CGO Ecology has been awarded a contract by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) to pilot a revised Common Standards Monitoring (CSM) methodology for herpetofauna interest features on English SSSIs. The project runs from January to March 2013, and will involve visits to 17 SSSIs and 9 SACs across England.
Protected sites are monitored on a six-yearly cycle, and current monitoring follows guidelines published by JNCC in 2004. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) has developed the new CSM methodologies to improve the accuracy of monitoring for England's most important sites for herpetofauna.
The new CSM system will need to monitor 35 from designated for great crested newt populations in England, as well as sites notified for their amphibian assemblages, sand lizard, smooth snake and other reptile populations.
CGO Ecology has a team of four surveyors testing the new CSM methodologies on 17 sites Cumbria to Dorset, and developing site-specific Favourable Condition Tables for each. The work is being carried out for ARC as part of their Memorandum of Agreement with Natural England.