The spring is always a busy time for ecological consultancies, and CGO Ecology's calendar is pretty full this year. In fact, it never quietened down over the winter 2013-2014; we have remained busy throughout. Much of it was down to EPS licence applications and the protracted drama these seem to be causing most practitioners these days. Here's a synopsis of what we're up to in spring 2014:
Dorset - Throughout spring 2014, we are working with Network Rail and their contractors Signalling Solutions Ltd and Geoffrey Osborne Ltd to mitigate the impacts of resignalling, bridgework and power supply projects on birds, reptiles and other biodiversity at a railway station in Dorset. Under an EPS mitigation licence, we have designed, restored and enhanced a reptile receptor area, and are currently translocating sand lizards, smooth snakes and other reptiles from areas affected by works.
Nottinghamshire - From our Nottinghamshire base, we are working with CPMG Architects Ltd to mitigate and compensate the impacts of a proposed residential development in Nottingham. Following an Extended Phase 1 survey, we are working on bird, bat and reptile surveys, and scoping out biodiversity offsetting options.
Highland Region - In partnership with Caledonian Conservation Ltd we have recently completed a status assessment of invertebrate interest features for 19 SSSIs in the Scottish Highlands. The project was part of Scottish Natural Heritage's statutory programme of Site Condition Monitoring.
Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Dorset - The Forestry Commission has awarded us a framework tender for amphibian and reptile surveys and advice over the 2014-2016 period.
Derbyshire - As part of our social and environmental responsibility, we are carrying out cost-free mollusc surveys for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The data also contributes to the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland's atlas work.
Morocco - Our expertise in the identification of small vertebrate remains has been valuable to the Taforalt Cave project run by Oxford University's Institute of Archaeology. We are currently producing a monograph chapter on the picture painted by herpetofaunal remains we identified from 100,000 years of cave sediments.
Dorset - We are currently assisting Dorset County Council with the reptile mitigation strategy for a major road project, and the negotiation process with Natural England.
Dorset - Solar energy company Good Energy Ltd has instructed CGO Ecology to design the reptile mitigation aspects of a large solar farm. Unusually for a major construction project, reptiles will be retained entirely in situ in this case, through carefully-designed avoidance measures to temporarily displace them progressively from working areas.
Dorset - Our reptile survey and mitigation expertise is again being employed to assist a quarry operator in designing a mitigation strategy and obtaining an EPSM licence.
Dorset - Chris Gleed-Owen is a Visiting Research Fellow at Bournemouth University's School of Applied Science. He has recently been teaching undergraduate ecology students about the ecological consultancy industry, and archaeology students about interpreting herpetofaunal remains. He is also supervising an undergraduate dissertation on invasive Australian landhoppers.
Dorset - We are contributing time voluntarily to the National Trust's Cyril Diver Project, assisting them to carry out bird, reptile, amphibian and mollusc and surveys. As ever, we are also helping Amphibian and Reptile Conservation with its NARRS and MTAC surveys; Butterfly Conservation with its Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey; and the Conchological Society with non-marine mollusc surveys.