On 5th April the core project team had a preliminary site visit to the Chipping Sodbury quarry complex. After a comprehensive site safety induction we visited the water body locally known as ‘Lake Edwards’ in Southfield (home to the crushing, grading and concrete batching plant). This site showed some promise for aquatic life despite receiving run-off from the nearby active areas. We also checked out the groundwater sump in largest void – Hampstead Farm - from the viewing platform at the eastern margin. However we mainly focused our attention on the cluster of ponds on the eastern side of the quarry complex. This is where Great Crested Newts have been recorded for several years and where a great deal of habitat enhancement work has been undertaken to create a network of ponds to support this newt population.
Overall we had a very successful day, familiarising ourselves with the range of wetland and waterbody sites to investigate in spring/summer. We’ll start by surveying water quality, aquatic invertebrates and aquatic/emergent vegetation of all wetland and waterbody sites within the quarry complex to see how quickly aquatic life can establish and how this might be influenced by water quality and other factors. We also hope to visit two other quarry sites in the South Gloucestershire region that have been allowed to flood for and test flying the drone. This will give us a longer-term view of how wetland succession develops following cessation of quarrying activities.