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Aquatic and terrestrial assessment for a micro-hydropower scheme

Sylvia Jay led a project carrying out a range of ecological surveys for a micro-hydropower generator at a site in West Yorkshire, designed by Bob Cattley Engineering. This project will divert about half the flow of a small rocky Pennine stream overland down a 70m long pipe and over a water wheel before returning it to the channel, so both terrestrial and aquatic surveys were required.

A Phase 1 habitat survey was carried out along the pipe route, as well as an investigation of the ecology of the stream section to be affected by the scheme. No crayfish were found despite a comprehensive daytime search of possible refuges and three night-time surveys. Sylvia did find otter spraints (droppings) but no features which could be used as resting sites. A river corridor survey mapped in-stream habitats, while aquatic mosses and liverworts were identified.

The project report included analysis of Environment Agency invertebrate and fisheries data, in partnership with fisheries expert, David Higgins. Using all the data, Sylvia concluded that the proposal will not have a significant impact on the ecology of the stream. The reports will be submitted as integral parts of the planning and abstraction applications for the scheme. It was a pleasure to contribute to a project that will generate renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions for the landowner.