|December , 2010|
Ecologists undertake what is called an evaluation of the habitats and species within a site. This means that they assess the rarity and fragility of it's ecological communities. This is often undertaken during an Environmental Impact Assessment. An EIA is performed when requested by a planning authority. During the EIA undertaken by Thames Water at Seething Wells, some of the ecological communities were assessed as of HIGH REGIONAL VALUE. This was part due to the invertebrate fauna in the standing water.
Four water beetles were described as Nationally Notable B species, two of which were described as 'rare inland'. The bird community is complex to describe, due to many factors including: the cyclical nature of bird populations. But reed bunting, a rare breeding species once found at Filter Bed 7, is even rarer now (sadly no longer recorded in urban areas, only at the fringes of the borough). The calcareous grassy banks (see post below) once described as 'a locally uncommon habitat type, supporting locally uncommon species', were once considered of MODERATE LOCAL VALUE. Now it seems that within the Current Planning Application they can be recreated out of a packet of seeds.
There are many ways in which these communities can be protected but only if they are identified. The surveys carried out during 2010-2011 are very competent. However, the site had been radically changed before surveys were carried out (allowing the site to fluctuate widely between on the one hand, being a large lake and then completely drained, on the other). The survey information has not been properly evaluated in the local and regional context (see post below 'status of Daubenton's bats'). Once a marina is created we will lose the National and Regional Priority Habitat of Standing Water London Habitat Action Plan Standing Water. Reed bed priority habitat at Seething Wells It will be contaminated, not just by the obvious pollution from boats, but also by invertebrate eating fish, thereby losing the rarity and fragility of this fast disappearing habitat.
n.b. the site is being drained again as this post is being written.