Sitting on an island under a sweltering Mediterranean sun is causing my brain to overheat: circuits might frazzle if it wasn’t for the excellent cooling and hydrating properties of ice cold beer. I am drawn to pondering “Global Warming” and how it will impact the ecology of Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
As beer helps keep my brain cool and body functioning sufficient for its current low level of activity, water is similarly crucial to the efficient functioning of the marsh. It’s important to know what the ground water levels are. Mike Averill regularly measures water levels at various points around the marsh and provides me and Worcester Wildlife Trust with very detailed information. Mike’s graphs show, at a glance, how the marsh water levels are performing. Wilden Marsh will be in serious trouble if we are unable to maintain the correct water levels.
Hoo Brook Pasture is a case in point. Hoo Brook flows east to west along the northern bank of Hoo Brook Pasture before merging with the River Stour. This pasture is SSSI designated and drier than it should be for most of the year. Sometimes the brook and river overflow and flood the marsh, but it doesn’t happen often enough. We need to consider methods of increasing the brook water level without increasing upstream flood risks. One option might be to install a simple dam and sluice arrangement at its confluence with the River Stour, but river and brook problems are the responsibility of the Environment Agency.
Increasing the water level in Hoo Brook, to rewet Hoo Brook Pasture, might not be a practical proposition if the Lagoon Field is turned over for residential use, and what will happen then? Well, I fear the Hoo Brook SSI status might be withdrawn, as happened at the south entrance of the marsh to accommodate the scrapyard. I do hope WFDC planners think carefully through the full implications before granting planning permission to develop the Lagoon Field for residential and industrial use. …