FLOW Project

Volunteers take on the Coir Roll Challenge!

March 16th, 2018 by Nikki

Last weekend a team of dedicated volunteers, with FLOW Project Leader Jane at the helm, took on the challenge of distributing 40 coir rolls to 8 sites across the Manhood Peninsula. They were ably assisted by Campbell Thorp, who drove the rolls around in his pick-up truck, and all went home happy in the knowledge of a task well done…and lots of loose coir fibres in their ears, mouths and clothing! A huge thanks is extended to all the volunteers that helped shift these rolls about, and a special thanks to Campbell Thorp for his work with his pick-up and trailer. The use of coir rolls is an important part of the habitat creation and improvement work that MWHG do, and we asked Jane to tell us more about the rolls and how they work.

In a nutshell, what is a coir roll?

A coir roll is a long sausage shaped bundle made of coconut fibres, which are bound together with bio-degradable cord. It’s an environmentally sound use of coconut fibres which are otherwise a waste product of coconut production. The coir rolls in this case have been delivered to us dry and they have 18-20 holes cut into them where plug plants can be placed. The benefit of dry coir rolls is that they are only 20-30 kg to heft about, compared to the 80 – 100 kg when wet. It also means that we can populate them up with the plants of our choosing as they are not pre-planted, so we can introduce very specific species relevant to the local area.

Volunteers lift the coir rolls into position. The Wad, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

Purple areas of loose coir where it can be removed and plug plants put in. Hale Farm, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

These coir rolls will be staked into place and then planted up with a range of riparian species to improve biodiversity and to stabilise the ditch banks. Once staked, the coir rolls absorb water and are a great medium for the plants to grow in. The plants soon put on growth and create large roots that go through the coir and into the banks of the ponds, ditches or banks where they have been placed. They do not need any topping up and will thrive, as demonstrated in the photos of Birdham Pond below. They then just require light cutting back once a year like any other vegetation. The coir will eventually disappear completely leaving the plants growing in the underlying soil.

Pre-planted coir rolls being installed at Kingfisher pond in Birdham. ©Jane Reeve

 Kingfisher pond 4 months on with the vegetation growth. ©Jane Reeve

After coir rolls are installed, the growth in one year can be incredible.

Why is the use of coir rolls important to MWHG’s work?

By helping to stabilise ditch and stream banks and introducing more plant biodiversity into the wetlands, we are trying to create better water vole habitat. Water Voles are England’s fastest declining mammal, so this work with help ensure that that they continue to have a stronghold on the Manhood Peninsula.

How do you decide where to put the coir rolls?

We target wetland sites that have very little floristic diversity, and which have been heavily shaded and under managed over a long period in the past. We have worked on these sites over the last couple of years removing willow and bramble that didn’t allow light to hit the water, opening them up and digging them out. The final stage is introducing native wetland species with the help of coir rolls that we can plant with plugs. This year, we have decided to target Hilton Business Park pond, the Cakeham Manor wetland area, Hale Farm, Regency house and Sparrow cottage – all sites we have worked on and prepared this winter. We may dig out these sites further, so will ensure that the coir rolls are not damaged.

The weather is a challenge this time of year, why put them out now?

We install the coir rolls this time of year because the vegetation/tree cutting season has finished with the start of the bird breeding season and it is also the beginning of the growing season. Small plug plants put into the rolls have a whole growing season ahead and can quickly green-up what had previously been a dark and bare site. The rolls have all gone onto site now and we will spend the next couple of weeks installing them. This Friday we will start work on Hilton Business Park – staking the rolls into place and planting them with a range of plug plant species.

Hale Farm, West Wittering © Jane Reeve

Malthouse Cottages, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

After installation, the coir rolls green-up quickly, adding an early flush of life to bare winter wetlands and helping to stabilise the banks.

Is that it, or will you be installing more rolls in the future?

I will probably try and get more of these rolls next year so that we can do this all again on the new sites we will be working on. This work is so satisfying because we can see the results quickly and it makes a big difference to the quality and diversity of our local wetlands. We are always looking for new volunteers to come and help us, so if this blog has inspired you, why not get in touch and find out how you can get involved. There is no requirement for a regular commitment, and coming along for a taster session is great way to meet the volunteers and see if it is something you might enjoy.

Please contact Rebecca on hello@mwhg.org.uk for more information about volunteering with MWHG, or ring Jane on 07743824049 if you wish to join a work event. Details of our upcoming tasks can be found on our website calendar.

The coir roll champions! There’s nothing quite like a cup of tea after a good day’s work. Southend Farm, Donnington © Jane Reeve


Post by Rebecca

FLOW Project: Earnley Parish Report and Drop in Results Session

February 13th, 2018 by Nikki

Read the full FLOW Project Ditch Assessment and Improvement Plan, or read our quick FLOW e-bulletin round-up of the work completed in Earnley.

 

FLOW Project Report Earnley Parish 2018

FLOW Project Report Earnley 2018 Appendix iii

FLOW Project Report Earnley Parish 2018 Appendix iv

The FLOW Team is also hosting a drop in session to show their results, this Thursday 15th February at Bracklesham Barn, from 10 am to 12pm.

FLOW e-bulletin February 2018

February 12th, 2018 by Nikki

Read our e-bulletin for a snapshot of the work we’ve achieved in Earnley or read our detailed FLOW Report on our findings.

This Thursday 15th February, the FLOW Project Team will be hosting a drop in session at Bracklesham Barn from 10 am to 12pm, to show their results and plants for future work in the local area.

New Job Opportunity – FLOW Communications and Engagement Officer

July 17th, 2017 by Nikki

 

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Communications and Engagement Officer [Heritage Lottery Funded]

£24,000  pa

pro rata for 2 days a week

Fixed Term contract to the end of December 2020

 

Based: Selsey office/home-working

Closing date: Monday 14th August

Start date: As soon as possible

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

FLOW is an HLF funded Project to survey, primarily, the ditch and hedgerow networks of the Manhood Peninsula, then to plan and make improvements, in terms of wildlife value and sustainable water management. It is intended that much of the work will be carried out by volunteers and the successful applicant will have a vital role in recruiting volunteers and engaging the wider community more generally in project activities. They will also be responsible for publicising and promoting the project, as well as reporting on progress with it.

This is an exciting opportunity to work within a small friendly team, for a volunteer-led, local charity, to make a real difference to the wildlife, people and landscape of a special place in West Sussex.

Click the links for a full job description and an application form.

 

FLOW 2017 Wetland Habitat Assessment and Improvement Plan

June 7th, 2017 by Nikki

 

The Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands project’s most recent survey reports that planned improvements to ponds, ditches and other habitat in the Manhood Peninsula will increase natural water storage from heavy rainfall, benefiting both people and wildlife.

Report

“The HLF FLOW study of the East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish ditch system took four months to complete and used a scoring system to analyse the main attributes of the ditches. This included drainage, environmental and biodiversity aspects. In this time 31 ditches and waterways were surveyed…” Read the full report here.

Appendixes

Photo examples

Action Plan

 

Upcoming Event: FLOW Drop in Results Session

May 29th, 2017 by Nikki

FLOW Project Launch

November 1st, 2016 by Nikki

Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) has received a grant of £545,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands (FLOW) project.  This project will be working to improve and enhance wetland habitat across the Manhood Peninsula (MP) over the next four years.

vole-launchThe MWHG have previously successfully carried out mapping projects in Birdham, West Itchenor and West Wittering Parishes and the results of the survey work can be seen at www.mwhg.org.uk. Working with Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, and the Environment Agency, information is shared and sustainable solutions sought for persistent flooding issues with wildlife and people in mind. We will be surveying East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish until February with the parishes of Earnley, Sidlesham, Selsey, Hunston, North Mundham, Donnington and Apuldram to follow.

With the help of trained volunteers, the project will carry out essential survey work of the existing wetland network and map the findings to make them accessible for a wide range of audiences. Where environmental or flood issues are identified, solutions will be sought and physical work carried out where appropriate and possible.  Focus will be on building strong relationships between stakeholders to support a cohesive approach to wetland management across the Manhood Peninsula. Using tithe and old maps from the past, relic ponds and ditch systems are identified for recovery so that water can be held back away from people and properties.

The wetland network of the MP is currently a strong hold for the UK’s endangered water vole population that live in the ditches and ponds. Chichester and Pagham harbours, which flank the MP, have international significance as wetland habitats because of the wildlife they support.

flow-launchSome improvement work will involve contractors and machinery but people power will be required to cut back vegetation and open up ditches.  Working parties will be organised with plenty of refreshments and it is an opportunity to learn more about your local environment, meet new friends and have fun with a sense of satisfaction at the end of it.  We have carried out work in neighbouring parishes and made difference with volunteer groups that meet regularly to look after their local environment.  Please contact us and get involved!

We will be hosting an event at Bracklesham Barn on Thursday the 8th December 2016 at 10.00am – 12.00 midday for local people to come and tell us about flooding issues they have had, draw on maps to pin point problems, and to see the work that we have carried out in previous studies. Please do come along!

Please contact us at flow@mwhg.org.uk for more information or if you would like to volunteer.

logo FLOW logo HLF logo

FLOW Report: Ditch Assessments Results and Improvement Plan

June 1st, 2016 by Nikki

pond

The FLOW project has released a report on the findings from ditch assessments carried out across the West Wittering Parish. These findings have been used to create a plan to help wildlife and prevent flooding, by improving wetland conditions.

Report

“The HLF FLOW study of the West Wittering Parish ditch system took eight months to complete and used a scoring system to analyse the main attributes of the ditches. This included drainage, environmental and biodiversity aspects. In this time 255 ditches and waterways were surveyed…” Read the full report.

Appendix (Photo Examples)

Read the appendix.

Invitation to the West Wittering FLOW Outputs Session

May 11th, 2016 by Nikki

invite june 1 FLOW

FLOW Project May 2016 e-bulletin

May 11th, 2016 by Nikki

Click here to view the full e-bulletin.

may 2016 e bulletin 1

 

FLOW Project – January 2016 e-bulletin

January 25th, 2016 by Tom

Click here to view the full e-bulletin.

jan 2016 flow project news

What is FLOW?

November 9th, 2015 by Nikki

Flow is our newest project. Meet the FLOW team and find out more about how the project will prevent flooding and protect wildlife, at one of our open events this weekleaflet 1.1

leaflet 1.2

Exciting Job Opportunities in Wetlands Project

August 25th, 2015 by Tom

The FLOW project has created two new part time jobs – Project Manager and Wetlands Field Officer

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Project Manager

£24,000 pa      pro rata for 4 days a week

Fixed Term contract for 8 months with a possible extension to 2020

Closing date: Friday 4th September

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

This post will initially deliver a Wetlands Condition Assessment programme , identifying opportunities to improve the wetland network on the Manhood peninsula, working with volunteers, key organisations, landowners and the local community. The aim is to ensure that the wetland habitat is connected and managed to a high standard so that it functions for people and wildlife.

The successful candidate will have experience of managing projects, programmes and contracts, as well as managing volunteers and working with local communities. In addition, they will need to possess an ecological background and knowledge of the associated legislation.  They will have knowledge and experience of writing management plans and practical hands-on experience of land management for nature conservation, particularly in relation to wetland habitats.  They will be able to work independently as well as part of a team and be required to line manage an assistant.  A full, clean driving license is required as travel to areas that are often not accessible by public transport will be necessary.

For further details and how to apply email chairmt@mwhg.org.uk or ring 01243 607104

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Field Officer

£18,000  pa

pro rata for 4 days a week

Fixed Term contract for 8 months with a possible extension to 2020

Closing date: Friday 4th September

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

This post will initially assist in the delivery of a Wetlands Condition Assessment programme, identifying opportunities to improve the wetland network on the Manhood peninsula, working with volunteers, key organisations,  landowners and the local community. The aim is to ensure that the wetland habitat is connected and managed to a high standard so that it functions for people and wildlife.

The successful candidate will have experience of managing volunteers, ecological field surveys and practical habitat improvement work. They will have knowledge and experience of writing management plans and practical hands-on experience of land management for nature conservation, particularly in relation to wetland habitats. They will be able to work independently as well as part of a team. A full, clean driving license is required as travel to areas that are often not accessible by public transport will be necessary.

For further details and how to apply email chairmt@mwhg.org.uk or ring 01243 607104

HLF logoFLOW logo

 

Exciting News for all MWHG members

August 25th, 2015 by Tom

It is with great pleasure that the MWHG Trustees and Management Team can now announce that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us a new grant.  This grant is called Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands, FLOW and has its own logo.

Following the success of the 3 year Water Vole Project , we applied for money with the aim of improving and enhancing the network of wetlands habitat across the whole of the Manhood Peninsula thus connecting up our internationally important wildlife sites.  This new grant provides the opportunity to create a much improved peninsula and help reduce flood risk.

Two pilot projects have taken place in the Parishes of Birdham and West Itchenor, with the support of the Parish Councils and local Flood groups. MWHG carried out an assessment of the current wetlands system and produced a costed list of management actions required.

The HLF award comes in two parts – a Development Phase (9 months) to trial our plans then, if approved, a second Delivery Phase grant to carry out all the necessary work. Provided everything runs smoothly, the project will continue for 5 years with funding to a total of  half a million pounds. Two new part time jobs will be created – those of Project Manager and Wetlands Field Officer.  MWHG has also been provided with an HLF mentor, Paul Walshe, who has both local and national knowledge.  Indeed, he designed the HLF landscape-scale awards.

Thank you to the many local organisations which supported our application.

HLF logoFLOW logo