Northumberland’s River Blyth Estuary is an excellent place for waders, gulls, terns, and other species of bird that rely on the marine environment. So much so, that it has recently been designated with the highest level of protection as the Northumberland Marine Special Protection Area (SPA). However as with many protected sites and species these co-exist alongside human activity and a plan to redevelop the Ash Dock within the Blyth Estuary is proposed by Arch Developments Ltd. This development involves increasing the capacity of the existing to dock to allow larger ships to dock there alongside the existing Port of Blyth.
EcoNorth was commissioned by Arch Developments Ltd to provide survey information for the qualifying features of the Northumberland Marine SPA. Although there are a range of qualifying features for which the SPA is designated, a desk study highlighted that only tern species are likely to be impacted by the works which informed our survey design and implementation. Our experienced ornithologists undertook a series of vantage point surveys to highlight key areas used by any terns in the Estuary at different tidal states with any disturbance events affecting terns recorded. This allowed an assessment of the baseline numbers and species of tern present prior to works commencing as well as insight to a range of disturbance events and the impact upon terns.
The field work was undertaken between early June and early September. Five rounds with three surveys each were completed. During each survey, all tern activity was recorded including roosting locations, peak counts for each species, as well as data collected relating to flight with specific attention paid to foraging and transit flights.
Analysis of the survey results was undertaken, including bird data records from additional sources and sound monitoring data provided by RSK Group and presented to Arch Developments Ltd in a final report. This a detailed snapshot of Common and Sandwich Tern roosting locations, numbers, and foraging activity within the Estuary, as well as responses to potential sources of disturbance.
The comprehensive information provided in this report enabled our client to go forward with their planning application and carry out the works necessary to improve the dock whilst maintaining the integrity of the SPA by not causing any effect that would negatively impact the conservation status of the designated species.
|Project Start & End Date||12/06/2017 – 16/10/2017|
|Client||Arch Developments Ltd|
|Location||River Blyth Estuary|
|Contract Value||£ 5,755|
“EcoNorth have provided a comprehensive, efficient and competitive service. They demonstrate a clear understanding of the client brief and provide sound technical expertise. They have been able to respond quickly to survey requests and have produced thorough interpretative reports”
Lara baker, Project Manager, Arch