Aqualate Mere SSSI - River Meese (039)
Staff member responsible: PAUL CANDLIN
Unit Id: 1028646
Unit area (ha): 1.3185
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SJ 761 209
Main habitat: STANDING OPEN WATER AND CANALS
Condition (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: HOLLAND, (TOM)
Last assessed: 23/12/2016 Last field visit: 01/01/0001
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of site check: Last CSM assessment: 23/12/2016
Condition assessment comment:
  1. Variety of birds – As a notified feature on this site, this is dubious. It’s not given a big mention in the citation and the criteria sheet says the selection criteria are not proven. The baseline is recorded as 83 but over a nine year period from 1968 – 1976, eleven years before notification. It says the ‘this data is now unreliable but the qualifying level of 70 breeding species is probably met by the revised SSSI’. It’s not clear whether breeding was shown to be probable or just possible. In which case we could either disregard it as a SSSI feature of interest or perhaps we could use the minimum target (i.e. 70 species) as target. No formal survey has been carried out for this assessment but Mel Brown and Tim Coleshaw report 50+ species breed on the reserve in any one year. Their count appears to be based on probable breeding (i.e. they’ve seen chicks or they’ve seen feeding or repeated display behaviour) rather than possible. Fluctuations in populations are allowed and the number of breeding birds has to fall by 25% (to 52) before the feature is deemed to be in unfavourable condition. With 50+ birds probably breeding on site I would suggest the feature is recorded as favourable with the proviso that further investigations are made into i) the size of the original baseline; ii) whether the feature ever met the SSSI selection criteria and whether it is retained as a feature of interest; iii) a more definite number is put onto the current size of breeding assemblage; iv) advice is sought from the national birds specialists, Allan Drewitt/Stella Bayliss. I’ve sent an email query. Favourable
Number of adverse condition reasons: 0
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