Chartley Moss SSSI - SOUTHERN DYSTROPHIC POOLS (011)
Staff member responsible: PAUL CANDLIN
Unit Id: 1023170
Unit area (ha): 0.8867
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SK 022 281
Main habitat: BOGS - Lowland
Condition (click for history): Unfavourable - Recovering Assessed by: HOLLAND, (TOM)
Last assessed: 06/02/2015 Last field visit: 06/02/2015
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of site check: 01/01/1900 Last CSM assessment: 06/02/2015
Comment:

UNITS 1 & 9 - both unfavourable because of:

Extent of the target communities open bog (M18 and M2) – their extent is limited by the plantation, woodland and scrub cover on both units.

Scrub and tree cover – Tree cover is almost 50% across both units. It can be 30-90% around the lagg, but on the main bog it is supposed to be <5%. Such high tree cover is likely to have an adverse impact on hydrology (as well as displacing more valuable open bog communities).

Cover of target Sphagnum – The required diversity of bog-building Sphagna might be present (i.e. Sphagnum capillifolium and S. magellanicum, though I didn’t get the S. magellanicum verified) but their cover is miniscule (i.e. far, far less than the target of 20%).

Modification of drainage –

i) The bog doesn’t have a natural lagg. Restoration of the lagg (with ditch blocking rather than damming) might be possible now that the fields of the surface-water catchment are in Environmental Stewardship. (However, some of the prescriptions for the fields in HLS allow applications of FYM, which is inappropriate.) Is an hydrological investigation to assess the feasibility needed (to include a characterisation of the base-rich Cladium fen along the western edge)? The Cladium fen covers only 0.1ha (not 1ha) according to my GPS measurements.

ii) Artificial drainage. Is the channel that connects the eastern basin (unit 9) to the Stoney brook artificial? It looks like a gap has been blown through the natural ridge. Could the outflow to the Stoney brook be closed off completely? Investigate - it might make re-wetting unit 9 easier.

The myriad of ageing dams and blocks that slow water seepage off the site could be checked for leaks.

iii) Tree cover – The plantations, woodland and scrub will be drying out large parts of the bog. (I estimate the woodland transpire 140 million litres, out of 410 million litres of rainfall.) Will cutting them down increase the bog’s surface wetness and Sphagnum cover?

iv) Big open, east-west ditch in unit 9 – Does dredging the main east-west ditch in unit 9 create a conflict between re-wetting for the benefit of the bog restoration and the short term interests of the white-faced darter, in that re-wetting of the eastern basin might be more effective if the internal drains were completely blocked, rather than dammed. Dams often allow more water transmission than blocked ditches and the open water encourages greater water loss through evaporation. Does the spontaneous natural formation of the new pond in unit 1 at SK02244 28313 and the succession to woodland of the pond in unit 10 suggest that once a natural hydrological regime is restored, pond formation could be left to natural ecological processes (rather than dredging)?

v) Pheasant pens – pheasants were seen across the open bog. Is this ok? What are the nutrient inputs from the pens (in unit 1 and unit 3) and what are the displacement impacts on the bog wildlife? Is an HRA needed? Pheasants target reptiles killing the young and pecking the eyes from adults. What are the implications of this for Chartley’s reptiles including the adder population?

Invertebrate assemblage –

The required diversity was not found. Are the suggested remedies (e.g. turf cutting) sustainable? Is restoration of hydrology and felling of trees a more sustainable long term remedy?

 

The NNR Management Plan is being revised to take account of the above, with input from Rob Low on hydrological matters.

 

UNITS 10 and 11 – Unfavourable for similar reasons, more or less, to units 1 and 9. The pond in unit 10 has succeeded to woodland and bog. Does the spontaneous natural formation of the new pond in unit 1 at SK02244 28313 and the succession to woodland of the pond in unit 10 suggest that once a natural hydrological regime is restored, pond formation could be left to natural ecological processes (rather than dredging)? The outer plant of the Typha stand is at SK02223 28450.

Number of adverse condition reasons: 0
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