February 2021 Newsletter

Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Newsletter

February 2021

Hi all,

A lot has happened since the last newsletter, as almost two months have already gone by! Thank you for all of the hard work that you have put into the scheme during these difficult times. The wildlife warden scheme is constantly growing and moving in the right direction.
My most recent wildlife sighting – A barnacle-looking gall found on bramble. Perhaps this isn’t the most beautiful sighting, but I found it fascinating. I believe that they were created by Diastrophus rubi, which is a small parasitoid wasp. A gall can contain up to 200 larvae, each in an individual cell
The new website
We have created a subdomain on the ACT website for the Wildlife Warden Scheme. It is still in development, but it already contains lots of useful information: 
– A wide range of resources
– A list of citizen science projects
– An interactive map showing current wildlife warden projects (it is still in development)
– Information on setting up an ACT email address (for those that have been sent one)
– Information on finding planning applications
– A page for training resources. Audrey has been busy writing lots of documents that will go here soon
– A news section where you can find all previous newsletters
Seagrass restoration
We have been finding out a lot about seagrass (eelgrass) habitats. There are two species of seagrass (Zostera noltei and Z.marina), which provide an important habitat for a wide range of species, including spawning fish, overwintering wildfowl and seahorses. They are also very important for stabilising the seabed, cleaning surrounding seawater and absorbing vast quantities of CO2.

Unfortunately, seagrass is critically endangered and is threatened by high nutrient levels (mainly from fertilisers and animal waste), damage from anchors and propellers, disease, and destructive fishing practices. There is anecdotal evidence that seagrass probably existed in the Teign Estuary prior to the 1990’s, however, it is no longer present. Seagrass in the Exe Estuary has expanded in recent years and can be found near Dawlish Warren, Exmouth and Lympstone.

Many organisations are working together to restore seagrass meadows throughout the UK. The Life ReMEDIES project is being led by Natural England and is replanting seagrass in the Plymouth Sound SAC and Torbay (amongst other areas). ReMeMaRe is a collaborative project being chaired by the Environment Agency, which aims to restore seagrass meadows throughout the UK. We will continue to find out more about what can be done to improve seagrass meadows within Teignbridge! We are in contact with the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and they are also interested in seagrass management.
Current projects
Here is an overview of some of the wonderful things that you have been up to.
College Ward – Newton Abbot

Christine Callard’s (Wildlife Warden for College Ward) project at Ogwell Cross Cemetery is taking shape. With help from Ogwell Wildlife Wardens (Louise Sessions, Beki Flower and Betina Winkler), we planted a 40m section of hedgerow (whilst socially distanced of course)! A mix of native species were planted, including hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, sweet briar, elder, field maple, rowan and crab apple. Various wildflowers will be planted in front of the new hedgerow and Christine has plans for a seating area. TDC are also interested in the possibility of using the site for green burials. If you have any ideas for projects on sites owned by TDC, please speak to either Audrey or I, and Audrey will contact TDC with the idea. We would prefer it if you don’t contact TDC directly, as they are very busy and we have a system in place to avoid swamping them with too much work.
Chudleigh
It is great to hear that there is an ever-growing interest in wildlife in Chudleigh. Chudleigh Wild’s wildlife gardening campaign has been a great success and they have already handed out 11 plaques (certificates) to households that are doing everything that they can for wildlife. Their bat group has increased from 8 people to 30 and they have a strong volunteer work party!
Abbotskerswell
Emily Marbaix has also been promoting wildlife gardening within her parish. She wrote a brilliant poem which will be included in the local parish newsletter. It includes information on how to ‘Be a spring wildlife champion’.
Shaldon and Ringmore
Julie Gregory and Paul Havemann have been busy finding out about the health of the Teign Estuary, fish populations (mainly salmon and sea trout), local seagrass habitats and keeping an eye on local planning applications.
Westcountry CSI
There are currently seven Wildlife Wardens signed up to the Westcountry Rivers Trust’s Citizen Science Investigations. This includes the parishes of Dawlish, Ogwell, Dunsford and Moretonhampstead. Volunteers record habitats, wildlife, pollution, water quality and other hydromorphological variables. Information gathered is very important, as the Environment Agency has reduced the number of waterbodies that it surveys, and at the same time, no rivers in the UK are of good chemical standard and only 14% are of good ecological standard. If you would like to sign up to the Westcountry CSI, please copy me into your email, so that we know how many wildlife wardens are involved in this scheme.
 
Do contact me with any queries about the Wildlife Warden Scheme. I look forward to meeting more of you at future training sessions.

Best wishes,

Flavio

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.