Posts Tagged ‘Taming of the Flood’

Inglorious 12th

August 12, 2015

Hen Harrier Day in the Goyt Valley, the Buxton weekend as well as the series of HHD gatherings are best read via Mark Avery’s Standing up for nature blog.

2015 HH Day logo

Today marks the beginning of the grouse season, once upon a time billed as the ‘glorious 12th’ but the ‘moor’ one delves into the practices associated with the ‘sport’ the ‘moor’ one sees it as a historical land use and no longer fit for public purpose.  Today also sees Avery’s epetition racing towards 13,000 signatures and in all likelihood passing the milestone by midnight.  If you’ve not already signed it, then read his book Inglorious – Conflict in the Uplands to see a reasoned case for banning driven grouse shooting, and in so doing better protecting the peat to act as a carbon sink, water purification service amongst a whole series of extremely important ecosystem services.  Even the Independent appear to question the economic argument to provide sport for around two thirds of an ‘Old Trafford crowd’.  If you’ve already signed it then present the case to your friends, family and network?

Chris Packham in the latest edition of BBC Wildlife, rightly offers comment on the poor performance of politicians in terms of the environment and conservation.  Since 1970 he reports the loss of some 44 million birds from our countryside (The State of the UK’s Birds 2012), then he reflects on the ‘mysterious disappearance’ this spring of five of the last breeding hen harriers in England. The piece is Packham at his best, passionate and erudite and he asks “What tragedy will wake us all from lethargy and shake us into action?” 

Over the next few years we may well see the continued ‘disposal’ of public assets to private profiteers, it wasn’t that long ago that the sell off of the forest estate was abandoned but if you follow that topic then one might be forgiven for wondering if it were not being undertaken via other avenues?  Natural England were looking at disposal of the series of National Nature Reserves (NNRs).  Will we see continued erosion of protection as planning becomes less regulated?  Building in floodplains?  With the abandoning of the requirement to register contaminated land might there be an increase in building on post industrial brownfield sites?

We were reminded recently, of our failure to take better account of the sheer power of nature in the form of increased flood events when Jeremy Purseglove, Dr Paul Buckland and Prof. Ian Rotherham graphically illustrated catastrophic failure to heed history and prepare for increased incidences consequential of changes in land management and other practices.

Published in 2008 & since when increased incidences have occured, some in our region catastrophic.

Published in 2008 & since when increased incidences have occured, some in our region catastrophic.

Perhaps when the misery is wrought people will realise the politicians, civil servants and Public Bodies have agendas other than the public benefit?

What can be done about the disregard of the natural environment, fundamental to all life?  What are the statutory agencies and authorities doing to ensure that the law is adhered to?  What are the large membership organisations doing?  What can we do as individuals do?

With champions leading the way then the critical mass of collaborative endeavour can effect change, if we can continue to build a momentum because tomorrow is too late to hope that we can catch a shuttle to another habitable planet ….

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Floods and related matters & ‘moor’ invitations ….

August 2, 2015

A fabulous couple of days, on Friday 31 July the Forum network and visitors gathered in Crowle to hear a series of presentations by three well qualified speakers on wetland related topics offer thought provoking challenges.

“The Flood Untamed” was organised to celebrate Purseglove’s updating of his seminal work “Taming of the Flood” and the event which saw our return to Crowle Community Hall where ten years previously we held the first in the series of the Stephen W Warburton Memorial Lectures and where Jeremy had joined us to reflect on the loss of the ‘guardian of the Yorkshire landscape’ was well received if the feedback has been anything to go by.

We were treated to some thought provoking questions around water management and engineered vs softer more natural options particularly in floodplain areas.  With all three speakers offering well illustrated case studies from across the globe as well as a local perspective which included reports from Sheffield and Hull as well as the Doncaster area.

Dr Paul C Buckland spoke on Floodplains and the fossil record: What should we be aiming for? and Prof Ian D Rotherham provided graphic illustrations to accompany Here comes the flood.  Surprised?  How history should inform future water management.

This aberrant Gatekeeper was located on Thorne Moors whilst a Crowle audience listened to the possibility of increased flood events.  Image: Martin WArne.

This aberrant Gatekeeper was located on Thorne Moors whilst a Crowle audience listened to the possibility of increased flood events. Image: Martin Warne.

The following day – a delicious picnic which included home made shortbread and freshly picked  ‘Napoleon’ cherries – what better way to enjoy Yorkshire Day than in the company of delightful companions on the wonderful wetland wilderness of Thorne Moors which we accessed via Crowle Moors.  Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and the squeal of a hidden Water Rail amidst wetland vegetation along with the expected assemblage of sun loving butterflies in the drier areas along with a number of day flying moths including a Beautiful Hook-tip.  Damsels and Dragons too were numberous with aeshna, sympetrum, coenagrion and enallagma species represented.

Hidden gems amongst the juncus and other wetland vegetation. Image: Patrick Wildgust.

Hidden gems amongst the juncus and other wetland vegetation.
Image: Patrick Wildgust.

If readers are minded to consider experiencing the wetland for the first time or indeed for a ‘moor’ detailed look then why not come along on Monday 10 August and mingle on the mire with knowledable experts?

An Introduction to Wildflowers and Wildlife of a Peat Bog will take place on Thorne Moors.

The event is free but places are limited and pre-booking is essential. Please email info@hallamec.plus.com or telephone 0114 272 4227 or execsec@thmcf.org for more information or to reserve a place.

The event is with the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum, JBA Consulting Ltd., the British Ecological Society Peatland Group, Sheffield Hallam University, and South Yorkshire Biodiversity Research Group.

This is a unique chance to see the magnificent and expansive Thorne Moors – one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in Britain and one of Europe’s biggest restoration projects for nature conservation. No prior knowledge is required and this event is suitable for beginners wanting to see the Moors and find out about the special flowers, which grow there.We expect to see plenty of other wildlife too.

We will depart from the Delves Café car park at 10.45 am by minibus and return for 3 pm. Bring a packed lunch and drinks, plus suitable outdoor clothing. Use sunbloc if the weather is good and anti-insect ointment or sprays are recommended.

Come on, get out there and experience the magic before it is lost, before it ‘morphs’ as projects seek to ‘develop its potential’ ….

 


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Mark Avery

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a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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