Both Keystone Ecology and Keystone Habitats have been appointed to undertaken mitigation works at ABLE Marine Energy Park – Europe’s largest new port development servicing the emerging marine renewable energy sectors. This demanding project enables our Ecology and Habitats Teams to demonstrate the benefits of collaborative working for our clients. Ecology and Habitats have worked together to deliver the outcome needed by our client working within the constraints imposed by the site and its history.
Working to a tight deadline, our Habitats team successfully completed the newt fence installation to keep the project on schedule and on budget as required by the client, installing 14km of fencing in just 8 days inclusive of over 2000 pitfall traps. This was achieved through the use of our specialised machinery and close collaboration with the Ecology team to advise on breeding birds, Water Vole, amphibian and reptile constraints. As we were brought on board at the fence installation stage, we were able to offer significant project cost savings and efficiencies whilst still working within the approved licence methodologies. Keystone Ecology were able to modify the mitigation design to ensure an efficient coverage of the 75 hectare site and to minimise the risk of repeated trapping seasons and made extensive modifications to the design of the bespoke receptor site in consultation with the Habitats Team. These modifications ensure that the receptor site was fit for purpose and included re-design and built of hibernacula and native species planting, both terrestrial and aquatic. In this way, the client was able to make use of the existing receptor rather than incur costly delays until a new site could be found.
The site was then seamlessly passed over to our Ecology team who mobilised and coordinated a large team of surveyors to complete the first phase of translocation before the end of the 2014 trapping season. So far a significant and large amphibian population, including Great Crested and Smooth Newts, Common Toad and Common Frog has been successfully translocated.
The second phase of the trapping process is now underway and it is expected that the remaining animals will be moved to the flourishing receptor site during the spring and summer. The Habitats team continue to provide fence removal services following completion of translocation phases and reactive site habitat management to facilitate the successful progression of the translocation process.