Working with partners, Nature After Minerals is here to offer and share best-practice advice on biodiversity-led minerals restoration.
Wet woodlands are an important habitat often overlooked in floodplain restoration. They are a rare and extremely fragmented habitat need of expansion.
Open water bodies – mesotrophic and eutrophic standing waters in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan – usually occur where gravel pits are situated in river floodplains. Many are important for a range of wetland wildlife. Clay and some chalk extraction can also create open water habitat. Opencast coal sites are suitable where the overburden includes considerable clay measures.
Saline lagoons are bodies of brackish to hyper-saline water that are partially connected with the sea. Some exchange of seawater occurs with the sea through over-topping an impermeable barrier, by percolation of sea water through the sediment or via man made sluices. Tidal range is greatly reduced or non-existent in the lagoon, and so there is little exposure of bed sediment. Saline lagoons occur in low-lying, often soft sediment coastlines, generally south and east England.
Reedbeds are dense stands of common reed that occur predominantly in river floodplains and low-lying coastal plains. They are a nationally scarce habitat supporting several rare dependent species of birds and invertebrates, such as the bittern and reed leopard moth.
Rafts are a useful way of providing island habitat in areas of deep open water, where the depth is greater than 45-50cm. Their purpose is to improve breeding success by providing areas safe from flooding, disturbance or predation.
Islands are an important habitat feature, providing disturbance-free nesting for ducks, waders and terns. They are particularly valuable in providing both an ecological and landscape feature in large-scale waterbodies.
Until recently, floodplain woodland restoration was often overlooked on mineral sites situated on floodplains. However, certain sites could offer excellent opportunities for creating floodplain woodland, which in turn would provide multiple benefits.
These habitats develop on land which is periodically flooded or waterlogged by fresh or brackish water, and where agricultural management– grazing, mowing or a combination – promotes vegetation dominated by lower-growing grasses, sedges and rushes.
Cassington Quarry original restoration plan prior to the western extension was for more open water, but due to concerns raised from the local Oxford Airport and Ministry of Defence, a new design was put forward featuring a reedbed restoration for this final stage of the extraction.
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