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A Day in the Life of an Environmental Consultant – January 2022

This year I will once again be surveying beautiful wetland channels like this one.

Another spring is just round the corner and this year it feels as if water is extra precious.

It has been a very dry winter and the marshes do not have nearly enough wet, splashy pools to attract waders to set up territories. We need a gush of rain and soon to get conditions right for the start of the breeding season.

Retaining water is so important on the marshes and that is why I am delighted that so many farmers are signing up to wetland restorations schemes, which is a win win for wildlife, carbon capture and preventing flooding. Meetings with farmers and the Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board have resulted in funding being offered to improve water control structures such as sluices and undertake groundworks to clear rush and bund wetland features so we can hold more water on the land into the spring.

A heritage wind pump controls water on the marshes

Towards the end of the month I also had an unexpected phone call from one of my top farmers wanting to undertake wetland restoration work on their land at their own expense. When the North Kent Marshes Breeding Wader project began back in 2015 no one really dreamt this would happen but 7 years in the topsy turvy world of environmental legislation and farm subsidies is a long time and I can see that farmers sometimes just want to get on and do the work and not wait for outside funding to become available.

On a fabulous cold, crisp, sunny afternoon I walked the fields on Sheppey, plotting old rills and hollows and coming up with a plan to stop the land leaking like a sieve. This is the bit of the job I love. I am less in love with the endless round of paperwork required to make these plans legal but I will plough on with getting the go ahead from the various statutory agencies  and keep my eyes on the prize, which is ultimately a field full of fledged lapwing chicks.

Just as January became February I had the fabulous news that I had been awarded a 3 year contract to provide surveys and advice to the Upper Medway Internal Drainage Board. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to exploring the rivers in a totally new part of the county and hopefully being involved in some exciting river and wetland restoration projects.

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