattle pastures – we saw algae and sludge on the rocks, a sign of possible excess nutrients in the water, possibly from the cattle
- Timber plantations (a pine plantation uses between 3,750 to 180,000 litres of water per hectare [the debate stems from differences of opinion] which the stream thus does not receive)
- A heavy infestation of invasive Brambles and Bug Weed on the banks of the stream
With these taken into account, a low score wasn’t so surprising!
On the way home, the men hopped out to investigate some Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker) flowers poking their inflorescences up above the long grass as the mist rolled in.
A short picnic lunch in the mist alongside a dam had a surreal atmosphere and was a tranquil end to the day.
To those who braved the water dripping from todays skies as well as in the burbling stream – thanks for joining me. I think I can safely say that apart from our feet, we remained dry and had a great morning. Also thanks to NT3C for funding the workshop and the Midlands Conservancies Forum and Curry’s Post Conservancy for arranging the workshop.
If you couldn’t make the workshop today, we will be holding our next Water Workshop in Dargle on 8th March 2014 – please contact Nikki firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.