Over the last eight weeks we have been joined by an MSc student, Kate Shears, from the University of Plymouth. Kate has completed her placement which focused on ecology, conservation and updating our integrated management plan for Roadford Lake. We have been very busy and have made the most of the nice weather, at all times of the day! 

Kate and I have worked together on a number of different ecological surveys over different sites in Devon and Cornwall. All of these surveys allow us to update our records of species, many of which are on protected sites such as Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) sites. This data ensures that our management reflects best practice and can be tailored to be species specific where possible. These surveys included;

  • Breeding birds including woodland and wetland species
  • Dragonflies
  • Newts
  • Dormice
  • Plants which included Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS)
  • Freshwater invertebrates

Kate also attended workshops to improve knowledge on species-specific ecology. For example, a workshop on fritillary butterflies (hosted by The Butterfly Conservation) and INNS such as the Asian hornet (hosted by SWLT and South West Water).

Kate updated the Roadford management plan into a new, more user-friendly style for all our staff to use and follow. She has created and adapted ecological and habitat management specific actions after reviewing the data we have and the management we currently carry out. This will ensure that our high standards of habitat management and creation are maintained and that new ideas are brought forward.

Kate also spent one day per week at Burrator reservoir focusing on practical conservation activities such as tree planting and fence maintenance.

Kate says: “I have learnt so much during my time with SWLT, and I am most proud of the development of my bird and tree identification. It has given me renewed enthusiasm to increase my skills in these areas. I have participated in training and surveys which will add to my professional development.  I have taken part in practical conservation such as tree planting. I really appreciate the work my supervisor put into organising meaningful activities for me and making sure I was included on training and surveys”.

A big thank you from all of the team at SWLT!

Emma Scotney