Keystone Habitats was successful in their tender application to conduct annual ditch maintenance of a series of waterbodies to maximise their potential for a recently released Water Vole population.
What did we do?
- Formulated an annual maintenance regime in accordance with the Erith and Belvedere ditches and dykes management plan.
- Composed a thorough Method Statement and Risk Assessment to account for the potential hazards on site.
- Conducted a site visit to discuss management options with the client.
- Ditch clearance and restoration.
- Provision of a safe working zone for all operatives.
- Removal of all waste and fly-tipped material.
- Staged selective vegetation clearance.
- On-going monitoring of Water Vole population and formulation of a long term management plan.
How did we do it?
- Close communication with the client and other parties involved including the Environment Agency and Council Ecologist.
- Pre-works Water Vole survey to establish the areas in need of maintenance.
- Installation of temporary lane closures to ensure safe working practices.
- Mechanical clearance of fly-tipped material with a mini excavator and dumper to eliminate contact with waste.
- Selective vegetation clearance with hand tools to prevent excessive shading of the watercourse.
- Removal of detritus and excessive vegetation matter.
- Disposal of all waste at the on-site recycling facility.
What were the outcomes?
- The ditches were left in an optimal condition to sustain Water Vole and field signs were subsequently discovered.
- All parties involved were pleased with the result.
- Minimal disturbance was caused to the adjacent highway and the works were completed according to programme, on budget.