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Upper Thames Tributaries ESA Wader Survey - Piloting Volunteer and Agreement Holder Monitoring - MA01025

The Upper Thames Tributaries Environmentally Sensitive Area Scheme was established in 1994 and now encompasses an area of 27,200ha. For Tiers 2 and 3B (the wet grassland options), revised prescriptions have been introduced to benefit the breeding wader interest. This includes the implementation of Grassland Management Plans to cover grazing and mowing regimes as well as water level management. A new Conservation Plan item promotes the establishment of shallow scrapes to provide improved feeding areas for wetland birds.

This project will involve resurveys of breeding waders in the ESA, looking at areas previously surveyed in 1994 and 1997. The 1994 baseline survey covered 42 sites totalling 3096.4ha (approximately 11% of the area). This was repeated in 1997. The 1997 survey showed a decline in all species of at least 34% compared to the 1994 survey. The spring of 1997 was dry and may not be representative of trends; however there is evidence that waders are continuing to decline in other areas of England and Wales outside nature reserves. The total population of waders in 1997 was just 79 pairs with over 50% (41 pairs) on Otmoor.

The project will also explore a range of issues surrounding the potential of volunteers and agreement holders to be involved in formal agri-environment scheme monitoring activities.

Project Aims
1. To assess the current breeding wader population and compare with previous surveys.
2. To evaluate the success of the ESA in providing habitat for breeding waders and increasing wader numbers.
3. To trial and evaluate novel approaches to the use of landowners and/or volunteers to monitor breeding wader populations and habitat condition, assessing
o cost effectiveness
o value of involving volunteers
o time requirements
o practicality
4. To identify key wader sites within the ESA for targeted action
5. To offer advice to agreement holders at key sites and failing sites.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Final Report.pdf   (908k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2005

Cost: £30,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Royal Society for Protection of Birds
Environmental monitoring              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Environmental Protection - Agriculture