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Welcome to the Autumn issue of the Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership newsletter.


Our newsletter contains updates on some of the projects we are working on, as well as relevant local and national news that has an impact on the natural environment.

Update on LNPs Growth Arc Mapping Workshop


In October, we our second Growth Arc Environmental Opportunities Mapping Workshop with our neighbouring Local Nature Partnerships and other partner organisations. This meeting was a follow up to our successful July meeting and helped us to pin down some of the questions that arose from the first meeting.

We are compiling the feedback received on the map and accompanying guidance document and will be publishing both documents soon.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this important piece of work.

Updates from our partners


BBOWT
A good breeding season at BBOWT’s College Lake nature reserve
It’s been another exciting summer for the wildlife of College Lake. We have been paying particular attention to the fortunes of our breeding waders and terns on the marsh. These birds are our target species for the site and we are therefore very concerned with how successful they are each year and watch with baited breath as parents raise their little families on the islands. Despite a spell of bad weather in June that definitely had some impact on the success of the breeding birds it looks like being a reasonable year overall, with at least ten lapwing fledging along with three redshank and around fifteen common terns. As all of these species are in decline nationally and all are rare breeders locally, so it’s fantastic news to see these young birds fledging.

Bumper year for orchids at BBOWT’s Aston Clinton nature reserve
Over 46,000 orchids were recorded this year at this amazing little nature reserve near Wendover.  Ten different orchid species were found in 2019The back meadow has been improving year on year and now resembles a very fine wildflower meadow. Yellow rattle, which parasitizes coarse grass species, has spread well which looks to have encouraged the steady colonisation by more and more orchid species in this part of the reserve.  Make sure you visit next year to see it in its full glory.

Get out and enjoy your local wildlife!
BBOWT always has loads of exciting wildlife events for all ages and abilities. Visit the events page for more information: 
https://www.bbowt.org.uk/events
BMERC
Bookings are now open for the popular Buckinghamshire Recorders' Seminar. Next year's seminar is titled Connecting the Dots and will take place on Saturday, 14th March at the Gateway, Aylesbury. The seminar is a great place to learn more about the natural environment and meet other conservation organisations, recorders, and volunteers. For more information and to book your place, visit the BMERC website: https://www.bucksmkerc.org.uk/news-and-events/

Chilterns Conservation Board

Are you passionate and knowledgeable about wildlife conservation? Do you have experience of delivering successful land management projects? Do you have great communication and customer service skills?

If so, the Chilterns Conservation Board would like to hear from you. They are currently recruiting for a Land Management Officer to work on the Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership Scheme. This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a wide range of conservation organisations and landowners to deliver habitat restoration and enhancement schemes at landscape scale.

For more information about the role and how to apply, please visit the website: https://www.chilternsaonb.org/conservation-board/vacancies/land-management-officer.html

National News


In September, Plantlife launched their new Road Verge Management Guidelines. We have met with partners at Transport for Buckinghamshire to discuss how Buckinghamshire is managing their verges and other green spaces. We will continue to work towards helping our partners manage their green spaces for the natural environment.

The State of Nature Report 2019 has also been recently published by the State of Nature partnership. The report is available to view or download from the National Biodiversity Network website.

The report shows that there continues to be a net loss of nature across the UK, even while conservation volunteering and interest in the UK's natural heritage rises.

If you're looking to get involved with conservation volunteering and monitoring in your local area, visit our online directory of conservation organisations. We are also pleased to feature articles from two of these organisations below.

Get involved with Bucks ARG

Buckinghamshire is home to several species of reptiles and amphibians and as, part of the South Midlands, the County is a national hot spot for Great crested newts! Buckinghamshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (BARG) has remained largely inactive in recent years, however this newly revived group would aim to see native herpetofauna thrive within the County and is open to scientists, conservationists, amateurs and hobbyists who wish to share their knowledge and experience, engage in thoughtful and meaningful discussion, undertake surveys and record their findings within Buckinghamshire.

As of the start of next year’s survey season the group will be involved in upcoming projects in partnership with BBOWT and the Forestry Commission at Shabbington Woods SSSI and College Lake, respectively. The projects will be an opportunity for members of the group to become involved in local reptile surveys within Buckinghamshire where they can directly contribute to collecting records and improving our understanding of reptile populations and assemblages within the County. BARG with also be partnering up with OxARG where surveyors and members will be able to contribute to the projects of both groups.

If you’d like to find out more about BARG, join and become involved please join are our Facebook group ‘Buckinghamshire Amphibian and Reptile Group (Bucks ARG)’. For the latest ARG news, BARG events and record reptile sightings, visit the BARG website: https://groups.arguk.org/barg

What are your Watery Behaviours?

Everyday household behaviours are causing pollution that is impacting rivers and streams.

Freshwater life need clean unpolluted habitat to thrive. Sadly pollution can feed in from lots of sources, including household wastewater. Even if you don’t live near a river or stream you could still be impacting the freshwater environment.

Our ‘watery behaviours’ can have a big impact, polluting and damaging habitat for wildlife, and revolve around our day to day activities. They include what we pour down the drain, flushables, washables, water usage, misconnections and maintaining private sewage systems.

Pollution caused by our ‘watery behaviours’ is avoidable and there are steps we can all take to reduce the impact our household behaviours have at a local level and collectively across the whole landscape. To raise awareness of the issues around our ‘watery behaviours’ the River Thame Conservation Trust are disseminating key resources to households and businesses that will enable people to make more informed decisions around their actions for the benefit of our rivers and streams.

To get clued up on how you can best project local watercourses through simple day to day activities and how to become a freshwater champion please visit: www.riverthame.org/advice/households

One of the first steps you can take to help protect your local streams is to fill out a short questionnaire (5 minutes) on your current habitats and behaviours. Answers will allow the Trust to identify people’s current habitat and key watery behaviours to target. To take part please visit: www.surveylegend.com/s/1kjm.

Article provided by Hannah Worker, River Thames Conservation Trust.
Freshwater wildlife needs clean unpolluted water to thrive, such as the banded demoiselle whose larvae can be killed off during pollution events. Photo: Doug Kennedy.
If you would like us to include your community conservation organisation or project in our next newsletter, please get in touch: nep@buckscc.gov.uk
That's all for our Autumn Issue. Please visit our website for more information on our projects and consultation responses, as well as news and events.
www.bucksmknep.co.uk
Copyright © 2019 Bucks & Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership, All rights reserved.


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