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Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Ecological Surveys

Client: Environment Agency
Duration: March to October 2010
Areas of survey: River Aire Leeds, between Kirkstall Weir and Swillington (approx. 15km)
Project manager: Sylvia Jay
Team: Principal Ecologist and one sub-contractor, plus boat handler
Outputs: Completed otter, water vole and bat surveys; updated desk study and Phase 1 Habitat Survey. Reporting including GIS mapping.

River Aire

With Sylvia's knowledge and experience of the River Aire through Leeds, and her depth of otter expertise, Haycock and Jay Associates was chosen to conduct ecological surveys of the river for the Environment Agency, to contribute to their planning of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.

In order to reach all areas to be investigated some of the surveys were conducted based from a 16 foot Canadian canoe, enabling surveyors to reach parts of the river which were otherwise inaccessible. This necessitated careful planning with regard to launching and landing points, and close liaison and cooperation with the boat handler. Health and safety was also a key concern that was rigorously managed.

Sylvia conducted a detailed otter survey, re-visiting the numerous potential otter resting sites identified during her previous projects for the Environment Agency. Here she recorded signs of otter activity and re-assessed and up-dated her habitat maps and recommendations. She also conducted a water vole survey and a Phase 1 habitat survey update throughout the river corridor.

Bat scoping of trees and bridges was successfully completed by BL-Ecology, acting a subcontractor working closely with Haycock and Jay Associates.

The Environment Agency welcomed the reports, which included data presented on GIS map layers, and recommendations to protect habitat and mitigate for the proposed flood defences. Their accuracy and level of detail were praised.

Project area: Example Phase 1 Habitat Survey map:
Project area Example Phase 1 Habitat Survey map