Flourishing Floodplains project update

Survey work for Our Green Recovery Challenge Funded project in the Severn and Avon Vales is now complete. This has been a fantastic effort by our team of wonderful volunteer surveyors who have been out and about over the summer helping us to investigate the quality and extent of floodplain meadows across the vale.

Collectively they have spent almost 240 hours in the field, contributing to data collection from 984 hectares of floodplain grassland.  All this effort is shaping up to be a great dataset which, once analysed, will allow us to identify areas of existing areas of Lowland Meadow Priority Habitat and grassland with potential for restoration to species-rich floodplain meadows.  This knowledge will give us a valuable quantitative overview of grassland quality across a large area, inform future landscape scale nature recovery projects, and allow us to help landholders with stewardship applications to protect and restore their meadows.

Alongside the botanical surveys we have dug 600 holes and collected 499 soil samples from different habitat types (species-rich and restored meadows, modified grasslands and arable) this summer, phew!  The samples are currently being analysed by the Open University lab and will add to our emerging dataset and research on soil carbon. Watch this space for the results later in the year.

The project will now move on to the data analysis and reporting phase.  Working with our partners WWT and FWAG Southwest we will be producing tailored reports for each landholder visited over the spring and summer. This will provide detailed, site-specific survey information on meadows, breeding curlew, European eel, and pond health, informing and empowering landholders to apply for stewardship schemes should they wish.

Photo of a soil sample being held
© Caroline O'Rourke