Floodplain Meadows Partnership: Steering group meeting 22 April

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
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
Hay/soil samples
200 repeat
24 new
25 new
120 repeats
50 repeats
200 repeats
18 repeat
24 new
100 repeats
50 new fixed locations
200 repeats
50 new fixed
60 repeats
100 new fixed
West Sedgemoor
60 repeats
OU (to be reinstalled)
Wheldrake Ings
70 (repeats and new)
30 new fixed
Oxford meadows
(Pixey, Oxey, Yarnton, Cassington)
Oxford control site
North Meadow (northern sector)
Elmlea Meadow
East Cottingwith Ings
(management trial)
Oxley Mead (+MillCrook)
North Meadow (southern sector)
Upton Ham
East Cottingwith Ings (Defra
Mottey Meadows
Mottey Meadows (grazed field)
Additional NVC surveys
Sherbourne SSSI
Besthorpe SSSI
c. 25
c. 25
Dipwell readings
Andy Dixon
Bureauveritas (or
OU (to be
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
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
 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
 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
 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.
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