Floodplain Meadows Partnership: Steering group meeting 22 April 2008 Research Co-ordinator report. Programme of research for 2008 The programme of survey work for the 2008 season has now been arranged and staff resources secured. Vegetation records will be made for 1339 fixed position quadrats; 122 hay and soil samples will be collected for chemical analysis and new dipwells will be installed at 2 sites. (A, B & C list sites refer to the lists appended to the Partnerships original monitoring strategy.) A list: All sites on the list will be visited; providing 670 repeat quadrats and 49 new locations 86 hay and soil samples will be collected. A repeatable sampling strategy will be introduced for future sampling. A control site for Oxford will be selected (Grafton Lock, Ducklington or Marston Meadows) at which 25 quadrat locations will be surveyed and an additional 4 soil and hay samples collected. B list: All sites on the list will be covered. At North Meadow, East Cottingwith and West Sedgemoor this will provide 320 repeat quadrat records and a further 4 hay samples At Portholme, Upton Ham and Mottey Meadow a further 200 quadrats will be recorded. Some will be repeats based on previous (1998) surveys. An additional 20 hay & soil samples will be collected Site Vegetation quadrats Hay/soil samples 200 repeat 24 new 25 new 120 repeats 50 repeats 200 repeats 18 repeat 24 new 4 20 20 100 repeats - 50 new fixed locations 200 repeats 50 new fixed 60 repeats 10 10 4 OU EA tba OU 100 new fixed 10 West Sedgemoor 60 repeats - OU (to be reinstalled) RSPB? C LIST Wheldrake Ings 70 (repeats and new) 12 30 new fixed - A LIST Oxford meadows (Pixey, Oxey, Yarnton, Cassington) Oxford control site North Meadow (northern sector) Elmlea Meadow East Cottingwith Ings (management trial) Oxley Mead (+MillCrook) B LIST Portholme North Meadow (southern sector) Upton Ham East Cottingwith Ings (Defra quadrats) Mottey Meadows Mottey Meadows (grazed field) Additional NVC surveys Sherbourne SSSI Besthorpe SSSI Non-repeatable c. 25 c. 25 Dipwell readings Andy Dixon tba EA tba OU Bureauveritas (or OU) OU (to be installed) - Fancott Meadows SSSI c. 25 C list: Restoration projects. Two new restoration sites are proposed for this field campaign, in addition to the ongoing restoration programme at E.Cottingwith (part of the A-list). Wheldrake Ings in North Yorkshire, is proposed for monitoring to coincide with a major change in hydrological management: 70 quadrats (some repeats of 2002/2006 surveys) plus 12 hay & soil samples and dipwell installation. Mottey Meadows: return to traditional hay meadow management of a field managed as pasture for the past c30 years. Additional sites will be visited. A maximum of four will be subject to a full NVC survey to add to the existing floristic data base of MG4 and others targeted for future restoration monitoring. Progress on data-base compilation The preparation of data for entry into the data-base is now well advanced with the structure of the database established and all past botanical data now prepared for entry. This has involved issues of site and quadrat numbering (as many records date back to the mid-1990s) to ensure the unique identity of each sample. Issues have also arisen with species nomenclature and coding. In excess of 10,000 records are already available for entry. Precise OS Grid references are becoming available following the acquisition of new GPS equipment. This will help in future distribution map production and speed up relocating as GPS relocation to centimetre accuracy is more efficient than the two-person Total Station method. Results of hay and soil sample analyses will be incorporated. Weekly water-table depths for all quadrat locations for the 10-year period preceding vegetation recording will also be entered into the data-base. This involves considerable data capture from previous projects and the re-running of many models. So far this work has concentrated on the principal sites where vegetation monitoring is ongoing. For West Sedgemoor SSSI, the modelling is now complete, for Cricklade and East Cottingwith SACs all recent hydrological data are now available and modelling is in process. Mottey Meadows SAC has a model from the BD1310 project, but will require new dip-wells and acquisition of past hydrological data for validation. For the Oxford Meads discussions are being held with Andy Dixon and David MacDonald (hydrological consultants working for EA) to assess what modelling is currently being undertaken as part of the Oxford Flood Risk management Study and how this can be utilised for the current studies. About 20 sites from the BD1310 project have hydrological models and it is hoped in time to migrate water-table depths for all these quadrats into the database. This represents >10,000 quadrats across the spectrum of floodplain meadow grassland communities.