Bristol Water’s land holdings, are both operational sites and areas of natural habitat. This ranges from large sites such as Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon Lake, to water treatment sites such as Stowey Water Treatment Works, and Egford Pumping Station. The difference between these sites is vast, and therefore it is difficult to be able to measure and compare the ecological value of the sites.
Ecosulis were commissioned by Bristol Water to develop a method to assess an ecological baseline for all its land holdings. To do this, a habitat value calculator combined with the Biodiversity Quality Calculator (BQC) was used to establish a numerical ecological baseline. Ecosulis is the distributor of and centre of expertise in the use of the BQC (formerly Fungib) programme created by Dr Alan Feest, Scientific Advisor to Ecosulis. This programme is unique in its measurement of the functional characteristics of biodiversity, enabling change in biodiversity quality to be assessed for statistical significance.
An ecological baseline of all sites can be undertaken relatively cost effectively under this method. In addition, the method allows sites to be directly comparable regardless of habitats present or the current land use.
Once a baseline has been established, the project ranked and compared Bristol Water land holdings by their ecological value. A central database with a numerical ecological baseline for each site will be produced, and would be a live document for Bristol Water. This will then be used to inform where ecological enhancements can be made, as well as informing future development projects and management strategies. The baseline information can target which sites provide the highest ecological value, as well as which sites could be improved in the future. This can also be used to inform where biodiversity off-setting can be utilised by Bristol Water, and future projects.
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